AUTHOR: davidstewart

STAR PREVIEW Fri: Aintree Day Two

Yesterday at Aintree was a case of close but no cigar – with the irony being that Pied Piper, the best bet of the day, dead heated and was then demoted in the stewards’ room. It looked a harsh verdict (albeit that is a biased view!) but such is life. There was less to argue with elsewhere, as Millers Bank powered clear of War Lord, whilst Monmiral picked up second thanks to the exit of Zanahiyr after the last. Before Midnight may have gone fast in the early stages but he was disappointing in all honestly.

The ground appeared to have plenty of cut in it yesterday, although it didn’t alter any outcomes and all the winners got there on merit. Whilst it is not a mudlarks paradise yet, those who want to get their toe in are hardly going to be disadvantaged.

The 2022 Randox Grand National Festival, Day 2
Aintree, Liverpool
Live on ITV 1 HD & ITV Hub from 1.45pm
Live on Racing TV from 11am

The first day’s action was frustrating for the Skeltons, but they have a fine chance of making quick amends with Langer Dan in the Alder Hey & Aintree Handicap Hurdle (1.45pm). He had been prepared for another tilt at the Martin Pipe Handicap Hurdle after running into Galopin Des Champs the year before, but he was tripped up and brought down at the second there.

If he’s unscathed from that, then he must have a major chance off 137, a mark 2lbs higher than the rating of 135 he had when beating all but Galopin Des Champs at the Cheltenham Festival last year, and the ground and track ought to be fine for a 2 mile winner who has form on soft and good to soft.

There are no prizes for originality but take two against the field with Speech Bubble, an impressive winner at Newbury earlier this year (had Grade 2 winner Largy G 13 lengths behind) before finding only Cheltenham Festival winner Love Envoi too strong at Sandown in February. A mark of 130 on that evidence is lenient if handling the rough and tumble here, and as a horse with plenty of form in double figure fields, there’s reason to be optimistic about his chances.

Jonbon looks to be the best long-term prospect of the nine that go to post in the Top Novices’ Hurdle (2.20), but he went very hard a long way out in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle when taking on Dysart Dynamo before being left in the wake of Constitution Hill. A 24 turnaround from that race is a short one and he’s left alone, despite none of the contenders for the Top Novices’ Hurdle really making a huge amount of appeal.

The Mildmay Novices’ Chase (2.55) serves up a cracking duel between Brown Advisory winner L’Homme Presse, Kauto Star Chase winner Bravemansgame, and last year’s Sefton winner (and Brown Advisory second) Ahoy Senor, whilst an on form Fury Road is an interesting contender.

The market looks to have priced the top two fairly and that contest could be one to savour rather than get seriously involved in.

In the Marsh Chase (known as the Melling to readers of a certain age), Fakir D’oudairies
is the clear choice. A wide margin winner of this race last year after picking up the pieces behind Allaho in the Ryanair, this year he comes a fresher horse after showing class and guts in equal measure to land the Ascot Chase. He’s barely put a foot wrong over the last two years and all things being equal, it will take a career best from one of his rivals to upset him.

Funambule Sivola picked up the pieces for second in the Champion Chase and has been steadily progressive over the past year, with a defeat of Sceau Royale and Hitman in the Game Spirit Chase before his Cheltenham second. Both he and Hitman look to be major each/way player.

Allmankind would be a big player on the best of his form, but he’s disappointed the last twice over fences (Peterborough Chase), and hurdles (National Spirit Hurdle), Mister Fisher would probably prefer quicker ground than the surface we’ve had today, Captain Guinness is a very useful horse but must reverse form with Hitman,

Sceau Royal may be slightly past his best, and this is a big step up from handicap company for Paint The Dream and Editeur Du Gite.

The key to finding the winner of the Topham (4.05) tends to be a front running type with plenty of class, and it doesn’t hurt for your contender to be trained by Nicky Henderson, and a low weight’s always handy too. Mister Coffey will undoubtedly be popular but Fantastic Lady was most impressive in novice handicap company earlier this year and didn’t lose much in defeat to Pic D’Orhy and yesterday’s winner Miller’s Bank

Royal Rendezvous has finished second and won the last two renewals of the Galway Plate, taking the PWC Champion Chase (Grade 2) in October before having no answer to Fakir D’oudairies in the Clonmel Oil Chase. Arguably the classiest horse in the race, if he gets into a rhythm out front it’ll take a good horse to pass him.

Of the others, Grand Sefton winner Mac Tottie (beat Senior Citizen) is feared whilst Batcio would have a serious chance if not getting detached early.

The Sefton Hurdle (4.40) didn’t have much appeal, with quite a few of the runners having something to prove. It’s likely that we’ll see a decent horse or two come out from the race, but none made enough appeal to put up today.

The lucky last (5.15) went to the punters yesterday but they could have a harder time of things in the closing handicap for conditional and amateur jockeys. No bet is recommended, but Several, Lively Citizen and Richmond Lake made the most appeal.

BACK Langer Dan in Alder Hey & Aintree Handicap Hurdle (1.45pm) 1 pt win at 5/2 (Latest Star Price ? CLICK TO BET NOW)

BACK Speech Bubble in Alder Hey & Aintree Handicap Hurdle (1.45pm) 1 pt win at 11/2 (Latest Star Price ? CLICK TO BET NOW)

BACK Fakir D’oudairies 3 pts win in Melling Chase (3.30pm) at 11/8 (Latest Star Price ? CLICK TO BET NOW)

BACK Fantastic Lady 1 pt each/way in Topham Chase (4.05pm) at 12/1 (Latest Star Price ? CLICK TO BET NOW)

BACK Royal Rendezvous 1 pt each/way in Topham Chase (4.05pm) at 12/1 (Latest Star Price ? CLICK TO BET NOW)

PROFIT/LOSS (APRIL 2022): LOSS -6.05 points
(Excluding ante-post recommendations CLICK HERE)