STAR PREVIEW: Aintree & US Masters
[dropcap]I[/dropcap]t doesn’t get much better for sports fans today – the start of the US Masters at Augusta and closer to home the start of the Crabbies Grand National meeting at Aintree.
Fortunately, we got a few points in the bag last night with the UNDER 2.5 goals recommendation on Star Sports at Ewood Park. Never really looked in danger !!!
Tiger Woods has split punter opinion down the middle on whether he’ll actually make the cut after close of play on Friday but the four-time champion looks in a good place mentally and was very relaxed playing the Par Three on Wednesday. It’s not a coin flip I’d want to bet on – but if forced to I’d say ‘yes’ he will make the cut.
Instinctively, I want to take on Rory McIlroy at single figure odds pre-tournament – purely on the basis that his record at Augusta is not good. The Northern Irishman has only had one top 10 finish to his name in six previous visits and the World’s Number One will begin his pursuit of the Green Jacket at 3:41pm alongside Phil Mickelson and Ryan Moore in what surely is the feature three-ball of the opening day.
McIlroy bids to become only the sixth golfer in history to complete the Grand Slam after Gene Sarazen (1935), Ben Hogan (1953), Gary Player (1965), Jack Nicklaus (1966) and Tiger Woods (2000).
I’ll be having some US Masters bets later in the week but today only have eyes for Aintree.
It’s a cracking opening day and again Aintree continue to raise the profile of the meeting as a whole rather than just rely on the Grand National itself.
The meeting starts with four Grade 1’s and then we see the National fences for the first time in the 4.05 when 30 runners contest the Crabbie’s Fox Hunters’ Chase.
Silviniaco Conti goes for a repeat win in the Bowl but comes into this on the back of a very subdued run in the Gold Cup at Cheltenham where he travelled well but folded tamely. It looks increasingly as if he simply isn’t suited by the undulations of Cheltenham and is a different horse on the flatter tracks.
I think he can bounce back here and reverse form with chief market rival Holywell who was fourth in the Gold Cup.
Willie Mullins dominated Cheltenham and can start Aintree well too with Arctic Fire who was second to stable companion, the mighty Faugheen, in the Champion Hurdle. Mullins relies on Arctic Fire from an original entry of four in this race and he should again account for Champion Hurdle fourth Jezki and Rock On Ruby who missed Cheltenham after a last minute injury scare.
Arctic Fire at around 15/8 with Star Sports is my bet of the day.