No rides for me on the opening day at Aintree but I enjoyed watching the action and it seemed to get more testing as each race went on as the rain set in. It was heavy 12 months ago when Tiger Roll won – so I’m not too worried on that front!
Another blank day for me on Friday but here are my thoughts on each race.
1:45 Merseyrail Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3)
Ultra-tough handicap hurdle to start Friday’s card but I thought the top weight Mohaayed could run a big race on ground he likes. I thought Dan Skelton’s runner ran a good race in the County Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.
2:20 Betway Top Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1)
The rain could also be the key to Felix Desjy who ran well for Gordon (Elliott) in the Supreme. He’s closely matched with Aramon on that form but has something to find with Itchy Feet who ran a belter in third at Cheltenham.
2:50 Betway Mildmay Novices’ Chase (Grade 1)
I thought the RSA winner Topofthegame might be worth taking here. His form is solid but as I always say there are never any easy Grade 1’s and he’s got some serious rivals in the shape of both Lostintranslation and Chris’s Dream.
3:25 JLT Chase (Registered As The Melling Chase) (Grade 1)
Could well be a winner for the Northern trainers here with Waiting Patiently who missed Cheltenham and could be a fresh horse after a light campaign and doesn’t have Cyrname to worry about today!
4:05 Randox Health Topham Handicap Chase (Grade 3) (National Course)
A race I’ll be watching with close interest over the National fences. Take your pick of about 20 but I quite like the chances of the Peter Fahey trained Peregrine Run who has been showing consistent form at home in Ireland.
4:40 Doom Bar Sefton Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1)
Champ steps up in trip but couldn’t be in better form and looks to have a very solid chance but a more speculative suggestion is Walk Away who remains unexposed after a very easy debut hurdles win in Thurles the last day.
5:15 Weatherbys Racing Bank Standard Open NH Flat Race (Grade 2)
I probably spent longer looking at this race than anything else trying to find the best of the unexposed runners. In the end I thought Onthefrontfoot was interesting at a big price. He had some good point form and made a nice winning debut in Sedgefield.
STAR SPORTS EXCLUSIVE: Our brand ambassador DAVY RUSSELL discusses all things TIGER ROLL with ALASTAIR DOWN from the Racing Post. Tiger Roll bids to become the first horse since Red Rum to win back to back Grand Nationals on Saturday and he’s a warm favourite to do so. Davy recalls how his association with the equine legend began – and of course the magical memories from 12 months ago.
If you have a question for Davy drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll try and include in the next blog…