Aintree Festival – Day Two

14:15 – Imagine Cruising First In The Frame Top Novice’s Hurdle

The highly rated Limini is favourite in the market for this race after cruising to victory at Cheltenham in what wasn’t the strongest of fields. Nevertheless you can only beat what is put in front of you, however this time round the mare faces the altogether more challenging prospect of Buveur D’air who stayed on well behind Min and Altior in the Supreme. That was a much quicker pace and has the low action to travel well around the fast paced Aintree. Limini would be too much of a punt at nearly even money, for all it would be great to see what she can really do here and then go on and take on Royal Ascot. Three Stars would be the pick of the rest of the field currently trading at 33/1 with Bet Victor and could be the dark horse from H De Bromhead.

Buveur D’air @ 5/2 with Bet Victor
Three Stars @ 33/1 E/W with Bet Victor (Stake Saver)

14:50 – Mildmay Novices’ Chase

This is really strong, competitive, grade 1 stuff. No fewer than three Cheltenham winners turn up here, an excellent second, and a well backed beaten favourite. Un Temps Pour Tout heads the market and will surely take all the beating here off level weights. Perenially underrated RSA winner Blaklion will likely go out on his shield and after just 6 chase starts may still be able to eke out a little more improvement but may find the sharper track a lot less to his liking.

Other Cheltenham winner Ballyalton may find himself out his depth here, as might Otago Trail who needs it hock deep to be shown to best effect. Out Sam went into Cheltenham as one of the big handicap talking horses but struggled in the Ultima on day one, for me, he may be outclassed here. Native River is ultra consistent as as long as he’s come out the 4miler well, he has a chance, but I will pass him over here. The one I will take on the favourite with is Roi Des Francs, who travelled like a good horse in the RSA before clouting one and fading. That might be a blessing in disguise as he avoided fighting out the gruelling finish up the hill. Eight runners gives a lovely each way angle into the race so i’ll take him against the field, hoping for a little improvement, with a stakes saver on Un Temps Pour Tout who is 5lbs clear on official ratings and may just be too good.

Roi Des Francs E/W @ 12/1 with Bet Victor
Un Temps Pour Tout @ 2/1 with Bet Victor

15:25 – Melling Chase

It’s very difficult to write a preview for a race that is as good as won. Previously labelled by ourselves as “The Cash Machine”, Vautour surely only has to turn up. Even if we saw him canter round the track he’d win this by a few lengths. With the big treble of Annie Power, Vautour and Thistlecrack already only just above evens it looks as though the bookies have come away from Cheltenham with their tails between their legs and it’s no surprise really is it?!

Any bookmaker willing to go anywhere near Evens for a horse as classy as this in a facile affair needs to have a little sit in the corner and have a serious word with themselves. Vautour absolutely oozes class and if, as Mr Ricci stated, he wasn’t at his best that day then it’s absolutely frightening to think what he could do to this field of he’s come on for that run.

There’s very little we can say to put anyone off betting big on this fella. He’ll be a key part in any short multiples we play this week and we would advise to go away and see if you can get a price on him to win by over a certain amount of lengths. We’d be very surprised to see the winning margin less than 5 lengths so that looks a good place to start.

Vautour by 5L @ 8/13 with Bet Victor

16:05 – Topham Chase

With Jockey bookings now confirmed for the race it looks like it’s time to delve in and see what we can find in the Topham Chase. At the head of the market we find Village Vic, a horse that the TNS boys were very sweet on at Cheltenham back in March and whom bitterly disappointed when tailing off after attempting to make all.

Aintree is a track that has historically suited front running types and there are obvious reasons for Village Vic having his backers but we can’t be having him at the price that he is right now. Top notch jumping is an asset that will prove to be invaluable in this contest with the race run over the Grand National course and fences. Not only that but we have a whole host of horses that like to go out from the front which is going to guarantee this is an affair run at some pace.

It can often prove fruitful to side with horses that have experience over these specialist fences and for that reason one horse that has really caught our eye is Mr Moonshine at a hefty price. After a 13 month absence he returned to take a hot Pertemps Qualifier at Haydock before running well for the majority of the extended 3 miles he was asked to race over last time at Carlisle. With the drop of a pound in his mark and the return back in trip sure to suit he looks to be a real solid each way proposition here at the grand old age of 12 and has the backing of the TNS boys.

Mr Moonshine E/W @ 33/1 with Bet Victor

16:40 – Sefton Novices’ Hurdle

The Sefton provides the 4th grade one of the day. On the infamous ladies day, where by this time of the day many of the men will eyeing up their favourite filly for the night out in the city later.

On paper this is not the strongest grade 1 ever known to man but is sure to be competitive. Won last year by arguably the star of the 2015/16 season this race has thrown up a few stars in the making in previous years.

Yala Enki has been a frustrating horse to back this year, as just when you think the horse is on an upward curve he pulls out a stinker, as per his last race when pulling up in the Neptune at the festival. He has got talent though and on his day has put away some good sorts. Acting on soft ground is not a worry also therefore it is hard to rule him out.

Willie Mullins currently has a couple in the race in the shape of Bellshill and Gangster. However even with the runaway successes of Apple’s Jade and Annie Power on Wednesday, Mullins record at Aintree isn’t as good as one might imagine. All his A team are well found in the market throughout the week and it’s possible the aforementioned duo were sent here more in hope than expectation.

A trainer who does love it here however is Nicholls. He has a leading fancy this year who many in the industry in on an upward curve. Baoulet Delaroque arrived at Cheltenham in great form and put in a creditable effort in the Coral Cup. A horse that loves the soft ground he is the horse TNS will just about be siding with.

Baoulet Delaroque E/W @ 7/1 with Bet Victor