SIMON NOTT reports from the Star Sports pitch on day three of the Aintree Festival with a race by race analysis of the highs and lows of the day including The Grand National.
GRAND NATIONAL DAY: WHAT THE RING SAYS
BEN’S THOUGHTS BEFORE RACING
PAUL GOLD OF PICKWICK
TONY FROM DAN DALY
RICH OF RICH RACING
DEBS OF DAVE SPICE
BARRY ‘THE TASH’ OF PINNO
DIANE FROM GW SPORTS
1:45 Gaskells Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3)
It was totally glorious weather as betting got underway in the opener. More like Royal Ascot than Aintree! Sadly betting was very light. We still had three four-figure losers in the book, two of them for more than we took. Luckily the 11/1 winner Fountain’s Windfall wasn’t one of them, and we got away with it.
2:25 Betway Mersey Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1)
Business was steady but once again modest in the Betway Mersey. We had 3/1 Finian’s Oscar and outsider Cultivator losing us. The favourite won cosily which cost us pretty much what we got on the first. Back to square one.
We were giving away Star Sports baseball hats to our punters. A young lady came to the pitch holding some smart shoes and asked ‘If we did flip flops too?’ Now there’s a thought for Royal Ascot.
3:00 Doom Bar Maghull Novices’ Chase (Grade 1)
The caps were more popular with the punters than Charbel who was almost impossible to lay despite chasing it out to half-arm 6/4. We had it winning in the course book at the off. The office laid £10,000 the jolly to even things up though which was just as well. 4/1 winner San Benedeto was a small cash loser which was frustrating for the on-course team.
3:40 Betway Handicap Chase (Listed)
The Betway came alive, Potters Legend was backed from 8/1 into 9/2 with us, mostly each-way. One off course firm came in for I Just Know at 8/1 and those two were our worst, 10/1 winner Sizing Codelco was an excellent result despite us being 12/1 at the off but Potters Legend scraping into 4th was a nasty fly in the win money ointment.
4:20 Ryanair Stayers Liverpool Hurdle (Grade 1)
Betting was steady but small again on-course but the office laid a £50,000 – £20,000 Yanworth and £16,000 – £2,000 each way Ballyoptic.
Yanworth winning was a disaster but with the Grand National to come we had plenty of chance to get out and make it a winning day. The trouble was the punters were either very ‘refreshed’ by 5pm or potless. Pretty much everyone wanted £2.50 each way on while they spilt their champagne into their handbags looking for their lost lists. We laid some hedge money on some rags which meant a ‘result’ for the rest of the ring could cost us plenty.
5:15 Randox Health Grand National (Grade 3 Handicap Chase)
On the whole business on the National was very disappointing, maybe the sun went against us in the end.
In hindsight maybe it didn’t. You’d think that everyone knows an ‘Arthur’ but luckily not the people that bet with us. The 14/1 winner One For Arthur was a £700 winner in the book even taking away the bad places. It’s fair to say we got away with it in the big one.
6:15 Pinsent Masons Handicap Hurdle (Conditional Jockeys And Amateur Riders)
The punters did muster up the energy to get stuck into the last. We had a couple of losers at the off with So Celebre the worst in the book for a couple of grand.
The winner Chesterfield was a taker in the book. No damage done and a satisfactory end to an excellent three days. What wasn’t was the drunk bloke and his mates insisting he’d lost a winning ticket.
Next stop Epsom for the Oaks and Derby !!