Another terrible day and the first time I have had two blank days at a major Fesitval to add to the frustration Dynaste was going to be a three point win bet until the forecast price put us off. He then drifted out to 5/2+ and won easily. Both McManus horses At Fishers Cross and My Tent or Yours were extremely impressive and Sprinter Sacre won well despite a good run from Cue Card.

Some services would increase stakes to try and claw back losses but I will stick with our principles and hope decent value horses will prevail. Hopefully all horses and jockeys will come back safe tomorrow in all the races.

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John Smith's Mersey Novices' Hurdle Grade 2 Class 1, 1.45 Aintree

Selections:

Up and Go 2 points to win at betfair odds or 2/1 Paddy Power

Race Analysis:

Dodging Bullets and Utopie des Bordes both disappointed at Cheltenham and as we have seen this week those horses have disappointed here too.  Utopie des Bordes was under consideration as she stays and has won a Grade 1 in France, but is maybe exposed now.  Dodging Bullets drops in class and goes up in trip and if he manages to recover his early season form could be a threat.  We have gone for Up and Go which would have been unbeaten this season if he hadn’t fallen in and equivalent race.  He is likely to race from the front and as he stays will dry and draw out the pace from the others.  He has more scope to improve and Nick watched him impress at Sandown last time when he could have won by 20 lengths but was eased down.

John Smith's Maghull Novices' Chase Grade 1 Class 1, 2.15 Aintree

Selections:

Overturn 2 points win at Betfair odds or 9/4 Totesport and Ladbrokes

Race Analysis:

Alderwood is the surprising favourite here and I will be very surprised to see him win despite Tony McCoy having a good day today.  Baily Green finished ahead of Overturn at Cheltenham but Overturn got bogged down in the ground and was eased when beaten by Solwit.  Sire de Grugy has bags of promise but he probably needs further than two miles and will improve next season over further.  Overturn will be suited by the better ground and tighter track here and I would expect him to go off in front and say catch me if you can.  he can provide Donald McCain with a quickfire double.

John Smith's Liverpool Hurdle Grade 1 Class 1, 2.50 Aintree

Selections:

Solwhit 2 points win at Betfair odds or 5/2 William Hill

Race Analysis:

This race was the longest debate Nick and I had about any of the races at this meeting.  We were debating around which of the young pretenders could threaten Solwhit and I have concluded at the end of that if I could get 2/1 on Solwhit he would remain a bet.  Both African Gold and Medinas came in for consideration as both are improving and African Gold’s form is especially impressive having finished second to At Fishers Cross at Cheltenham.  Grands Crus is a potential danger as he returns to hurdling where he excelled after a disappointing season; however not one I cna trust presently.  Celestial Halo is not good enough to beat Solwhit and although some have voiced doubts due to the quicker going I think Solwhit will revel on the flat track with a tighter oval.

John Smith's Handicap Chase Listed, 3.25 Aintree

Selections:

Opening Batsman 2 points win at Betfair odds or 8/1 various and Duke of Lucca 2 points win at Betfair odds or 12/1 various

Race Analysis:

Battle Group is the likely market leader and he won here over hurdles on Thursday, but this is over fences which may prove beyond him.  Planet of Sound is sure to put in a good round of jumping which may deliver a place as his trainer does well in this race.  Cantlow is very high in the weights based upon what he has achieved to date but has potential to improve and is dangerous.  Loch Ba unseated at Cheltenham but prior to that had been very impressive on his three runs this season.  The key for me is a race at Cheltenham where Duke of Locca lost by 8 lengths to Opening Batsman and now has an 8 pounds pull at the weights.  I don’t think that will be enough as Opening Batsman was very impressive and he can go on to greater things next season.  Both horses if replicating that form will be in the shake up at decent odds.

John Smith's Grand National Handicap Chase Grade 3 Class 1, 4.15 Aintree

Selections:

Sunnyhillboy 1 point each way Betfair odds or 25/1 Bet365 and Seabass 1 point each way advised ante post 16/1

Race Analysis:

I am not going to do a big write up on the National as countless columns have been written over the past weeks.  I have listed below what became my shortlist for this years race:

Seabass – backed ante post 16/1

Chicago Grey – not convinced by his jumping and too short now

On His Own – very good chance to win this but too short now

Treacle – I backed him ew but the ground is probably too quick

Becauseicouldntsee – interesting at big odds but don’t trust his jumping

Sunnyhillboy – became interesting when AP McCoy picked Colbert Station as his odds became playable

 

John Smith's Handicap Hurdle (Conditional Jockeys) Class 2, 5.10 Aintree

Selections:

Jumps Road 1 point win at Betfair odds or 16/1 StanJames and Skybet and Smalib Molterg 1 point win at Betfair odds or 25/1 PaddyPower and Coral

Race Analysis:

Ranjaan is being heavily backed and is certainly a possibility having not discraced himself in higher grades than this.  Harry Derham is a decent jockey and can get Ranjaan into contention.  Prince of Fire would have interested me at a bigger price and he has place potential as Charlie Swan doesn’t tend to send on eover from Ireland without a chance.  Cockney Sparrow probably lacks the experience for this if not the class and his second behind L’Unique now reads well.  Shotavodka has won three back to back and that makes him vulnerable at the weights.  I have relied on two further down the weights but both appear to have been prepared specifically for this and both have excellent conditionals on board namely Brendan Powell and Ian Popham.  Both cope with big occassions such as this and Jumps Road and Smalib Molterg are excellent value; however due to the nature of this race I have left stakes small.

Hopefully we will be back in the black before this race as I think we have very strong selections for all these races.