Aintree – Day 1

It always surprises me how many people think the Grand National meeting is just one race on a Saturday afternoon. Somebody actually said to me the other day that they can’t wait to see Sprinter Sacre in the National! We have three days consisting of some top grade one action and Thursday is the best of them.

I’m making the trip up to Liverpool for this so I’m hoping like Cheltenham I can come back having made another profit.

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With Aintree coming only three weeks after Cheltenham I’m inclined to look for horses that missed the festival or didn’t have particularly hard races. For that reason I’m against Rolling Star here. I am instead going for a horse he beat at Cheltenham back in January.

Irish Saint has shown his best form in this country on flat tracks with both his wins coming at Kempton. With him missing the festival and coming straight here I think he’s the value pick in what looks to be a head to head between the top two in the market.

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Back Irish Saint at 4.30 – Betfair
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This race is all about Silviniaco Conti. Many fancied him for The Gold Cup, I wasn’t one of those people. That race was only 20 days ago and I feel that a strongly run race on soft ground isn’t a great prep run for this. Especially after falling last time out.

I back First Lieutenant in The Ryanair and he finished a distant 2nd to Cue Card. Cue Card is a classy horse  and when it goes right for him he’s very impressive. I don’t think that The Ryanair would have taken as much out of First Lieutenant as The Gold Cup took out of Silviniaco Conti. If that proves correct then First Lieutenant should win this race.

Another factor to consider is the horses coming here fresh. Quito De La Roque is a course and distance winner, comes here fresh and off the back of a winning run.

With all that in mind I think it’s worth taking on the favourite with the Gigginstown pair.

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Back First Lieutenant at 4.60 for 72.29% of Total Stake – Betfair
Back Quito De La Roque at 12.0 for 27.71% of Total Stake – Betfair
If one of them win it pays out at 3.32
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This has the potential to be the race of the season so it’s difficult to know where to start, so I’m going through them in racecard order;

Countrywide Flame
Consistent horse and on ratings is the second best in the race, however it’s now been involved in three tough races on the trot and I feel the Champion Hurdle will take its toll.
Grandouet
This horse travels well and has so much promise but can’t be trusted.
Oscar Whiskey
Has won this race the last two year, beating Thousand Stars by a neck each time. However I think that the World Hurdle after a gruelling 3m on heavy in January will have taken it’s toll here.
Prospect Wells
Not good enough on all known form.
Raya Star
Already beaten by Zarkandar and Oscar Whiskey this season so hard see form being reversed and was also very disappointing last time out.
Saphir River 
No Chance
The New One
This horse is class and he proved it at Cheltenham. However I don’t want to be backing at the prices. He’s already had five races this season and for a novice that may show.
Thousand Stars
Beaten a neck in this for the last two years and this race has been the aim all season. He skipped the festival with this in mind. Good ground seems to bring his best performances and he hasn’t had that in Ireland this year. I think he’ll come here and put in his best performance.
Zarkandar
Another Nicholls who was tipped by many at The Festival, however I just couldn’t see it on form lines.I’m not even sure he gets this trip. He weakened at the end of this years Champion Hurdle and fell in this race last year when put under pressure.

With the form in mind I and a fresh horse I just can’t see why Thousand stars is that price.

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Back Thousand Stars at 13.5 – Betfair
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Captain Conan was travelling like a dream at Cheltenham but completely faded up this hill. This flatter track should bring the best out of him. He was 2nd to Darlan here last year but finished seven lengths clear of the third. If Cheltenham didn’t take to much out of him and it was just the hill that got to him last time then he could make a mockery of these odds.

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Back Captain Conan at 2.70 – Betfair
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