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Aintree Festival Day One: Favourites have solid look about them

08 Apr | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
Aintree Festival Day One: Favourites have solid look about them

Could this be a repeat of Cheltenham Festival day one for punters?

Top class jumps action returns this week courtesy of the Aintree Grand National Festival and it kicks off with a cracking card featuring four Grade 1 races. The bookies took a huge beating on day one of the Cheltenham Festival and they may well get a feeling of déjà vu here.


Better ground should see Hargam get back on track


It’s no surprise to see Hargam the hot favourite for Aintree’s equivalent of the Triumph Hurdle. The ground was very much against him at Cheltenham and he ran extremely well to finish third against a couple of very talented mudlarks. He beat the second favourite for this race, Devilment, by 10 lengths in that race and there is no reason why that form should be reversed.


With a huge gap between that pair it would be no surprise if Devilment is pipped for second. Bristol De Mai has a decent level of overall form, is rated 7lbs superior to Devilment and holds Intense Tango on Kelso form so he is the selection for forecast punters.


Of those that ran in the Fred Winter on similar ground to this, Beuvreuil appeals most, but that trio all have plenty of improvement to find.


Holywell to continue upward curve in Aintree Bowl


It’s not difficult to give Silviniaco Conti  (11/4) aanother chance in the Aintree Bowl after he flopped at Cheltenham, that course simply isn’t his cup of tea. He wasn’t too impressive in this 12 months ago despite winning the race and he might just be vulnerable to an improver. Holywell at  7/4 llooks just that. The ground went against him at Cheltenham in the Gold Cup, but he still ran a remarkable race to finish 4th.

Holywell is a bit of a Cheltenham specialist, but he has strong form at this venue too. He was extremely impressive here last year when beating Don Cossack by 10 lengths and on two pieces of form last spring he comfortably holds Ma Filleule  (7/2).


Arctic to Fire over longer Aintree trip


The test that the Aintree Hurdle provides is very different from that of the Champion Hurdle so the rematch between Arctic Fire (7/4) and Jezki (11/4), 2nd and 4th in that race, will make interesting viewing. Despite starting that race at three times the price of Jezki, Arctic Fire was very much entitled to beat Jezki on their meetings in Ireland this season.

Jezki is proven over this extra half mile but it should suit Arctic Fire. It is interesting that Willie Mullins said after Cheltenham that he still didn’t have Arctic Fire fully fit. It’s also worth remembering that Jezki doesn’t have the best record under Tony McCoy so it is Arctic Fire that gets the nod.

Rock On Ruby (3/1) missed Cheltenham after scoping dirty and that course probably suits Harry Fry’s runner better, he’s never won here in 3 runs and has been beaten in this race twice so looks one to take on at the age of 10.

Blue Heron (12/1) may well outrun his odds. He’s been saved for this race, ran a career best last time out and looks perfectly suited by this trip and ground. He has plenty to find still but is still lightly raced.