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I’ve been waiting for this race so that I can back ARZAL for a while. He skipped Cheltenham as this has been the long term target. He has a formline that ties in with Vaniteux, who I think would’ve beaten Sizing John in The Arkle if he’d stood up.
I have question marks over L’ami Serge’s ability to stay as he cruised into the JLT but then found nothing off the bridal. Admittedly that was on an undulating track and over further, so todays conditions will help him but I just don’t trust him. Garde La Victoire was my JLT horse and he fell too far out to say wether or not he would have been involved in the finish, so it would be no surprise to see him win today.
In a competitive race I like the price of Arzal, who comes here fresh and arguably has the best formline on the Lightning Novices’ Chase at Doncaster, back in January. Vaniteux, Fox Norton, Shaneshill and Bouvreuil all came out at Cheltenham and performed with credit.
BACK ARZAL AT 7.00 (Paddy Power)
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IVANOVICH GORBATOV fought off my selection Apple’s Jade when winning The Triumph Hurdle last month. I wasn’t sure which of those two I was going to pick today, due to the ground being more to the liking of Apple’s Jade, however I’ve sided with the JP McManus horse. He was impressive on his racecourse debut, when winning on heavy ground at Leapardstown, therefore I don’t think the fresh ground at Aintree should be an issue for him. Every horse is entitled to a bad run and that’s what I’m putting his only defeat down to.
Footpad finished third in The Triumph, and has now finished behind Apple’s Jade twice and I see no reason for him to reverse those placing’s on what will be his seventh start.
Diego Du Charmil was a fortunate winner of the Fred Winter, however he looked like he was going to finish third bar two fallers at the last fence. He also stopped on the run-in and was nearly caught. He’ll need to step up on that form, now that he doesn’t have a lenient handicap mark.
Ivanovich Gorbatrov is a deserving favourite and should probably be a shade of odds-on, which means I’m happy to take the odds-against.
BACK IVANOVIC GORBATOV AT 2.38 (Paddy Power)
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The Gold Cup second, third and fifth clash, with Gold Cup faller and King George winner Cue Card.
I started looking at this race in the same way I looked at The Gold Cup, Don Poli is too slow. He should be running in The National on Saturday in my opinion, therefore against the front two in the market I can’t be backing him.
Cue Card has been fantastic this season, and he was travelling strongly at Cheltenham before falling three out. We never go to see wether or not he stayed the trip, but my feelings on him are the same as they were on that Friday morning. He wouldn’t have finished ahead of DJAKADAM, let alone Don Cossack.
Djakadam has now finished second in two Gold Cups, but has also shown he has the speed to win over two and a half miles. This race, over three miles one furlong, looks perfect for him.
BACK DJAKADAM AT 3.50 (General)
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This is basically a re-run of The Champion Hurdle, but over ANNIE POWER‘S optimum trip and I don’t see how she can be beaten, bar falling.
- Court Minstrel isn’t good enough
- Camping Ground needs it heavy to show his best form
- My Tent Or Yours is stepping up in trip and is also vulnerable to the ‘bounce’ factor
- The New One wasn’t good enough at Cheltenham and even though I think he’ll improve for the step up in trip, I don’t see him being good enough today.
- Nichols Canyon will benefit from the step up, but he couldn’t finish ahead of My Tent Of Your at Cheltenham so will need to improve massively and hope that Annie Power under performs.
As I said above this is the perfect condition for Annie Power and i’m expecting her to show improvement from her Cheltenham victory, whcih was only her second start of the season. I think she should be around the 1.30 mark at he most.
BACK ANNIE POWER AT 1.50 (General)