Thursday’s blog selections saw Claret Cloak come closest in 3rd – Noel Fehily looked to be judging the race perfectly but weight probably just told close home. Warne came close to being a bet but the rain didn’t come and I held back a little there – his success just proves what an asset a quality amateur rider is in such a race
So the blog is running at a 4.75 pt loss on the meeting so far
Onto Friday’s card:
2.00 Novice Hurdle
Prices are here http://www.oddschecker.com/horse-racing-betting/2014-04-04-aintree/14:00/winner
Cheltenham Supreme novice form is represented here by the second, Josses Hill (should be suited more by this course) and the strong finishing fourth, Sgt Reckless. Against them we have two impressive handicap winners in Baltimore Rock and Art of Payroll – in both cases it’s hard to assess just who far ahead of their marks they were when they won. Amore Alato is consistent and will ensure a decent gallop but has already be shown to be a notch behind the top level. Throw in the classy flat performer, Mijhaar , back on a decent surface (exasperating horse to follow on the flat despite all of his ability though!) and this race is too hard to call for me
2.30 Mildmay Novice Chase
O’Faolains Boy was a great result for the blog when winning the RSA at Cheltenham. The way he and Smad Place pulled clear there suggested there were both Gold Cup horses next season and I hope to see him continue in the same vein here. At a price of around 9/4 or 5/2 I won’t be playing though – he owes me nothing and he had a hard enough race there – Barry Geraghty reported afterwards that he ran in snatches and didn’t feel as good as he did at Ascot. I am just a bit mindful that he may need more time to recover from that. Don Cossack fell in that race and Many Clouds was brought down. Many Clouds was behind O’Faolains Boy at Ascot and some will argue that the weight difference here will bring them close. For me though, Many Clouds was clearly second best there and needs softer ground to be seen at his best
Wonderful Charm’s best form comes at shorter trips and would need to see more evidence that this step up is what he needs.
The danger is Holywell, who came good at Cheltenham and Aintree last year and could be in the same vein again now. He travelled well within himself last time when winning a handicap at Cheltenham (looked totally the opposite when needing all of McCoy’s strength to win at Doncater)
An interesting race to watch but NO BET
3.05 Melling Chase
Latest odds: http://www.oddschecker.com/horse-racing-betting/2014-04-04-aintree/15:05/winner
Ballynagour won a handicap so impressively at Cheltenham that he could easily be up to this higher grade. It was suggested then that he was best when fresh so turning out again after only 3 weeks is a bit mystifying.
Boston Bob looked sure to win the RSA last year until falling and that form looks good now after the winner of that race, Lord Windermere won the Gold Cup! Boston Bob hasn’t really built on that this year though and mixing between chases and hurdles seems to indicate that connections aren’t sure what is best for him now
Module is the solid form horse and the one to beat after his third behind Sire De Grugy at Cheltenham. This is half a mile further but he runs like he should appreciate that. The stable had a winner on Thursday with Parsnip Pete so that augurs well also.
He’s almost a bet at 9/2 but not quite!
3.40 Topham Chase
The ‘mini’ Grand National isn’t far behind the big race in terms of spectacle. 30 runners compete over the full National course here but it’s significantly shorter trip. With so many runners, luck in running will be necessary here but the two I most like are:
Big Fella Thanks. At the age of 12, he’s plenty old enough for this (an age that isn’t good for stats) but I doubt many will come to this race having the wealth of experience over the track that he does. He should have been in this race when younger but connections tried to persevere with the Grand National. Twice he appeared a likely winner of that only to run out of petrol in the home straight. I hope they haven’t left this too late in life for him but this always looked like the race he was made for
Giorgio Quercus. Experience over these fences is an asset and this one was performing well in this race last year until being brought down 4 out when still in with every chance. He was brought back at Cheltenham 3 weeks ago and ran a solid 6th despite being a bit fresh early on – he may have finished closer still but for a bad peck at the top of the hill fence. 25/1 looks too big
1pt ew Big Fella Thanks 16/1 – take 16/1 with firms offering ¼ odds 12345
1pt ew Giorgio Quercus 25/1 Boylesports ¼ 12345 (25/1 ¼ 1234 or 20/1 ¼ 12345 are also acceptable)
4.15 Sefton Novices Hurdle
Cheltenham novice hurdle form doesn’t always work out in this and there have been some big priced winners over the years. My suspicion is that the Albert Bartlett and the Neptune can be a tough test for novices at this stage of their career and the experience isn’t always recovered from by this meeting. Killala Quay represents Neptune form here and while it was a fine run, it could be tough to come back from that and follow up over half a mile further
The favourite here, Seeyouatmidnight, didn’t go to the Festival and has done little wrong this year, rising through the ranks and remaining unbeaten since a 66/1 success at Kelso. He’s a front runner who is tough and hard to pass but runs here on quicker ground than he was winning off over the winter.
On his second win, he accounted for odds on shot Racing Pulse, who is of great interest to me now he gets back on a decent surface. He also missed Cheltenham and comes here a fresh horse. I like his chances here
At big odds, Port Melon also is one to watch. He was going to run at Cheltenham until careering into the rails before the start of the Albert Bartlett and giving Daryl Jacob a long holiday with injury in the process. He should enjoy the ground and the trip and there was enough evidence from his one hurdles start before Christmas to suggest this ex point to pointer has a future at this game
It’s hard to know what to make of Capote who has only beaten 5 fairly ordinary rivals in two hurdle successes
1pt ew Racing Pulse 14/1 (general but look for firms offering ¼ rather than 1/5 odds 123)
0.5 pts ew Port Melon 25/1 (Stan james)
4.50 Hcap Hurdle
As much as I have looked at this race, nothing is jumping out. Irish raider, Zabana has a progressive profile but the UK handicapper doesn’t seem to have been that lenient with his mark. A wide open race I am happy to leave alone
5.25 Mares Bumper
AP McCoy is an eyecatching booking for Alan Swinbank’s Molly Cat, and he’s a trainer always to be feared in bumpers.
But despite her penalty, The Govaness is the choice. She’s mixed it with the boys earlier in the year and ran very well against them – something that few others can claim in the race. She then followed up in a mares bumper at Cheltenham which I feel could have been stronger than this race.
She’s been kept back since then and looks to have been targeted for this. I think she should be the favourite so will be playing at the odds that are available
1.5pts ew The Govaness 10/1 (Stan James) or even better 10/1 ¼ 1234 888bet if anyone can get that
Thanks for reading once more and good luck!