“He beat the right horses in the Savills Chase, but his win owed much to the enterprise of David Mullins, who made a big move to lead passing the stands with a circuit to run when the pace was modest, catching his rivals completely off guard.”
Rory Delargy has three lay bets for the opening day at Aintree.
13:45 Devenish Manifesto Novices’ Chase
La Bague Au Roi is a solid favourite and could arguably be nearer evens that the current price, but what is the weak link against her. I’m not entirely convinced by any of them, but while the step up in trip will suit Kalashnikov, he really hasn’t done enough this season to support at shortish odds, and there were no obvious excuses when he was slammed by Glen Forsa at Sandown.
He’d also prefer deeper ground than he will race on here, and may find a couple too good on balance.
14:20 Doom Bar Anniversary 4-y-o Juvenile Hurdle
The time he posted when winning the Triumph was decent enough, but the runner-up is a serial loser, and the Cheltenham race was marred by the loss of the odds-on favourite, so I don’t think it was a strong contest that Pentland Hills won, and I fancy that Supreme fourth Fakir D’Oudaries might have given him plenty to think about had he not been rerouted to a less suitable target. I expect the latter will jump off handy and attempt to make this a thorough test, which will ask questions of the Triumph winner, who blundered at the first at Cheltenham and lacks the selection’s fluidity over obstacles.
Fakir D’Oudaries will stay further, but he’s a bold jumper who can put his rivals under severe pressure if allowed to do so. A strong pace will also suit the strong-travelling Band of Outlaws, an impressive winner of the (Boodles) Fred Winter, and I reckon the Joseph O’Brien pincer movement will do for Nicky Henderson’s juvenile.
14:50 Betway Bowl Chase
According to the official handicapper, this lies between Bristol de Mai and Clan des Obeaux, and that’s a view shared by most private ratings too, and yet Kemboy is favourite. I do respect the chance of Willie’s Savills Chase winner, but he was a bigger price than Clan des Obeaux for the Gold Cup, and I don’t follow the logic that he has enhanced his claims by coming a cropper at the first fence. It’s true he was spared a hard race, but top-class chasers who have been looked after through the winter should have no problem taking in this contest three weeks after the Cheltenham contest, and I’d be disappointed if either of the high-rated candidates flopped on account of the proximity of the races, for all Bristol de Mai is best relatively fresh.
More importantly, the favourite is priced as he is on the basis of a dubious performance at Leopardstown in December.
Sure, he beat all the right horses in the Savills Chase, but his win owed a huge amount to the enterprise of his rider on the day, with David Mullins making a big move to lead passing the stands with a circuit to run when the pace was modest, and catching his rivals completely off guard. That was the ride of the season for me, and Kemboy is being overrated on the back of it.
- 1:45 Place Lay Kalashnikov @ 2.7 or shorter to win 10pts [max liability 17pts]
- 2:20 Lay Pentland Hills to win 8pts @ 3.25 or shorter [max liability 18pts]
- 2:50 Lay Kemboy to win 8pts @ 3.5 or shorter [max liability 20pts]