Randox Grand National Festival at Aintree day two bets plus Keeneland

Friday at the Randox Grand National meeting is Ladies Day; I guarantee that they'll be a few acting very unlady like! There is once again plenty to tempt you in if you fancy a busy afternoon in the Bookies and I actually fancy three on the day up in Merseyside. There’s also one across the Pond in America for this evening.

The weather remains unsettled with the going officially soft this morning.

Best bets for the horse racing at Aintree Friday 12th April

We get underway again at 1.45 with the first being the Grade One 3m1f Huyton Asphalt Franny Blennerhassett Memorial Mildmay Novices' Chase. There's a couple in here arriving off the back of good wins at the Festival; will those exertions have left their mark? Chianti Classico won me a few quid last month when much too good for his rivals in the 3m1f Ultima Handicap Chase at Cheltenham. Up to a mark of 154 from 143 he is a progressive type and thoroughly deserves a tilt at a race such as this. A prominent running good jumper, if he gets into a similar nice rhythm here as he did at Cheltenham he will surely go close. I am on again at the 9-2. Inothewayurthinkin was an easy winner of the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Amateur Jockeys' Handicap Chase but his new mark of 158 in this company may prove just too tough.

I backed Mystical Power in the G.1 Supreme last month where the five-year-old couldn’t quite live with Slade Steel. He goes in the Grade One 2m½f TrustATrader Top Novices' Hurdle at 2.55. That was his first defeat, he was far from disgraced as a clear second, and I remain convinced there is more to come from this one. Firefox was third in the Supreme and I see no obvious reason he can reverse the form with Mystical Power whilst the mare Dysart Enos, for all as impressive as she has been in lesser company, would need to improve around a stone to win this on ratings. I am on Mystical Power at 11-8.

The Grade One 2m4f My Pension Expert Melling Chase at 3.30 is interesting. A fit and well Jonbon would have to be considered on his best 2m form and full-brother Douvan did win the 2m4 ½f G.2 Clonmel Oil Chase at the end of his racing career suggesting he should be able to stay the trip. He does have to prove he stays though and there is of course that fitness question mark. Protektorat is one you always have to consider but did he peak for the G.1 Ryanair Air at the Festival? It is also noted he hasn’t won back to back races since his Novice campaign of 2020/21. Pic D'orhy is another solid performer, won this of course last year, and arrives having not run at Cheltenham so should be fresh, whilst Envoi Allen hardly ever seems to run a bad race. You can realistically make a case for and against all four! I have decided to leave a real puzzle alone. 

The 3m½f Grade One Cavani Sartorial Menswear Sefton Novices' Hurdle at 4.40 looks a very competitive affair on paper. I fancied Readin Tommy Wrong pretty strongly for the G.1 3m Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle at the Festival and he looked to be going okay three-out but weakened two-out before being pulled-up; Paul Townend reporting that the gelding stopped quickly. It was his first try at the trip and on the undulations of Prestbury Park on heavy going it can be forgiven. It is interesting connections come for this and on a far easier track the trip will be less of a test. The form of his G.1 win at Naas in the 2m4f Lawlor's Of Naas Novice Hurdle has really worked out and I am taking a chance on him seeing out the trip at 100.30.

Best bet for the horse racing at Keeneland

Charlie Appleby has two running at Keeneland on Friday evening in the Grade One Maker's Mark Mile Stakes on turf due off at 10.16 our time. Dirty Dozen member Naval Power was my ante-post Derby bet in 2023. He got his three-year-old campaign off to a decent enough start winning the Listed Jumeirah Classic Presented by Longines at Meydan in January 2023. Gelded in May he wasn’t seen again sadly last year. He was back on track in February when he won again at Meydan in the 1m1f G.2 Singspiel Stakes Presented by Longines. He has tasted defeat just once in seven starts but I remain convinced a longer trip is where we will see the best of him and this run looks a bit of a sighter to see how he goes in the States on a tight turning track. Is he a Breeders Cup Turf horse? Master Of The Seas being in the same race naturally muddies the waters somewhat. The six-year-old had quite the campaign last back end when he was beaten a nose in the G.1 Coolmore Turf Mile Stakes over track and trip last season, having won the G.1 Ricoh Woodbine Mile Stakes before that, and of course ended his adventure across the pond taking the G.1 FanDuel Breeders' Cup Mile at Santa Anita. Buick has un-surprisingly chosen him and he looks the one to be on at 8-11. Charlie Appleby said “Master Of The Seas is having his first start since the Breeders’ Cup but his preparation has gone well. He was just touched off at Keeneland in the Turf Mile in the autumn, so has course experience, and everything has gone well with him to date. I feel he is the one they all have to beat. Naval Power had a light three-year-old campaign but came out and won nicely at Meydan in February. He is dropping back a furlong, but we are hoping he can gain some valuable experience of the US style of racing before stepping back up in trip.”

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