13:45 Big Buck’s Celebration Manifesto Novices’ Chase
Finian’s Oscar has done little to justify his short odds in the Manifesto at Aintree on Thursday, his win at Cheltenham in November proving something of a false dawn, and he once again found less than looked likely in the JLT at last month’s Festival.
This race is weaker than the JLT on paper, but features Arkle second Brain Power and the exuberant Cyrname, who has been aimed at this rather than Cheltenham, and Finian’s Oscar won’t be winning unless he can shrug aside the form he’s been showing over fences, when giving the impression he’s not totally in love with the game.
14:20 Doom Bar Anniversary 4-y-o Hurdle
Apple’s Shakira was sent off a surprisingly strong favourite for the Triumph Hurdle, but in truth she never looked like winning after taking a fierce hold through the race, and while a hood may help offset that tendency to race freely, it’s a worrying trait to pick up relatively late in the season, and suggests she may be going over the top after a campaign which may have taken more out of her that the margins of victory might suggest.
Stablemate We Have A Dream missed Cheltenham with a minor setback, and arguably has a more convincing profile in any case, while swerving the season’s first big spring festival is likely to prove a positive to his chances. Paul Nicholls often aims his better juveniles here as well, and Malaya comes in under the radar, but sure to be primed for a big run.
15:25 Betway Aintree Hurdle
My Tent Or Yours was put up as a place lay in the Champion Hurdle only to be withdrawn, and the old-timer doesn’t have the chance the ratings suggest here. Aside from the prospect of age catching him up (he was favoured by the weights and run of the race when winning the International Hurdle earlier in the season), he is made vulnerable by the combination of two and a half miles and ground likely to prove stamina sapping in the extreme.
I’m happy to take the risk of laying him short in the place market despite the lop-sided look of the market – if he’s not in contention late in the day, it would be no surprise to see him given an easy time of things.
- 13:45 – Lay Finian’s Oscar @ 5.0 or shorter
- 14:20 – Lay Apple’s Shakira @ 3.0 or shorter
- 15:25 – Lay My Tent Or Your to place @ 2.0 or shorter