So we’ve reached the final day of this three pronged meeting and hopefully by this time we have all landed a few winners and are playing with the bookmakers money. Let’s look at what’s in store on Grand National Day, except for the big one as that deserves a preview to itself – that can be read here: .
Gaskells Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3)
It’s certainly not uncommon to see plenty of runners from the Coral Cup and Pertemps Final pitch up here. From the latter race one that immediately catches my eye is Barney Dwan, he ran very well in second and will appreciate the likely decent ground.
Le Rocher skipped Cheltenham and would be interesting upped to 3 miles here, form of his most recent win is solid as the second and third have both won since. No Hassle Hoff also missed the festival and has very strong form tying in with the likes of Wholestone, Constantine Bay and The Worlds End. Dan Skelton’s yard is flying at the moment and off a mark of 134 he could run well.
Dadsintrouble and No Comment both finished midfield in the Martin Pipe and this step up in trip may bring out improvement, particularly for the former as he has won over 2m7f.
Mersey Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1)
Finian’s Oscar suffered a setback and unfortunately missed Cheltenham, but he is entered here and has looked mightily impressive this season in his three hurdle victories. If he takes his chance then he is the one to beat.
Neptune runners don’t have a bad record in this race and Messire Des Obeaux ran well to finish third at Cheltenham. He was gutsy in beating Ballyandy at Sandown and then won the Challow Hurdle comfortably before going down a neck to Keeper Hill giving away 8lbs. He is very consistent and will run his race.
Brio Conti won with consummate ease at Kempton last time and looks to be improving wth every run. Lough Derg Spirit should appreciate this step up in trip and Mount Mews has put in some cracking performances, most recently a 49 length heavy ground victory at Kelso and is one to watch out for. Beyond Conceit looked have got outpaced in the Supreme and would have a chance if lining up here.
Maghull Novices’ Chase (Grade 1)
Charbel was running a huge race in the Arkle before coming to grief two fences from home and is no doubt the one to beat. He is a model of consistency and his fifth in last years Supreme is top class form.
Cloudy Dream ran a cracker last month to finish second to Altior and it may have been tight for that runner up spot had Charbel not fallen. Ordinary World and Forest Bihan were behind that day and I would be interested in the latter as he finished ahead of Cloudy Dream at Doncaster so it’s a possibility that this return to a flatter track will be suit him.
Betway Handicap Chase (Listed)
Virak was second in this race last year and is 13lb lower now, that is a result of what has been a generally poor season and he would need to dramatically improve on what he has shown over the past 6 months to be involved.
Good ground certainly won’t bother Potters Legend who ran well at the festival after showing some good form behind Present Man and Royal Vacation. He was third in the Sefton Novices’ Hurdle at this meeting last year so he clearly likes the track and should go well.
Our Kaempfer won a class 2 handicap at Kempton easily in January and since found the RSA a bit too much. He is up 10lb from that win but could give another good account. Emerging Force has two wins to his name this season and wasn’t disgraced behind Royal Vacation last time.
Ryanair Stayers Liverpool Hurdle (Grade 1)
Unable to extend his winning streak to nine at Cheltenham, Unowhatimeanharry will have no Nichols Canyon to contend with here. There is a likely chance that he can get back to winning ways but it will be no easy task. JP McManus also has Yanworth as a possibility to take his chance, he massively flopped in the Champion Hurdle but this step up in trip should be right up his street.
Warren Greatrex stated that the extensive watering at the festival last month put paid to Cole Harden’s chances of regaining his Stayers Hurdle crown. If the ground at Aintree is genuinely good then he must have massive claims, he always runs his race going out in front. He’s filled the runner up spot twice in as many appearances at this meeting and should give another bold account.
Pinsent Masons Handicap Hurdle (Class 2)
Geordie Des Champs landed a hat-trick before being heavily gambled on at Newbury and Warwick, those gambles didn’t pay off though and he was very disappointing at the latter track. But he has had a break and the return to good ground will suit him.
Winner of the Imperial Cup, London Prize has made a smooth transition from the flat to hurdles and hasn’t been outside of the top three when staying on his feet. He beat Fixe Le Cap last time who was a good juvenile finishing eighth in the Fred Winter so that form is strong.
Multiculture could not have been more impressive for Phillip Hobbs in his last two starts, capturing 21 and 26 length victories over far inferior opposition. A return to good ground will suit Robinshill who gained a couple of front running victories early in the season and if he gets his own way here he could be tough to peg back.
Gaskells Handicap Hurdle (1.45 PM, Saturday 8th April): 1pt each way No Hassle Hoff (11/1 general) (if he gets in)
Betway Handicap Chase (3.40 PM, Saturday 8th April): 1pt each way Potters Legend (8/1 general)
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