Aintree Grand National Festival 2018
1.45 – Manifesto Novices Chase (Class 1) (Grade 1) (2m 3f)
The first race of the Grand National Festival at Aintree is the Grade 1 Manifesto Chase ridden over two miles and three furlongs.
It’s a classy field with some big guns in the line up, Brain Power comes here on the back of his second places effort behind Footpad in the Arkle which is solid form and you’d like to think a repeat of that run could see him go close again here.
Finians Oscar has been hugely disappointing this term after looking a potential star last season. He did travel well throughout a lot of the JLT at Cheltenham and if showing some improvement again here could well get into the frame. Renes Girl could be a bit of a dark horse for the Skelton’s. She’s won a couple of Listed Mares contests the last two times and will need to progress quite a bit again here to get involved in Grade 1 company against the boys.
The one Im going to side with here is CYRNAME for Paul Nicholls. He bypassed Cheltenham and comes here fresh. He looked impressive the last day and connections think a lot of him. Going left handed here might be the slight concern.
CYRNAME – 5/2 –
2.20 – Doom Bar Juvenile Hurdle (Class 1) (Grade 1) (2m 1f)
A Grade 1 Juvenile Hurdle takes the stage next which is ridden over two miles and a furlong and it see’s the return of Apple’s Shakira for Nicky Henderson head the market despite her losing her unbeaten record when fourth in the Triumph at Cheltenham.
It’s the other Henderson runner I like here though and that’s WE HAVE A DREAM. He missed his engagement at Cheltenham due to set back but should be back to his best here. He’s versatile ground wise and should give a bold showing here under Daryl Jacob.
WE HAVE A DREAM – 2/1 –
2.50 – Betway Bowl Chase (Class 1) (Grade 1) (3m 1f)
The Bowl is up next a Grade 1 affair ridden over a three miles and a furlong, won last year by Tea For Two when just beating Cue Card and it see’s this year’s Cheltenham Gold Cup second Might Bite head affairs at odds on of around 4/6.
I think Might Bite will win this but i’m not overly certain that he will come here completely unfazed by that Gold Cup battle with Native River so I am going to try and take him on.
There’s a whole host of each way options to choose from here but i’m going to take a chance with BRISTOL DE MAI. He comes here a lot fresher than a lot of these has and has had wind surgery since his run at Cheltenham in January. He may well give a bold showing from the front and could serve it up the short priced favourite.
BRISTOL DE MAI – 5/1 (E/W) –
3.25 – Aintree Hurdle (Class 1) (Grade 1) (2m 4f)
Up next on Day One of the Grand National Festival is none other than the Aintree Hurdle. Another Grade 1 affair this time ridden over a distance of two miles and four furlongs.
I’ve chose two selections for this race and the first of these is the market leader SUPASUNDAE for Jessica Harrington. Simply, I think he’ll win this as there is very little to seriously oppose him with. A lot of these have had their day in the sun despite still being top level performers and I think it will be somewhat of a turn up if Supasundae doesn’t collect victory.
An each way alternative to the market leader I quite like is DIAKALI for Gary Moore. Formerly of Willie Mullins he hasn’t been seen since winning by a large margin over in Ireland. He’s a quirky sort who will need to be on a going day but if he is I think he might worth be chancing at a big price.
SUPASUNDAE – 1/1 –
DIAKALI – 28/1 (E/W)
4.05 – Foxhunters Open Chase (Class 2) (2m 5f)
BALNASLOW – 5/1 (E/W)
(Did well the last day at Cheltenham after finding the pace difficult to handle. Could well go a few places better here on a surface that he may prefer.)
4.40 – Red Rum Handicap Chase (Class 1) (Grade 3) (2m 3f)
The 4.40 on Day One of the Aintree Grand National Festival is the Grade Three Red Rum Handicap Chase that is ridden over a distance of two miles and three furlongs and is a fiercely competitive affair.
It see’s King’s Socks head affairs for David Pipe and Tom Scudamore at a general 9/2 mark. He comes on the back of a fifth placed effort in The Plate at the Cheltenham Festival where he finished in fifth placed after travelling strongly throughout the contest but just faded up the hill in the closing stages.
Nicky Henderson is represented here by the tough handicapper that is Thienval. He ran a blinding race at Cheltenham when finishing fourth in the Grand Annual and is one of the toughest horses out there. He was given a gruelling campaign last term when facing back to back assignments in tough handicaps yet doesn’t seem at all fazed by any of it. He’s likely to give another bold showing and can be found trading at around the 11/2 mark.
Bun Doran is close up in the market for Tom George, he’s also a very consistent performer at this level as he showed when third in this last year, he’ll appreciate a strongly run affair and whilst not looking totally well in is likely to put up a good showing.
Front runner Gino Trail has been in great form this term with several wins to his name and a fantastic effort when second at Cheltenham in the Grand Annual which was also run on soft going. He’s likely to take it up from the front again here and if giving too easy of a time in front could well be dangerous again.
This is one of if not the toughest race of the first day at Aintree to call but i’m going to side with KING’S SOCKS for David Pipe. Whilst David is having a tough time of it this season he has knocked up a few winners in the last couple of weeks and I think this horse has a bit of class about him. I think the drop back to this shorter trip will suit him and he could well be bang there at the business end.
KING’S SOCKS – 9/2 –
(The Punter’s Dream Feature – Read my Blogs & Previews there.)
5.15 – Mares National Hunt Flat Race (Class 1) (Grade 2) (2m 1f)
DISSAVRIL – 6/1 (E/W)
(Won very impressively the last day off a long lay off and is likely to come on again. Will need to improve again here in this company but could well do.)
NAP: Supasundae – 3.25
NB: Cyrname – 1.45