Aintree Grand National Festival – Thursday Preview

might bite

By Samantha (11/4/18)

Thursday Preview

Big Buck’s Celebration Manifesto Novices’ Chase

CYRNAME is a two time Grade Two winner. He was last seen winning the Pendil Novices Chase by eleven lengths in February, having bypassed Cheltenham in favour of this. Before that, he was beaten a neck in Grade One company in the Scilly Isles and looks the obvious choice in this. His stablemate, Modus, has won three times this season over chase fences. Last time out, he finished eighth in the JLT at Cheltenham where his jumping wasn’t great. Finian’s Oscar finished fifth in that race. He is a Grade One winner at Aintree over hurdles but hasn’t done as much as was expected over chase fences. Course form is important and that gives him a chance. Brain Power has ran four times over chase fences, winning his first then failing to finish the next two. His most recent start was at Cheltenham and he finished a good second in the Arkle. Rene’s Girl is a listed winner on both of her two recent starts. She has her allowance but has never contested a race of this high level. Calino D’Airy has won two chases but this looks tough for him.

Doom Bar Anniversary 4 Y O Juvenile Hurdle

We Have A Dream and Apple’s Shakira both come from Nicky Henderson’s yard. The former is unbeaten on all of his starts under rules. This season, he has won a Grade Two, a Grade One and the Listed Scottish Triumph Hurdle. He missed Cheltenham and will be coming into this after a break. He has won on every type of ground so that won’t be an issue. APPLE’S SHAKIRA was unbeaten up until Cheltenham when she disappointed lots of people by finishing fourth in the JCB Triumph Hurdle, six and three quarter lengths behind the winner. This race doesn’t look as competitive and her mares’ allowance could be the thing that splits her and her stablemate so she gets my vote. Malaya and Cristal Icon both also have allowances as they are mares but they don’t look up to Apple’s Shakira’s standard. On debut, Malaya was beaten by Gumball, who was eight lengths ahead. She has won twice since and been second on two occasions. Cristal Icon broke her maiden tag last time so this could be a little bit tough for her. Nube Negra is two from five for Dan Skelton. He was second behind Apple’s Shakira in a Juvenile hurdle at Cheltenham in November and is a good each way shot in this. Padleyourowncanoe was forth in the Fred Winter, one place behind Nube Negra. He was also forth behind We Have A Dream on debut but has won two handicap hurdles in total and looks overpriced at 33s. Et Moi Alors could be anything. He fell on debut but ran well in second last time out. He is half brother to a French chaser who is one from one under rules.

Betway Bowl Chase

You can make a case for most of the horses in this. Tea For Two won this last year and his best run this season was behind Might Bite and Double Shuffle in the King George. Then he was pulled up behind Definitely Red and finished seventh in the Gold Cup. Double Shuffle hasn’t been seen since King George and that was most definitely the best run of his career. He was finishing strongly that day and ground won’t be a worry so he is a solid each way chance. MIGHT BITE was second in the Gold Cup, after winning the King George, with Double Shuffle, Definitely Red and Tea For Two all behind him. He brings the star quality into this but backers just have to hope Cheltenham won’t have taken too much out of him. Bristol De Mai is a big danger to him. He won the Charlie Hall and Betfair Chase at the start of the season. He hasn’t showed a lot since but has had a break since finishing third to Definitely Red in the Cotswold Chase and comes into this fresh. He has finished third and fifth around Aintree and could end a fantastic season on a high for the double green of Simon Munir and Isaac Suede. Clan Des Obeaux is only six and he is one from three this season. Last seen in December, this could be tough for him. Sub Lieutenant and Sizing Codelco, a course and distance winner, look up against it based on recent form.

Aintree Hurdle

The New One is a previous winner of this and comes into this off the back of a disappointing run in the Stayers’ Hurdle. He’s a previous winner of this race in 2014. He’s getting older but hasn’t lost his will to win and would be a fantastically emotional winner for the team. He battled out the finish to the International Hurdle out with My Tent Or Yours, who is a year older. That race was the only time we’ve seen the latter this season as he missed the Champion Hurdle. It is rumoured that the last race will be at Punchestown at the end of the month. He has a chance of winning this as Nicky’s horses tend to run well after a break. Based on recent form, SUPASUNDAE looks to be the horse who will get his head in front at the line. Second in the Stayers’, ten places ahead of The New One and six in front of L’Ami Serge, he is yet to be out of the top three this season. He won the Irish Champion Hurdle at Leaopardstown beating Faugheen and Jezki, who has won since. L’Ami Serge is yet to win this season but he is a French Champion Hurdle winner so he isn’t without a chance. Clyne, Cyrius Darius and Diakali are all last time out winners. Clyne won a handicap hurdle and would need a career best to take this. Cyrius Darius would be a very emotional winner as he was trained by the late Malcolm Jefferson and is now in training with his daughter Ruth. Diakali is an interesting runner. Last seen this time last year winning a hurdle race beating Jezki at Fairyhouse whilst in training with Willie Mullins, he is now at Gary Moore’s and this is his first run for them. He was a head and a nose behind The New One in this race when he won this in 2014. Izzo comes from France and looks up against it having finished fifth of seven in a Grade Three last time out.

Randox Health Foxhunters Open Hunters Chase

Balnaslow finished runner up in this last year. His only run this season was finishing seventh in the Foxhunters at Cheltenham. GRAND VISION was sixth in that race but seemed to struggle with the distance. It shouldn’t be a concern this time and this bold jumping grey will love the fences. The Cheltenham Foxhunters offers a good form line to this. On The Fringe finished ninth in that race and he won this race in 2015 and 2016. Age seems to be creeping up with him. Unioniste, Sir Jack Yeats and Warden Hill all finished down the field so that doesn’t do their chances much good. Wonderful Charm, Vincitore and Wells De Lune all failed to finish. Rouge Et Blanc has to be in the mood. Barakilla disappointed last time out after beating Wells De Lune by five lengths at Bangor. Guy Disney is the first amputee to ride in the race and he rides Gallery Exhibition who was third behind Wonderful Charm and Winged Crusader last time out.

Zut Media Red Rum Handicap Chase

Kerry Lee has a good shot at winning this in the form of GINO TRAIL. He hasn’t been out of the top three since finishing sixth in this last year. Last time out, this son of Perugino finished second in the Grand Annual at Cheltenham last time out with Theinval in fourth. The latter is a better off in the weights but he hasn’t won since then end of 2016. King’s Socks travelled well for a long way in a Grade Two but stayed on one pace. He runs off an unchanged mark and the drop in trip could benefit him. This race is usually run at a fast pace and that should suit him and Overtown Express. Fifth last time out over hurdles, he is reunited with Noel Fehily who he gets on with. Bun Doran has been very consistent so far this season. Tommy Silver looks a smart novice and isn’t without a chance. Wisty won three races over the summer and hasn’t been seen since October.

Goffs Nickel Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat Race

Six of these mares have only had one start and all but one of those, Darling Du Large, who was second on debut, won their first outing. DISSAVRIL won a decent contest at Market Rasen in January by two and a half lengths. She is a Balko five year old out of a Smadoun mare and the way she went about her win suggested there was more to come from her. Meep Meep, Cedar Valley, Kuragina and Zakharova all won mares’ races on debut. Of the more experienced in the field, Duhallow Gesture stands out. Antony Honeyball tends to do well with his mares and this King’s Theatre mare was last seen winning a Listed race at Huntingdon. Posh Trish comes from Paul Nicholls’ yard. She is having her fifth start and has won two of her four so far, one in the stewards room. Getaway Katie Mai brings the best from into this. She was a length and a half behind Champion Bumper winner Relegate last time out and has won her only other start. Buttermeupbuttercup looks a huge price for a horse who is two from three.

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