Not a bad start to the Aintree Festival. As usual, I advise to read the narrative and if you did then you would likely have been on the winner L'Ami Serge who was 7/1 when I posted the blog, or you should have at least layed the fav Supasundae. Of my main selections; Cyrname set far too strong a pace in the opener and paid for it on the soft ground; Bristol De Mai ran a cracker but was not good enough to hold Might Bite, but he was a profitable eachway wager; and Bun Doran just faded out of the places coming home 5th.
I thought MIGHT BITE ran to a higher rating than he achieved in the Gold Cup, and he benefited from running over a shorter trip on this flatter track. The strong pace set by Bristol De Mai also helped Might Bite set, in my opinion, a personal best.
The Grand National course looked fantastic and possibly not as testing as was expected. So long as the rain stays away (and that is the expectation) we should have perfect racing ground on Saturday. Yesterday I suggested having a wager on topweight Minella Rocco, and there are rumours that he may be withdrawn from the race. Hopefully, if you placed a wager you did so with a "non-runner, no bet" bookie.
Friday is a trickier card and I'm going to ignore the opening couple of hurdle races and go straight to the Novices Chase run at 2:50pm over 3m1f. This is a race which is usually won by a top, if not the top, staying novice chaser of the season that's trained in the UK. If Terrefort - 2nd in the JLT Novices Chase over 2m4f last month - can improve for this step up in trip then he will be hard to beat. However, I think Terrefort may struggle over this trip and I'm looking at other proven stayers. With the mares 7lb allowance Ms Parfois is technically rated 153 and she will have no problem with the trip having just failed to win the 4-mile NH Chase. A very game mare, she should be thereabouts at the end. If the other mare in the race Mia's Storm had had a recent run (she last ran at Xmas) then I would be very interested in her in this race, but not having had a recent run is a worry. The rest of the opposition is just as talented, however I think the 6yo's Coo Star Sivola and Elegant Escape will appreciate a break and be better in the autumn. A horse that I admire but who ran poorly at Cheltenham is Black Corton, and if he can return to his best (he easily beat Ms Parfois at Ascot in February over 3-mile) then I'd be on him in a flash. This is a tough race, but when push comes to shove I think the 6/1 about Ms PARFOIS is fair value as she ticks all the boxes.
The JLT Melling Chase over 2m4f run at 3:25pm looks to be between MIN and Balko Des Flo, and I have no doubt that MIN is the better horse, it is just this trip which may catch him out. This 2m4f trip is perfect for Balko Des Flo, but I felt he was at the limit LTO and it may be that he was flattered by the way the race panned out. The horse that may run a lot better than his odds is Le Prezien but I cannot see him beating Min even if he improves 10lb. At odds of 5/4, MIN could be the wager of the day as I think he should be odds-on, probably about 4/7.
There is a full compliment of 30 runners for the 2m5f Topham Trophy run at 4:05pm, so to be involved at the finish the winner of the race will need some luck. After the Cheltenham Festival when writing up my notes, one horse caught my eye with regards this race and I placed a wager on him - BALLYALTON. The 11yo has slipped from OR149 to OR138, but has run well without winning as his rating has dropped. He was 4th LTO at Cheltenham in the 2m5f Grade 3 handicap chase and he was "in-the-van" throughout the race, which is where you want to be in a race like the Topham. Available at 14/1 for this, he is as good an eachway wager as any other in the race.
I will give the remaining hurdle and "bumper" a miss as chases are my speciality.
2:50pm Ms PARFOIS - £5 eachway @ 6/1 (available generally)
4:05pm BALLYALTON - £5 eachway @ 14/1 (available generally)
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Friday, 13 April 2018
Aintree Festival (Friday) 13th April
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