Aintree Grand National Festival 2022
Thursday 7th April 2022
Author: Jordan Yates (EvRacing_)
A big welcome to my Grand National Festival Preview where we kick things off at Aintree with the 1.45 which is the Grade 1 Manifesto Novices’ Chase over two miles and four furlongs. War Lord and Pic D’Orhy set the standard at the top of the betting, however, I’ve taken a chance on the in-form Erne River at 9/2 for Nick Kent and Charlie Hammond. He arrives here having won his last four on the spin, the latest success coming at Wetherby when getting the better of the useful Uncle Alastair by the best part of thirteen lengths. This is by far his toughest assignment to date though and he’ll need to take a big step up on form, but he’s still got considerable progression in him. For me, I think Gin On Lime could well be the main danger, she gets weight off her rivals here and hasn’t been seen since winning at Cheltenham in November, ableit in foruntate circumstances. She’s a smart mare though in her own right, yard form is a concern though.
Moving onto the 2:20 now which is more Grade 1 action in the form of the Juvenile Hurdle over two miles and a furlong. I think this is all about Pied Piper for Gordon Elliott and Davy Russell who sits at the top of the betting at Evens. Formely a smart horse on the level for John Gosden, he’s made the transition to hurdles this season in smart style, winning twice with the most visually impressive coming at Cheltenham on Trials Day where he bolted up in a Grade 2 by nine lengths. He was last seen when finishing third in the Triumph Hurdle at The Festival behind Vauban, four-lengths clear of the fourth placed horse which I think is the best form on offer here. If running to that level again for this particular assignment he should prove tough to beat.
Next up is the 2:55 which is the Betway Bowl which is another Grade 1 event, this time a chase over three miles and a furlong. Clan Des Obeaux bolted up in the race last year and will be primed to retain his crown here, and he’s every chance of doing so if he turns up in the same form as he did twelve months ago. I’ve taken him on though and I’ve done that with Protektorat for the Skelton’s who’s currently trading at around the 7/2 mark in the betting. He was last seen when running a mighty race in the Gold Cup at Cheltenham where he finished third behind A Plus Tard, which is top-level form. His penultimate outing came at Aintree whe he bolted up over track and trip in the Grade 2 Many Clouds Chase by twenty five lengths, with Native River in behind him. He’s still only a seven-year-old and I think there could well be more to come from him yet.
We follow the theme of Grade 1s in the 3:30 which is the Aintree Hurdle which is contested over two miles and four furlongs. Epatante will be a warm order here for Nicky Henderson following her fine run in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham where she finished second to Honeysuckle, she also has the added bonus of getting the seven-pound sex allowance off all of her rivals. I’ve gone against her though, and I’ve done that by siding with Zanahiyr for Gordon Elliott who’s currently trading at around the 2/1 mark. He’s often been the bridesmaid in his races this season behind Honeysuckle, and that was the case once again at Cheltenham where he finished third, also behind Epatante. I think a step up in trip is exactly what he needs though and he finally gets that here, he’s a very smart horse in his own right being a dual Grade 2 winner and I think he’s got every chance of putting on a bold showing here.
Now we’ve taken a look at the Grade 1s I’m going to go through the rest of the card in one paragraph, so I’m not taking up too much of your time. The 4:05 is the Foxhunters Chase and it’s not a race that I generally have a particulary strong fancy in, I’ve come down on Latenightpass though here at 9/2 who’s the mount of Gina Andrews. He bolted up in a point recently and could have more to offer as he’s only a nine-year-old, which is fairly young for this sphere. The 4.40 is an extremely competitve Grade 3 Handicap Chase over two miles, I’ve taken a chance on King D’argent though at 8/1 for Dan and Harry Skelton. He was beaten a neck when last seen at Doncaster last month and contests this race off just a pound higher mark, if running to the same level as that effort on Town Moor he’s got to be considered as a significant player. Concluding the day the 5:15 which is the Grade 2 National Hunt Flat Race over two miles and a furlong. I think Rosy Redrum could do the business here, she was extremely well backed on her debut and justified it with a very impressive display. She’s since finished second in Listed company at Newbury and I think she could have a big future.