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Between March 2010 and April 2017, this blog recommended wagers on 520 individual races on Jump Racing in the UK, resulting in a PROFIT of £1,525.39 on cumulative stakes of £5,726 - this is equivalent to a Return On Investment of 26.60%.


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advising selections on which to wager, since March 2010.

Thursday, 7 April 2016

2016 Aintree Festival Day 1

What a cracking day of racing we have at Aintree. We have 4 consecutive Grade 1 races to start the meeting off, and the opening race sets the stage for the rest of the day.  There has been a lot of overnight rain, and the rain looks like continuing to fall for most of the morning - so the ground will be more soft than good-to-soft.

The Manifesto Novices Chase at 1:40pm over 2m4f brings together some of the best novices seen this season over jumps. Arzal did not go to Cheltenham and he looks one of those best suited to the conditions and should prove to be better than his OR151 rating. Garde La Victoire looks an out-and-out 2-mile chaser, while L'Ami Serge was at the limit of his stamina over 2m4f LTO at Cheltenham and his only chance is if this flat track suits him better. Rock The World is another who seems best at 2-mile. The only horse to have beaten Sizing John since November 2014 is Douvan (they have met 4 times since that initial meeting), and this extra 4-furlongs 'could' bring about a further improvement in him. Odds of 3/1 look fair given his profile, and could look extremely generous if he proves to stay the trip. Odds of 13/2 about Arzal look fair eachway value as it's difficult to see him not being in the 1st-3 finishers. Of those with a win at 2m4f, only Bouvreuil looks to be capable of being placed, and odds of 14/1 look an interesting eachway play.

The 4yo Juvenile Hurdle over 2m1f at 2:15pm looks a penalty kick for Ivanovich Gorbatov and odds of 11/8 actually (to me) look generous as he's about 10lb better than anything else in the race.  If you read my review of the 2nd day of the Cheltenham Festival you will know I think we will see more improvement from Romain De Senam and he can be an interesting eachway wager at 16/1 in this 9-runner race.

At 2:50pm we have the Betfred Bowl over 3m1f, and the only way Cue Card won't win this is if he does not finish the race. I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that, had he not fallen at the 3rd-last fence when putting in a short-step and thumping the fence hard, he'd have won the Gold Cup easily. Everything else, other than Don Cossack, was beaten at the time and Don Cossack did not put enough distance between himself and the exhausted Djakadam to suggest he would have troubled Cue Card in the final 3-furlongs to the line. The Gold Cup run may have brought-on his fitness and he will likely be the one chasing home the fav.  However, the Gold Cup was a hard race for both Djakadam and Don Poli.  As such, it may be the 7yo Saphir Du Rheu who won over this C&D at this meeting last year in tremendous style, if his trainer has rekindled his enthusiasm which was lacking LTO at Cheltenham.

The Aintree Hurdle over 2m4f at 3:25pm is a race with a great history, and I think it is a real shame that it has moved from Saturday to a Thursday slot. The quality of the entries has not suffered, as we have the 1st-4 from the Champion Hurdle meeting again over this longer trip, but the race demands top-billing. In 2014, The New One won this race as a 6yo, and that was the last time he ran over a trip longer than 2m1f. If he can repeat that effort then the fav Annie Power will have to pull out all the stops to win. Nichols Canyon won the novices hurdle over C&D last year, and has improved about 10lb since then. He has a great chance too, as I'm sure the jockeys wont let Ruby Walsh dominate the race on Annie Power as he did at Cheltenham in the Champion Hurdle. What of My Tent Or Yours? He has never run beyond 2m1f but, if he improves for his seasonal debut when 2nd in the Champion Hurdle, he could prove hard to beat. All the above have chances of winning, this should be a race to savour. I may well have a personal wager on The New One at 10/1.

The Foxhunters' Chase over the National fences at 4:05pm is for amateur riders, and bility in the saddle counts for a lot, as all the horses carry the same weight.  On The Fringe is easily the best horse in the race, rated OR147 and, in Mr JJ Codd, he has one of the best amateurs riding today. Pacha Du Polder is the next-best horse rated OR138 and this time trainer Paul Nicholls has put up Mr W Biddick who is another very good amateur.  If he had been in the saddle LTO then Pacha Du Polder may well have won at Cheltenham. This pair were 1st and 2nd in the race last year (On The Fringe won) and they were well clear of the other finishers. Two other horses worth a mention at Current Event also rated OR138 and ridden by the excellent Miss Katie Walsh, and Mendip Express (also rated OR138) who is ridden by Mr D Maxwell.  I think Mendip Express is capable of running a big race here and odds of 12/1 look decent eachway value, while Current Event has never run well here.  The winner will almost certainly come from one of these 4.

Only one clear fav has won the 2-mile handicap chase run at 4:40pm in the past 10 years and there have been some long-odds winners. This race looks wide-open to me as I have no confidence in the market leaders Fayette County and Solar Impulse. A tricky handicap and one to either avoid or have a small wager on a long-odds chance.  I will give the "bumper" a miss.

This looks a day for winning favourites and it could pay to wager on the fav's in the opening 3 races (Sizing John, Ivanovich Gorbatov, and Cue Card) and in doubles and a treble.  I could not wager on Annie Power at odds of 1/2 if you paid me.

I think MENDIP EXPRESS has a great eachway chance in the Foxhunters' Chase and he's my only advised selection of the day.

Aintree 4:05pm MENDIP EXPRESS, £5 eachway @ 12/1 (available generally, quarter-odds a place 1,2,3,4 with Bet Victor, Ladbrokes and Corals)

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