Our racing expert has unearthed a couple of Aintree runners to back at good prices.
Wind surgery doesn’t always have the desired effect and horses who been operated on tend to be over bet. That said, it has worked wonders for FACT OF THE MATTER in the past and Jamie Snowden’s eight-year-old looks something to bet on in the 3m210y handicap chase, having had his breathing tinkered with since finishing a respectable ninth in the Scottish National.
That’s significant as his last four victories, three of which came over fences, were all following wind surgery and he’s just 3lb higher than for the latest of those at Cartmel in August of last year. His trainer earmarked the Becher Chase (run over the National fences here in December) for him after that performance and that’s understandable as he’s an excellent jumper and has gone well at the track previously, albeit on the Mildmay Course.
That didn’t happen for him for some reason and he was put away for the winter following a pulled up effort at Wincanton in November as he wants good ground ideally. That’s exactly what he’s got this evening and with his stable going well – two winners and three seconds from 12 runners in the last fortnight – I reckon he’s got a terrific chance under Gavin Sheehan, who has already guided him to to a couple of chase wins.
Dan Skelton continues in unstoppable form with ten winners to show from his 30 runners (33%) in the last fortnight and all four of his Aintree runners are worth considering. But the one that interests me most is PARTHENIUS in the 2m103y handicap hurdle with the trainer’s brother Harry on board.
The five-year-old is another who has had a wind operation since last seen out and, if he has gained any benefit from that, he’s certainly weighted to take advantage off a mark of 119. That’s 8lb lower than when he last ran at Taunton in December and while he finished well beaten on that occasion, the soft ground probably wasn’t ideal and wouldn’t have helped his breathing, if indeed that was a problem at the time.
He is better judged on a good-ground success at Plumpton in November on his stable debut, when he had the now 127-rated William Hunter in second, and that’s not his only notable form line as he won a Group 3 as a juvenile when trained in Germany. Given his Flat pedigree – he is a brother to German Derby winner Pastorius – he is going to be suited by today’s relatively flat track / better ground and rates a value alternative to the forecast favourite Cause Toujours.
The latter horse is a former stablemate and actually went off favourite for the Champion Bumper at the 2017 Cheltenham Festival. He could only finish ninth in that and a couple of odds-on defeats over hurdles followed. He finally got off the mark on his first run for Ian Williams last time, when again odds-on, and he doesn’t look at all badly treated for his handicap debut. However, he takes a fierce hold in his races and while he has a hood on this evening for the first time, he is not one to take a short price about.
All odds were correct at time of posting.