Two big meetings this weekend at Aintree and Sandown and a host of competitive races to get stuck into. After our Hennessy selection Smad Place hacked up last weekend I’m up for it.
Let’s start with the Aintree card, and kick off at 1.40pm with the Becher Chase over the National fences. The one I’m going to cheer on is former National hero PINEAU DE RE , who is certainly on a workable mark for Richard Newland even though he’s not getting any younger. He should give us a run and jockey Will Kennedy is in great from.
Next up at Aintree is a Listed Chase at 2.15pm. This is a little cracker and if DON POLI is a Gold Cup contender he has to score here. He looked a cracker for Willie Mullins in the RSA last Mrch March could still be anything.
Finally at Aintree I’ve checked out the Grand Sefton at 3.20pm, another race over the National fences. The one I like is the ultra-tough DOUBLE ROSS who brings a bit of class to the line-up. He ran well for Nigel Twiston-Davies when a terrific fourth in the Paddy Power Gold Cup last time at Cheltenham and can build on that here.
There’s a cracking card at Sandown and I expect a big run from AS DE MEE in the Grade 1 Henry VII Novices’ Chase. This five-year-old has been a little frustrating, finishing second on both starts this season, including behind More of That at Cheltenham last time. However, that was a decent effort and this prize is up for grabs.
The two mile handicap hurdle 2.25pm sees Paul Nicholls try to double up with VICENZO MIO . Has clearly been hard to train but he’s chucked in off a mark of 129 for the champion trainer. The others have plenty of questions to answer too so he’s worth a chance.
The class event of the day is the Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown at 3.00pm. There should be a furious pace with both Simonsig and Irish raider Special Tiara in the field, but VIBRATO VALTAT could become the first grey to win the event since Desert Orchid in the 1980s.
The selection was a good winner at Exeter on the seasonal debut, and would have won that race even more easily but for a mistake at the last. He could top a great day for Paul Nicholls.
Finally, there’s the London National at Sandown at 3.35pm, and not surprisingly stamina is going to be the key. Former Welsh National hero MOUNTAINOUS is a real plodder on a going day for the Lee stable, and that might be just what we need. Have a few quid each-way.
So best of luck on a terrific weekend of action. I’m ready to take greying Paddy on again with a big grey for the second Saturday. You hear me Paddy? Yeeehaaa!