After four Grade 1’s in a row at the start of yesterday’s card, today’s meeting gets off to a slightly more sedate start with a handicap hurdle.
Alder Hey Childrens Charity Handicap Hurdle
It is no less competitive, however, for its lower status, with 22 set to go to post on ground now described as good to soft, good in places.
With Tony McCoy up and following a fine British debut in the Fred Winter at the Festival recently, The Saint James has been backed into a relatively short price favourite, but there is plenty of value elsewhere as a result and Gordon Elliott has a good chance of adding to his two wins yesterday courtesy of KNIGHT’S PARADE, who has been a revelation over hurdles this season.
Good ground is key to him and a win over 2 miles on the flat in February suggested he is ready for this step up in trip over obstacles.
There are no end of dangers including horses we have tipped previously like Some Buckle, Baradari and Pearl Swan, but for those looking to smash one out of the park early on on the card it might be worth having a few quid each way on MILE HOUSE. Again, the ground is key to his chances and his last effort on soft ground at Chepstow can be forgiven. He has been kept fresh for a spring campaign since that run in October and he is a strong traveller who may be well suited by a fast run handicap over this trip.
Finally, we can’t ignore another old favourite, DELL ARCA, who ran arguably the best race of his career when a close third in a grade 1 novices hurdle at this meeting last year. He is proven in these big field handicaps and his early fall at Cheltenham has, at least, kept him fresh for this.
|Knight’s Parade (ew)||1.40 Aintree||12/1||Bet365|
|Mile House (ew)||1.40 Aintree||33/1||Bet365|
|Dell Arca (ew)||1.40 Aintree||12/1||Bet365|
Class 1 E-Lites Top Novices Hurdle
A real favourite of ours, Glingerburn, is a worthy market leader for the Grade 2 Novices Hurdle that follows. He travels supremely well in his races, but this is the day we find out how good he is and from a punting perspective the value lies elsewhere.
Cyrus Darius is another horse with huge potential, but his future may lie over fences and so, with everything looking in his favour, VAGO COLLONGES appears a very solid each way option. He will love the ground and he was just undone last time out by the small field and lack of an end to end gallop.
There should be a decent early pace here, though, and that could make all the difference to a horse that deliberately missed Cheltenham to wait for this.
At a huge price, expect to see a bit more from Dabadiyan, who was rated a massive 110 at his peak on the flat, but showed absolutely nothing on his first try over hurdles last month.
A more reliable outsider, however, could prove to be COMMISSIONED, who also had a decent rating on the level and who ran a blinder in the juvenile contest at this meeting last season when still a maiden. The ground is key to him and has come in his favour, and he may not be the John Ferguson second string he would initially appear to be on paper.
|Vago Collonges (ew)||2.15 Aintree||15/2||Bet365|
|Commissioned (ew)||2.15 Aintree||12/1||Bet365|
Betfred Mildmay Novices Chase
It is the turn of the novice chasers next and it will be interesting to see how Saphir Du Rheu fairs back over the larger obstacles. 7/4 looks a fair price given the horses ability over hurdles, but the each way value looks to be CAROLE’S DESTRIER, who has the champ on board this afternoon.
Neil Mulholland has his yard in flying form and this horse has really got his act together over fences recently. He stays really well and Aintree’s flat track should be ideal.
Of those at bigger prices, we can’t ignore CARRAIG MOR who had a real confidence booster when romping home at Exeter recently. He was still going well when falling in the Feltham at Kempton over Christmas and looks massively over-priced at 14/1.
|Carole’s Destrier (ew)||2.50 Aintree||4/1||Bet365|
|Carraig Mor (ew)||2.50 Aintree||14/1||Bet365|
Betfred Melling Chase
The day’s big race is the Melling Chase where CHAMPAGNE FEVER bids for compensation having had to miss the Champion Chase at the last minute. He looked primed to run a massive race there and having tipped him to do so we can’t really desert him here. Trip and ground look ideal and it is worth remembering how well he was travelling in the King George over three miles before his stamina gave way.
He and Ryanair third Don Cossack understandably dominate the betting, whilst former Champion Chaser, Sire De Grugy is friendless in the market after his lacklustre display in that contest this year.
He is not the only one on a retrieval mission, as the likes of Al Ferof and Cue Card have plenty to prove too, although the former could give the selection most to do if his wind operation has been a success.
We were disappointed with Simply Ned’s effort in the Queen Mother having tipped him to reach the frame at least and it will be interesting to see how he fairs over this longer trip, but another of our Cheltenham tips, JOHNS SPIRIT, should be backed again here as the flat track may help him to make more of an impression in this class of race. He too travelled ominously well for a long way in the King George and we aren’t quite ready to give up on him in graded company.
|Champagne Fever (win)||3.25 Aintree||7/2||Bet365|
|Johns Spirit (ew)||3.25 Aintree||16/1||Bet365|
Our tips for the later races are as follows:
|Rathlin (ew)||4.05 Aintree||22/1||Sky Bet|
|Fairy Rath (ew)||4.05 Aintree||33/1||Bet365, William Hill|
|Standing Ovation (ew)||4.05 Aintree||12/1||Bet365|
|Ordo Ab Chao (ew)||4.40 Aintree||10/1||Bet365, William Hill|
|Alpha Des Obeux (ew)||4.40 Aintree||11/1||Sky Bet|
|Archive (ew)||5.15 Aintree||12/1||Sky Bet, William Hill|
|Buveur D’Air (ew)||5.15 Aintree||15/2||Bet365|