It is day one of the Randox Grand National Festival at Aintree on Thursday with plenty to get stuck into if you wish. I am taking a slightly careful approach this year again as it can throw up some surprises being so close to the Festival at Cheltenham as it is. It is a decent card on Thursday and I have a couple that I fancy and I have actually jumped on Tuesday afternoon as I think both are going to get shorter in the market.
Best bets for the horse racing at Aintree Thursday 13th April
At 2.20 we have the 2m Grade One Jewson Anniversary 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle with Triumph Hurdle third Zenta heading the market. No match for Lossiemouth at the Festival there is nothing of that one’s class lining-up here and remembering how dominant the Mullins youngsters were there, she was part of a Willie Mullins 1,2,3,4, she has to be taken very seriously for this. Getting the 7lb fillies allowance she looks a solid bet to me and I am on at 7-4.
The 3m1f Grade One Alder Hey Aintree Bowl at 2.55 is a really interesting race with four of these having contested last month’s Cheltenham Gold Cup. A Plus Tard has been pulled-up the last twice and I can’t be backing a horse coming into a race with a record like that. Bravemansgame (my tip at Cheltenham) finished best of the rest behind Galopin Des Champs in the big one and bids to go one better for champion trainer Paul Nicholls. On paper you would expect this track to suit but he hasn’t got a particularly good record here although he arrives a lot fresher this year fof the back of a less busy schedule. It will be fascinating to see how Shishkin fares on his first attempt over this far after his staying-on second in the 2m4f G.1 Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham and victory in the G.1 2m5f Ascot Chase prior to that. I am a huge fan of both horses and it has been a real head scratcher for me. Shishkin could do it but clearly he wasn’t at his best at the Festival, the mistakes were there for all to see, and I wonder if that run may have taken a bit out of him - I even have a niggly feeling he might not run at all. I wouldn’t be surprised if this is made a bit of a test and that being the case proven stayer Bravemansgame is the choice for me. I am on at 3-1. There had been a bit of a concern whether he could run due to issues with part-owner John Dance but earlier this week a spokesperson for the British Horseracing Authority said: “The BHA can confirm that Bravemansgame will be able to take his place in the Alder Hey Aintree Bowl Chase having been declared in the sole ownership of Mr Bryan Drew.”
Update: As of Wednesday evening Bravemansgame if out of the Bowl. The BHA released a statement on Wednesday evening: "In light of new information, including a court order, provided to the BHA by the Financial Conduct Authority, Bravemansgame is no longer able to take part in the race and has been withdrawn. The BHA will continue to liaise with the FCA and other affected parties."
In, out, in out, shake it all about...........farcical! At least my bet is void I suppose so I haven't done any cash.
Constitution Hill is set to face five rivals when he puts his unbeaten record on the line in the Grade One 2m4f Grade One William Hill Aintree Hurdle at 3.30. It is of course his first try under rules over further than two-miles but the six-year-old will be long odds-on to finish his season still unbeaten before connections have the difficult decision to make as to whether to have a go at Chasing next season. He has about a stone at least in hand on his rivals and unless the engine empties alarmingly in the final furlong it should be a formality for the Seven Barrows win machine. The race for the place-money should be a fair one with several in with a chance of finishing second.Be lucky