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Richard Hoiles: 6 selections for Aintree on Friday

11 Apr | BY Richard Hoiles | MIN READ TIME |
Richard Hoiles: 6 selections for Aintree on Friday

The horse racing broadcaster offers best bets from across the card on day two of the Grand National Festival at Aintree.

Friday’s card at Aintree looks to one of the best of recent seasons, packed full of competitive races, several of which bring together different strands of Festival form.

The opener at 13:45 is a case in point with Ultima winner Chianti Classico, Kim Muir winner Inothewayurthinkin, Brown Advisory third Giovinco and Turners fifth Iroko. Kim Bailey was unfortunate not to win this race a few years ago when Espoir De Romay came down at the second last and can gain compensation with CHIANTI CLASSICO / , who is very progressive and really impressed with the way he travelled into the race at Cheltenham.

A slight mistake at the last was the only disruption to an accurate metronomic round of jumping and he looks ready for a rise in class. It will not be straight forward as Inothewayurthinkin has a similar profile, but stamina looked his strong suit and Aintree is quite different to the New Course at Cheltenham, which is more galloping in nature than the Old Course which Chianti Classico scored over.

A big field of handicappers line up in the second race at 14:20 and among them is a stable tracker horse in MAKING HEADWAY / , who ran well in the Imperial Cup given his inexperience. Outpaced two out, he stuck to the task well and the step up in trip looks as if it will help. The application of cheekpieces wasn’t something I expected but he looks a leading player with the benefit of that experience under his belt.

Springwell Bay deserves respect back at 2m 4f, which has looked more of his trip, but lumping 12 stone in this ground will not be easy. West To The Bridge was a big eyecatcher last time at Bangor when given an awful lot to do. The fact that Harry Skelton has chosen Kateira, who has also been well backed, means she deserves respect but with the fancier prices gone for her Making Headway still appeals most.

As with the first race, more than one line of Festival form is on display in the 14:55 the Grade 1 Top Novices Hurdle. Supreme second and third Mystical Power and Firefox cross swords with Dawn Run winner Golden Ace in the line-up along with the horse that beat her in the Mares bumper here last season Dysart Enos, who was forced to miss that race when pulling out lame in the morning. Preference is for the boys, and even though Mystical Power may be suited by the flatter Aintree track, FIREFOX / looked unlucky on the day when messed around with going to the last and losing his position. He had travelled well to that point and can reverse the form this time around.

The Melling Chase at 15:30 is tricky to assess because of the Henderson query – see how Sir Gino and Shishkin perform on day one – and the step up in trip for Jonbon. PROTEKTORAT / will take plenty of beating as long as he is covered up early. He is a better horse when not making the running as he is so much easier to settle. Pic D’Orhy and Minella Drama are both confirmed front runners and if Protektorat can just take a lead of them for the first circuit he can confirm Cheltenham form with Envoi Allen, who has such a fine record at that track. It would also be a very handy winner for Dan Skelton in his attempt to land his maiden trainers Championship.

Despite a career-high mark after his victory in the Plate at the Festival, SHAKEM UP’ARRY / has the ideal ground conditions once again and his speed over the obstacles should be a big asset over these fences. Last year’s winner Bill Baxter looks to have been campaigned all season with a repeat bid in mind and it would be no surprise if he left his form behind in a race that has had its share of multiple winners, such as Ultragold and Always Waining. He is just 1lb higher than the win last year but has not been missed in the market and looks short enough. Life in the Park was hampered in the Plate and stuck on well to suggest this longer trip could suit, so he deserves respect.

The Grade 1 Sefton at 16:40 could see KYNTARA (EW) / expose what could be a weak running of the Albert Bartlett, where being close to the speed looked a big advantage. Ben Jones gave The Jukebox Man a great ride from the front, only being caught in the final strides, but surely won’t be allowed such a soft time again. Shanagh Bob has a lofty reputation but is priced on potential and so Mel Rowley’s eight-year-old, who has been mixing it with seasoned handicappers, looks worth supporting each-way.

He relishes deep ground, and even though his official rating is well below that of the Albert Bartlett principles my feeling is they should not be rated that high. Indeed, Croke Park, who blew out completely in the Lawlors at Naas, could well be the main danger as he just ran too badly to be true after impressing in his earlier forays over hurdles and is fresher than most having been off the course since then.

The finale just looks too tricky to get involved in. Go Dante did us a favour in the Imperial Cup and I am a big fan of his rider Dylan Johnston, but he has a couple of tough races and was well beaten in the race last year. Brucio got no further than the first when he was brought down at Kelso and is still unexposed in handicaps, while Densworth looked to love the heavy ground last time despite having had a couple of breathing operations.

A brilliant day’s racing to look forward to.


14:20 MAKING HEADWAY (Tracker horse) /
14:55 FIREFOX /
16:40 KYNTARA (EW) /

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Richard Hoiles

Richard Hoiles

Richard is a horse racing broadcaster and commentator who has been involved in the sport since 1992.

Richard Hoiles

Richard Hoiles

Richard is a horse racing broadcaster and commentator who has been involved in the sport since 1992.