What are the best bets on Ladies' Day at Aintree?
After the success off Day 1, bookies.com takes a look at Day 2, as the Aintree Grand National meeting continues this afternoon. Here I’ve run the rule over all seven races.
1.40: Alder Hey Children’s Charity Handicap Hurdle, 2m4f
An easy start for punters! Just the 22 to choose from and you could make a case of sorts for all, but I do like course form around here and Jennie Candlish’s PARTY ROCK, whose Aintree form figures read 12F4, could represent some each-way value. The tumble came at the second last in this race 12 months ago and he was still bang in contention at the time. The handicapper has kindly dropped him a few pounds since and, taking Conor Ring’s 5lb claim into account, he will line up only 4lb higher than when winning impressively here in May 2013. Good ground is important to him and he’ll get that here.
2.15: E-Lites Top Novices’ Hurdle, 2m110y
Qewy represents the Supreme Novices’ form, that being a remote fifth behind Douvan, but John Ferguson’s runner could do a lot better over this flatter track and on better ground. He holds Cardinal Water on Newbury February running, although the latter horse will also appreciate the drying conditions and represents Nicky Henderson, who has won four of the last five renewals. However, the pair may struggle to cope with Nicky Richards’ GLINGERBURN. He has been doing all his winning at the smaller northern tracks, admittedly, but was impressive when beating Bristol De Mai (ran well here Thursday) in a Grade 2 at Kelso last time, where he again demonstrated his high cruising speed and deft turn of foot at the finish. He definitely falls into the ‘could be anything’ bracket and, while we’re being asked to take a skinny 2/1 (Sky Bet), I’m not looking elsewhere for the winner.
2.50: Betfred Mildmay Novices’ Chase (Grade 1), 3m1f
A fascinating renewal of this Grade 1 with World Hurdle runner-up SAPHIR DU RHEU (6/4 bet365) switching back to the larger obstacles, following a win and two non-completions over them earlier in the season. His trainer Paul Nicholls has always considered him capable of going to the very top over fences and he may well justify that faith here. The extra week this year between Cheltenham and Aintree is a big help in terms of recovery and, while that also applies to several others, including stablemate Irish Saint (fourth in the JLT), he can make his superior class count, granted a clear round of course.
3.25: Betfred Melling Chase (Grade 1), 2m4f
I’m convinced that Willie Mullins’ Champagne Fever would have gone close in the Champion Chase had he not been forced to pull out on the morning of the race, after being bitten on the lip by a stablemate. He’s closely matched with Don Cossack on the evidence of their running at Thurles in January, when the latter was perhaps just getting the better of him before being left clear the last. However, the drying ground favours the Mullins runner and he may have more to fear from Al Ferof, who has had a breathing op since finishing third in the King George, and Cheltenham disappointment BALDER SUCCESS, who is a stone better on flatter tracks like this one. The latter is a 15/2 shot with Hills, who make Champagne Fever their 11/4 favourite, and he’s given the vote on value grounds.
4.05: Crabbies Topham Chase (National Course), 2m5f110y
Form over the National fences is worth its weight in gold, with eight of the last ten winners having been around the track before, and that immediately points to last year’s second and third, BENNYS MIST and EASTLAKE. Both arrive here on the back of second place finishes, in the Greatwood Gold Cup and Grand Annual respectively, and they look sure to give backers a good run for their money – let’s try a split stakes bet on the pair at 12/1 and 16/1 with BetVictor. David Pipe’s Poole Master won the Grand Sefton Chase over these fences in November and he too should go well at a price.
4.40: Doom Bar Sefton Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1), 3m110y
Jonjo O’Neill’s MINELLA ROCCO (7/2 Coral) has oozed class in winning both his hurdle stats this winter, having been bought for £260,000 last March after winning his sole Irish point-to-point, and he can complete the hat-trick here under AP. UPDATE – Minella Rocco is a non-runner and that could leave the way for ORDO AB CHAO (10/1 bet365).
5.15: Weatherbys Wealth Management Champion Standard Open NH Flat Race, 2m1f
A hotly contested bumper to finish on and the equine talent on display runs deep with all bar three of the 20 runners having won previously. Paul Nicholls’ Persian Delight has been priced up as the early 7/2 favourite, but that’s purely based in reputation as the Taunton bumper he won, hard held admittedly, has not really worked out. Instead, I’ll be having a few quid on Ben Pauling’s BARTERS HILL (6/1 bet365), who has won all three of his starts in the style of a classy horse and has been kept fresh for Aintree.
Good luck with your Aintree bets!