Our tactics paid off in two of the four Grade 1s yesterday, but it doesn’t look as easy to get the fancied runners beaten today.
Crabbie’s Top Novices’ Hurdle
The Crabbie’s Top Novices’ Hurdle is the first Grade 1 this afternoon and it looks to be between the front two in the market, RIVER WYLDE and Mount Mews.
River Wylde is proven at this level having run really well to finish third in the Supreme last time out, whilst Mount Mews comes here the fresher horse but is yet to encounter rivals of this calibre.
We think the track, trip and ground will suit River Wylde more, so he is given the nod in the hope that his Cheltenham exertions haven’t left a mark.
|River Wylde (win)||2.20 Aintree||2/1||Bet365|
Mildmay Novices’ Chase
The next Grade 1 sees the rematch between the brilliant but quirky Might Bite and his ultra-consistent stablemate WHISPER. The latter loves it here having won the Liverpool Hurdle in both 2014 and 2015, and he looks the better value.
|Whisper (win)||2.50 Aintree||7/2||Betfred|
JLT Melling Chase
The third and final Grade 1 looks the most competitive with Queen Mother Chase form in the shape of the likes of Fox Norton, Top Gamble, Gods Own and Traffic Fluide clashing with Ryanair form.
Both TRAFFIC FLUIDE and TOP GAMBLE can been seen finishing the Queen Mother to good effect, suggesting that this step up in trip will suit them both. They look the value, whilst Gods Own is feared as he might have been an unlucky loser at Cheltenham. He seemed to be coming there to win the race when clouting the second last and immediately fading.
Uxizandre is another threat as he may get his own way out in front.
|Traffic Fluide (ew)||3.25 Aintree||16/1||Bet365|
|Top Gamble (ew)||3.25 Aintree||20/1||Betfair|
Alder Hey Children’s Charity Handicap Hurdle
The three big races are sandwiched in between two fiercely contested handicaps, the second of which is run over the National fences.
First up, though, is the Alder Hey Charity Hurdle, where DASHING OSCAR could prove the one to beat. He looks to have been laid out for a crack at a decent handicap prize and the step up to 2½ miles should eek out some more improvement from Harry Fry’s lightly raced 7 year old.
There are dangers a plenty.
ZUBAYR, for example, is surely better than he has been showing recently. This should be his ground and he seems to run best on flat tracks. The longer trip today may also see him bounce back to form.
The other one to back is HAWK HIGH. We tipped this horse up at Cheltenham and he ran disappointingly in the Coral Cup. We think he is worth another chance as he seems to thrive when the ground is like this.
Others on our shortlist were Dream Berry, Mad Jack Mytton and Rather Be.
|Dashing Oscar (ew)||1.40 Aintree||20/1||Stan James, Betfair|
|Zubayr (ew)||1.40 Aintree||20/1||Stan James|
|Hawk High (ew)||1.40 Aintree||22/1||Stan James|
Topham Handicap Chase
The best spectacle of the day will be the Topham at 4.05.
As with yesterday’s Foxhunters, luck will be crucial and pretty much all of the 30 runners have a chance of making the frame.
Of the favourites, the pick could be HENRYVILLE and Go Conquer. Given his previous experience over these fences, narrow preference is for Henryville. He remains amazingly well treated over fences compared to his hurdles form.
Irish handicappers did really well at Cheltenham, so MR DIABLO has to have a chance here. He looked a new horse in the first time tongue tie last time out on heavy ground. He has always been a better animal on a sounder surface and so could improve again today.
Of the log shots, we think Bright New Dawn could be really well suited by this challenge, provided his stamina holds up, whilst GOWANAUTHAT looks way overpriced now that the ground has come in his favour.
Katnap and Ballykan are others to consider.
|Henryville (ew)||4.05 Aintree||12/1||Sky Bet, Paddy Power|
|Mr Diablo (ew)||4.05 Aintree||20/1||Bet365|
|Gowanauthat (ew)||4.05 Aintree||66/1||Paddy Power|
Our tips in the later races are:
|Constantine Bay (win)||4.40 Aintree||7/2||Bet365|
|Ballymalin (ew)||4.40 Aintree||22/1||Paddy Power|
|If The Cap Fits (ew)||4.40 Aintree||6/1||Betfair|
|Point Of Principle (ew)||5.15 Aintree||50/1||Bet365|
|Carlos Du Fruitier (ew)||5.15 Aintree||40/1||Betfair|