TV TIPS (SATURDAY)
We start the day off with a race over the most famous fences in jumps racing as we tackle what is seen as the mini-national The Becher Chase.
Personally I have a decent enough record of tipping winners over this course, especially Mon Mome who won The National a few years back at 100/1. We wont see any runners at that sort of price but we’ll see what we can do to unearth a winner.
With twenty five runners going to post it is still very much a lottery but one horse that I really liked for The National back in April was the Philip Hobbs trained Chance Du Roy. The horse ran very creditably and jumped really well to finish sixth. With a few out it travelled like the winner but just couldn’t see out the trip. The horse has won this race before and with the way that Philip Hobbs’s horses are going at the moment I couldn’t look past it.
I’m going to go for another two selections in this because of the volume of runners.
Another selection is an Irish raider that also ran in The National back in April. Unfortunately the saddle slipped and it blew its chances. It still jumped quite well before being pulled up and is another that will be more at home over a shorter distance. Former Irish Grand National winner Lion Na Bernai, although at the age of twelve, seems very over priced at around 66/1.
My third and final selection comes from a yard that have trained two Welsh Grand National winners in recent years. The lesser known yard of Richard Lee has a good strike rate at Aintree and his runner Knock A Hand seems to have flown under the radar. The horse had an encouraging third placed finish first time out and should come on for that run. It has never fallen or unseated its rider so jumping shouldn’t be a great concern either. Obviously the horse needs to take to the fences but if it does should be there or thereabouts.
Of the remaining horses the likely dangers are three “old timers” Oscar Time loves it around this course and amateur jockey Sam Waley-Cohen knows the course better than any but I fear age may be catching up to it.
Burton Port has raced at the top table and never seems to run a bad race but with one of the bigger weights may be too much over the bigger obstacles.
David Pipe’s yard is having winners left right and centre and it’d be great to see The Package win a race like this but seems to have too many question marks against its name for me to tip it.
Chance Du Roy (E/W)
Lion Na Bearnai (E/W)
Knock A Hand (E/W)
Despite there only being four runners in the race it seems quite competitive with cases easily being made for any of them but despite that I just cannot look past the favourite.
Paul Nicholls has half of the field in this but the race has been Irish Saint’s target for some while. I was surprised to see the horse is only five years old as it seems to have been running big races for a while but at still such a young stage of its career has much more room for improvement. With a course and distance win to its name it just cannot be overlooked and has to be the one to win this.
Irish Saint (WIN)
A cracking looking and very open hurdle race is the second race live from Aintree with a mixture of untested horses and more proven campaigners.
I find it interesting to see Creepy return to hurdling after what was a very impressive chasing debut. It unshipped its rider last time out but its easy to forget this horse won a Neptunes Investment Novices Hurdle at Cheltenham and if it can recapture some of that form looks a great bet at double figured odds.
The favourite has to be respected however as Keith Dalglish is having his hurdlers doing really well and it’d be no great surprise if it was to win but I just cant see the value now that it’s up against better opposition.
Back for another from Sandown where the favourite Dormello Mo has to be respected as it represents top connections and has course and distance form to its name. If I had to be pressed it looks like the most likely winner but there’s enough in the race to say it could be overturned. With eight runners I have to look for a bit of each-way value and I’m plumping for one of the oldest horses in the race. Leviathan beat the fancied Sweet Deal last time out and there’s no reason why it can’t do so again. Venetia Williams loves horses that travel well on softer ground and it has conditions to suit today. It may not win today but at a price bigger than 5/1 it’s definitely worth backing for place money at least.
Leviathan (E/W if 5/1+)
Many people seem to be considering this a two horse race between Holywell and Ma Filleule. Holywell still races without blinkers and a third at Carlisle, although not disastrous still doesn’t exude great confidence for a horse that is so heavely fancied for a tilt at this years Cheltenham Gold Cup. Yes it has course and distance form but Jonjo’s horses are running below par and it has to carry top weight so is readily opposed.
This would presumably lead me to backing Nicky Henderson’s Ma Filleule but again a fifth when returning to the race course isn’t brilliant either. Of the two at the head of the market I’d rather be with the Henderson horse, especially with the difference in weights but yet again I’m opposing it.
As mentioned earlier I think Paul Nicholls could have an excellent day today and with a yard that have their horses in tip top form I’m going to go with a speculative punt on Sam Winner. The horse certainly knows how to get its head in front and did so on its seasonal debut. It should come on for that run and could cause an upset in this one.
Sam Winner (WIN)
Despite the great action from Aintree today the 15:00 from Sandown is by far the show piece race of the day. The Tingle Creek chase has had some superstar winners in the past and although it can be argued there is no superstars in this years renewal it still looks a top class race.
At the head of affairs is the Alan King trained Balder Success who is fancied to go well in The Queen Mother this year. The horse is undoubtedly talented and is the one to beat but having been beaten on both starts this year by Gods Own (who re-opposes again today) I couldn’t be overly confident especially as Richard Johnson rides the horse for the first time today.
With Gods Own beating the favourite twice already this year it’s another that has to come into the reckoning but despite it’s recent successes, I fear it may not be good enough to sit at the top table.
I hate to solely stick with one trainer but yet again I’m going with a Paul Nicholls horse Dodging Bullets. The horse can be very inconsistent but it should improve for its seasonal reappearance third placed finish and definitely has what it takes to take place money.
Although not too many runners I’m going to make another selection as a horse really catches my eye. The youngest horse in the race is French import Vukovar who is now trained by up and coming trainer Harry Fry. The horse will relish the soft conditions and runs well fresh. Experienced Irish jockey Davy Russell takes the ride and is one that may be overlooked.
Dodging Bullets (E/W)
Back to Aintree and back to another fantastic race over the big obstacles in The Grand Sefton.
I must confess there are four horses that I like in this race but alas will only select two.
The ones that didn’t make the cut are Paul Nicholls course and distance winner Rebel Rebellion quite simply as it isn’t quite as good a value as expected and Nicky Henderson’s Hunt Ball who hasn’t quite been the same horse since travelling to America. Although I like both their chances I’m going to look for bigger value elsewhere.
The two I am plumping for however are from lesser known yards in Cedre Bleu and King Of The Wolds.
Cedre Bleu is quite inconsistent but with the booking of Sam Waley-Cohen who, as mentioned earlier, knows just how to win around this course is a massive plus. Charlie Mann is doing quite well at the moment and the horse has a decent level of performances despite not winning. It has finished second in class one races at both Cheltenham and Ascot and its jumping is sound enough. It has raced around the course before and finished a respectable tenth placed finish and looks a good bet at 20/1.
King Of The Wolds comes from Malcolm Jefferson and unlike Cedre Bleu has never raced in a big race so needs a huge step up in class but as they say you can only beat what is put infront of you. It is very consistent after finishing in the top two in five of its eight chase starts and its jumping is very good. A lot of questions to answer about not just the level of ability but also around this course but with the smallest weight it certainly has a chance.
Cedre Bleu (E/W)
King Of The Wolds (E/W)
We finish todays TV Tips in Wales with the longest trip out of all the races with a whopping three miles and five and a half furlongs.
Last years winner There’s No Panic trys to retain its crown but with testing conditions today it seems a very difficult task and unlike most of my selections today I’m going against the Nicholls horse.
The current favourite is Kasbadali who is a decent horse but is way too short in the betting for a horse that hasn’t raced yet this year and fitness may be a concern, especially over such a long trip.
I’m therefore turning to the Venetia Williams trained Emperor’s Choice who has run creditibly in much better races than this and loves a stamina test. The ground will be of no concern and should improve for its second last time out.
Emperor’s Choice (WIN)
by Rory Paddock