Here’s Aintree! The jumps are back! Wait, what? Wasn’t the flat just back? Well, yes…. and no. It’s one of those strange anomalies of the racing year where the start of the flat overlaps with the end of the jumps season.
It’s kinda strange, confuses me every year anew – the Lincon’s run, the first good flat horses are out, yet here we are gearing up for the Grand National?!
Whatever. Monday nights at Windsor are only four sleeps away. Until then we have one last hooray for hurdles and fences.
Admittedly, due to anomaly mentioned above, I clearly am not as excited about the Aintree Festival as I’ve been for Cheltenham. My gut feeling is I’m not the only one who shares the same sentiment.
I keep my betting to a bare minimum but as ever will try i vein to find the winner of the National Lottery….. that’s for Saturday though. Only one race I care about today at Aintree – that’s the “poor cousin’s Gold Cup” – the Bowl Chase.
2.50 Aintree: Bowl Chase, 3m 1f
Cue Card greets from the top of the betting. The old boy still goes strongly as he proved this season. Question: what did yet another fall in the Cheltenham Gold Cup did to his psyche?
Empire Of Dirt flies the flag for Ireland. Slightly disappointing in the Rynair Chase, but he’ll love this trip and track and is my idea of the most likely winner.
He’s not my idea of a value bet, though. That’s at given prices clearly Bristol De Mai. Of course I have to say this, because I fancied this lad for the Gold Cup quite a bit too. He’s got some issues, jumping is sketchy, however he posses an abundance of ability and is still only a six year old.
The track will suit him, he did not have a n overly hard season and may be the one who has still something left at this stage of the year.
5pts win – Bristol De Mai @ 6/1 Bet365
6.45 Chelmsford: 1m Handicap, 3yo
Andrew Balding’s Drochaid jumps out here. He’s a big price – too big in my eyes. He is nicely bred and was progressive as a juvenile, won a good maiden at the fourth time of asking, with subsequent winners behind in second and third.
He’s bound to improve as a three year old and returns to the track after a seasonal break. He drops into a class 4 Handicap on his AW debut with a mark that might underestimate him.
Mastercraftsman offspring tend to perform well at Chelmsford and the Balding yard is flying high in the last handful of weeks. It has to be said Drochaid encounters a strong favourite with Hannon’s Mustarrid here and this might be only a pipe opener, but at 16’s I’m inclined to have a small bet.
5pts win – Drochaid @ 16/1 Skybet