Aintree Festival Day 1 - Day of Champions
The Aintree Festival Day 1 gets underway with the first races 4 Grade 1 races.
The highlights of the day should be the 2.50 race (Aintree Bowl) and the 4.05 (Foxhunters Chase).
Racing gets underway at the Aintree Festival Day at 1.45pm with a Novice Chase over 2m 3f. Whilst only 6 runners go to post 5 of them appear to have great chances.
Nicky Henderson has Brain Power who is likely to be sent off favourite. He ran a great race in the Arkle at Cheltenham. He came in 2nd to the highly rated Footpad. However whenever he has had the pressure on him this season he has failed to deliver so far. Can the flatter Aintree track suit him?
I like the look of Paul Nicholl’s Cyrname. The gelding has gradually improved throughout the season and I can see him rounding off the season with his biggest prize to date. Another to note is the class horse in the field Colin Tizzard trained Finians Oscar. I fear this season has been hit and miss and this may be a race too far for him.
The 2.20pm race looks to be a 2 horse affair. Apples Shakira lost her undefeated record at Cheltenham last time out. This time out they are trying blinkers for the first time. It is also her first run away from Cheltenham. Her main rival in the race is stablemate We Have A Dream. I would expect Apples Shakira to bounce back from the disappointment of her first loss. Comparing the two stablemate the form of Apples Shakira just looks a little stronger as well and I think it comes down to how she handles blinkers and the course.
Aintree Festival Day 1 Might Bite to Bounce Back?
2.50pm sees the Aintree Bowl and the appearance of Cheltenham Gold Cup runner up Might Bite.
He suffered his first defeat since the Kauto Star Novices Chase at Kempton Park in December 2016 when falling when coming 2nd at Cheltenham. I put that defeat down purely down to the ground. Also to the fact that Native River just got 3m 2f better than him up that famous Cheltenham hill.
Here on the flatter Aintree track and no horse like Native River to run at that electric pace I can see nothing to worry Might Bite. Bristol De Mai started the season well but has tapered off as he did on the previous season.
I would be more concerned about Definitly Red. Whilst he ran no sort of race in the Gold Cup he was running on a the end. Perhaps this track will be more to his liking being more Northern!!
The final Grade 1 of the day takes place at 3.25pm.
Jessica Harrington sends over Supasundae from Ireland. He is in fantastic form. He beat Faugheen to win the Irish Champion Hurdle at the beginning of March. Then at Cheltenham he went down by 2l to Penhill in the Stayers Hurdle. That sort of form should be enough to keep him clear of the old stagers The New One & My Tent or Yours.
Aintree Festival Day 1 - Foxhunter Fancies
The Grand National fences are in use when 22 runners go to post at 4.05pm for the Foxhunters Chase.
Colin Tizzard currently has the favourite with Grand Vision. He was in great form going into Cheltenham but ran a poor race there. The question is how much has that taken out of him?
On The Fringe won this race in 2015 and 2016 but is now 13y old so I think this is beyond him and at 8/1 is far too short.
I like the look of Feargal O’Brien’s Barrakilla. He disappointed when a beaten odds on favourite last time out. However I am taking him to bounce back. If he settles into a jumping rhythm and steers clear of trouble he has the stamina to win this.
Another horse of note is Balnaslow who has one of the top amateur jockey Derek O’Connor on board. He comes here of the back of a positive run in the Cheltenham equivalent. But he is now meeting rivals on better terms.
Aintree Festival Day 1 Tip of the Day
My tip of the day is MIGHT BITE to win .
Generally available at 4/6 at most bookmakers