SIMON NOTT reports from the Star Sports pitch on day two of the Aintree Festival with a race by race analysis of the highs and lows of the day.
BEN’S THOUGHTS BEFORE RACING
JOHN FROM JOHN WHITE
LYNN FROM CORAL
1:40 Alder Hey Children’s Charity Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3)
The opening race wasn’t ideal at around 8/1 the field. Business was steady but small. Even less ideal was that the winner Rather Be at 10/1 was worst in the book. The office called in the morning, they’d laid a £40,000 – £20,000 River Wylde in the next, so no time for wound licking off to work we went.
2:20 Crabbie’s Top Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1)
Betting got going very quickly in the Crabbies. The office had laid a £40,000 – £20,000 River Wylde in the morning. Ben started off by getting stuck into Mount Mews at 9/4 and laid a bet of £5,000 cash which we had losing five figures. There had been money for The Unit which looked our chance, then as the office called, they laid that one £2,500 each way at 9/1. We needed a real result or we’d be on the serious back foot…. and we got it with 16/1 Pingshou.
2:50 Betway Mildmay Novices’ Chase (Grade 1)
After a brisk start the money dried up in the Mildmay with Might Bite very hard to lay off the floor. We managed to lay a £400 – £600 in the hole to make the jolly a loser in what was a poor betting heat after starting so promisingly. We considered losing a monkey when Might Bite won the race a bit of a get out of jail free result. It could have been a whole lot worse. It was just fortunate that the cash punters generally didn’t want to be on.
3:25 JLT Melling Chase (Grade 1)
The JLT Melling was a whole lot more competitive and by this time the sun was beating down. Betting 7/2 the field the object was the just fill the hod. Business was steady but you couldn’t say the joint was rocking. The ladies appeared to prefer a retreat to their champagne buckets rather than bother Ben and Kyle with bets, how could they resist? We had three losers at the off, Fox Norton the worst. The writing was on the wall a long way out which meant a long payout queue.
4:05 Randox Health Topham Handicap Chase (Grade 3) (National Course)
The Topham captured the punters’ imagination despite being 8/1 the field. The bets were a steady flow of modest money. The office laid Gowanauthat £40,000 -£1,000 eachway and £33,000 -£1000 each way Imjoeking. Nobody backed 50/1 winner Ultragold , a skinner in the book. Aye Aye! We’ll be hoping for a turn-up like that in the Grand National tomorrow.
4:40 Doom Bar Sefton Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1)
The office had laid a £50,000 to £20,000 The World’s End this morning in the Doom Bar Sefton. It was virtually friendless for a while drifting out to 7/2 but firmed up again near the off. The office called to say they’d laid £2,000 each way West Approach, their book was more interesting than ours. The World’s End was a small winner for us on course but a disaster back in the office.
5:15 Weatherbys Private Bank Standard Open NH Flat Race (Grade 2)
The lucky last looked a heat that might take off and so it proved with the punters keen to get involved. We let them come at us and it turned out to be the busiest betting race of the day. Lalor winning at 33/1 was a dream result for us. A virtual skinner in the book so hardly anyone to pay. Bring on the Grand National – this time tomorrow!