Aintree 2013 | Day One preview
2pm: 2m Anniversary 4yo Hurdle
Paul Nichoills’ Irish Saint wants a flat track and better ground and he gets both today. Fred Winter winner Flaxen Flare went up 14lbs for his Cheltenham win and has the blinkers on agin. I like Rolling Star who finished sixth behind Our Conor in the Triumph Hurdle and if Barry Geraghty holds onto him today he can use his turn of foot to good effect. He should get the ball rolling for the Nicky Henderson/Barry Geraghty team.
2.30: 3m 1f Grade 1 Betfred Bowl Chase
It’s very difficult to get away from Silviniaco Conti. A pal of mine watches the times of the races and he said Silviniaco Conti ran the last two miles of his Newbury win quicker than the 2m handicap hurdle on the same card – and he’d already gone a mile! He fell at Cheltenham but that shouldn’t have left a mark. First Lieutenant is very good but very hard to win with. Paul Nicholls and Ruby Walsh to win this.
3.05 2m 4f Grade 1 Aintree Hurdle
I think the bookmakers have got the wrong favourite here. If this was a handicap the dual winner Oscar Whiskey would be giving him 12lbs and I think Geraghty is wrong to desert him for Grandouet. Will that one have the pace for an extra half mile? I think AP McCoy could come in for a winning spare ride on Oscar Whisky who’s even an each-way price at 6/1.
3.40 2m 5f Fox Hunters Chase
A bit of a lottery this. The favourite Gwanako has been here three times and fallen each time and his trainer Paul Nicholls has a share in Bold Addition who has won his last two hunter chases. I fancy the Irish horse Warne who could be improving and gets a little bit of weight from some of the others. With Paddy Power paying each-way 1/4 the first 4 places he looks to have a decent shout.
4.15 2m Red Rum Handicap Chase
Kid Cassidy ran a blinder to be second at Cheltenham to Alderwood and is the top weight. But Paul Nicholls and Ruby Walsh team up with Rebel Rebellion and won this last year with Edgardo Sol. Astracad finished second in this last year and I think he’ll run a big race and I’ll be disappointed if he’s not in the first four.
4.50 2m 4f Grade 1 Novice Chase
A trappy contest and Captain Conan comes here on a retrieval mission. This track should suit him and 2m 4f won’t pose a problem. He’s a tentative selection with Carlito Brigante likely to act on the better ground and Fago a difficult horse to work out.
5.25 3m Grade 3 Silver Cross Handicap Hurdle
A wide-open handicap with a few of those in the money at Cheltenham looking to make amends. I don’t think Jetson will be suited by the flat track – even with the assistance of AP McCoy. But Ely Brown was sixth in that Pertempts Final but has done all his winning on a flat track and should love Aintree. Baby Shine has run well here before and Easter Day won a Listed contest at Huntingdon last time out.