The weekend is here and I cannot wait to get stuck into some fantastic Jumps action. Over in Ireland we have the Ladbrokes Champion Chase, where Gerri Colombe makes his seasonal debut, but he is up against three very good chasers in Conflated, Ryanair winner Envoi Allen and Gold Cup winner Minella Indo so we are going to learn plenty from this four runner race.
As for this side of the water, we have a great card at Aintree and I am going to bring you three betting tips, but I am also going to preview the first two races as there are some very likeable types that are well-worth tuning in for.
I’m advising each way for all three of the bets I have put up for Saturday. The ground is going to be very soft, which makes for some unpredictable outcomes, but I think these three will give us a really good run for our money.
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Today, I am going for something a little different. Here, I am going to preview the first two races on the Aintree card, but I am not putting the horses I mention up as betting tips. As you know, I think it’s as much about following the progress of Jumps horses through the season as it is betting on them. So, these are three for your trackers at this stage.
The opener at Aintree is a race I am really looking forward to watching and there are some lovely sorts in this lineup. I’m not going to be having a bet here, but I did want to review this race nonetheless. I have taken a strong liking to two of the runners in the field: Minella Double and Flash in the Park.
Minella Double is the obvious place to start for Olly Murphy and Sean Bowen, and this is a very progressive type who will be hard to beat even under this penalty. He has just got better and better and I wouldn’t put anyone off tracking him for the season, he could turn out to be a good sort.
The other one that interests me here is Flash In The Park for Ben Pauling who is beautifully bred and cost a cool 350k at the sales. Ben Pauling has done particularly well with his new recruits this season and I would rather like to see Flash In The Park serve it up to Minella Double here, but either way, they could be two very smart horses for the future.
The next race on Aintree’s card has a few relatively exposed horses, but Giovinco has bags of potential and could be hard to beat here. He was very good over Hurdles and looked to be travelling extremely powerfully last time out before unseating Derek Fox at the third last.
He may well have gone on to win that race, we don’t know, but he was going along very nicely indeed and I think he’ll will take some stopping if he goes as well this time out. Giovinco is not a betting proposition here, but it’s another race well worth tuning in for into with the future in mind.
The horses mentioned below are not betting tips for Saturday, but all three are worth putting in your trackers and both races are definitely worth watching.
Next, we move on to the three races where I have selections that I think are worth an each way punt. As you’ll all know, I rarely go EW, but with such unpredictable weather and ground, I think it will pay to err on the side of caution here.
The Handicap Hurdle over the extended three miles is a very competitive race. Irish raider Icare Allen comes over for a crack at this, but off top weight, he is going to have to be tip-top condition. He gives weight all round here and I don’t know how much room for improvement he has off his mark. Iwilldoit, for the Sam Thomas team, could give this a good crack if he is ready to go first time out, whilst the veteran Risk and Roll will enjoy it here at Aintree too.
However, my preference here is Remastered, for the each way money. He is going to make a bold bid for this from the front and he is a very reliable jumper. He has Jack Tudor on board and he is a jockey I rate very highly indeed. He is already proven over these longer trips and we’ve seen how exuberant her can be - I think he has a huge chance this weekend.
We have another very good line up for the 2m Handicap Chase here and Master Chewy will be very tough to beat, after winning over course and distance last time out. But the 10lb hike he has received might be a little too much if the soft ground takes its toll.
So I think it’s worth giving Djelo a shot here. He runs for the Venetia Williams team, who are just starting to find some form and often come good around this time of the year. Venetia’s horses always seem to act much better on softer going and we could see Djelo become a very different proposition over fences.
The Grand Sefton is always a fantastic race to watch and it will take some winning this year, as there is likely to be plenty of pace up front. Gesskille is a nice horse, who got his head in front at Auteuil in September, but last season, he just didn’t seem to put in any effort. Although the Greenall and Guerreiro team are in fine form at the moment, I just don’t trust him in a finish.
Frero Banbou is another of Venetia’s runners and holds very strong claims. So let’s say, that at 11/1, I wouldn’t put anyone off having a punt on him in these conditions, but I have to side with one of my Horses to Follow for the season, which is Nassalam.
I’m slightly disappointed, as I was hoping we would see him in the Paddy Power at Cheltenham next week, but the Moore team have opted for Aintree instead. I think it’s because they can almost guarantee the soft surface, which he definitely needs. He ran a blinder in the Paddy Power last year when he was still very raw, so with another year behind him, I think he could be particularly well-handicapped here.
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