It’s nice to kick off Aintree 2014 with a bang with Silviniaco Conti, Warne and The New One scoring yesterday and Calipto and Claret Cloak being placed. I hope it hurt Paddy. You hear me? Boom!
But you’re are only as good as your last winner – so here goes for Friday’s action at Aintree.
We kick off with a Grade 2 novices’ hurdle and the one to be with here is JOSSES HILL (2pm). He ran a cracker at Cheltenham behind Vautour in the Supreme Novices Hurdle and may be better suited to the tight Aintree circuit. He should take all the beating.
The Grade 1 Novice Chase that follows is a a small field and RSA Chase winner O’FAOLAINS BOY (2.30pm) can win again. He jumps and stays really well and I got the feeling connections thought he wasn’t quite at his best at Cheltenham despite winning.
Solid Aintree form
The Melling Chase is the feature race of the day and I really like the look of WISHFUL THINKING (3.05pm) as an each-way selection – even though he’s 11 years young.
He’s yet to win a Grade 1 and it may indeed be wishful thinking that he manages to do it now. But the Richard Johnson-ridden selection was staying on well at Cheltenham behind Sire de Grugy in the Champion Chase. He has solid Aintree form in a race where Paddy is giving money back on the second and third-placed horses.
In the frame
The Topham Chase over the National fences has to be one of the best renewals in recent times with some classy types on show.
BIG FELLA THANKS (3.40pm) is not a young up-and-coming performer but he knows what it takes to tackle the Aintree fences. He wasn’t disgraced behind Tranquil Sea at Doncaster last time and if he can keep in touch in the early stages he has a big chance of slipping into the frame on the ratings.
The much improved SEEYOUATMIDNIGHT (4.15pm) is the one to stick with in the Grade 1 novices’ hurdle. He missed Cheltenham but is rated 155 and is a strong stayer. It would be a fairytale winner for Sandy Thomson and last year’s Grand National hero Ryan Mania.
So let’s hope day two is as good as day one in Liverpool. If it is, Paddy will be in bits. That’s how I like it. Yeeehaaa!