It’s time for the last gasp of the Jumps season as the Housewife’s Choice, the Grand National, will be run at Aintree on Saturday. This is the greatest spectacle in horse racing as a field of 40 will go 4 ½ miles over the world’s most grueling fences. And I won’t forget my local readers as this weekend’s fare at Caymanas Park will include the season’s first Classics the 1000 and 2000 Guineas.


A truly once-in-a-lifetime experience is this unique Grand National Meeting which lasts three days beginning today, Thursday, April 2. The Aintree course is as unique as it is different from Cheltenham. It is a flat speed track with tight turns (especially on the Mildmay Course throughout and, on the Grand National Course, at “The Canal Turn”). There is as much emphasis on speed here as there is on stamina at Cheltenham and it pays to oppose those who were successful at Cheltenham regardless of how impressive. It’s difficult to have a hard race at Cheltenham and come here 3 weeks later and reproduce the form especially over such a different circuit. On the other hand, good prices can be had about those who failed at Cheltenham. The going is currently good on the Mildmay (Hurdle) Course and Good, good to soft in places, on the Grand National (Chase) Course.

So, here we go………………


The Meet kicks off with the John Smith’s Liverpool Hurdle (Grade 2; Class 1; 3m110y; 2:00 p.m. GMT). Registered as the “Long Distance Hurdle”, this race has a storied history and is where the World Hurdle winner, the impressive and progressive Big Bucks returns from his conquest at Cheltenham. Of course, he is all the rage but readers should know by now that I will be opposing him with MIGHTY MAN who won this race in 2007 before injury ruled him out for more than a year . His reappearance run, 5th in the World Hurdle keeping on all the way to the line, was enough of a reminder that he is more than capable of a repeat performance here.

The TOTESPORT BOWL CHASE (Grade 2; 3m1f; 3:10 p.m. GMT) is Aintree’s Gold Cup and Denman, reasonably fresh from his Cheltenham Gold Cup exertions where he was not given a hard race, will be very hard to beat here but all the value is gone and, at odds-on, I must oppose him with another Cheltenham flop stable companion STAR DE MOHAISON on whom Ruby Walsh has taken the ride. He will be very well suited by this flat, quick track.

In the RED RUM HANDICAP CHASE (Grade 3; 2m; 4:20 GMT) a race run in memory of that great multiple Grand National winner, a large field will go postwards but the race can be boiled down to the first two finishers who contested the 17f State of Dance Handicap at Doncaster on February 28. In that race Leslingtaylor (gave 1lb) beat Bambi De Lorme by 3 3/4 lengths. The second that day is now 4 lbs better off and returns to a course where he is somewhat of a specialist and where he won this very race 2 years ago. At Donny, he was only having his second run of the season and competes today off 133 fully 4 lbs below his last winning mark. Soup? Put down that fork, Jarhead, and pay attention. Bambi De Lorme is attractive on paper but is now 10 years old and thoroughly exposed having won just 4 times from 36 chase races. On the other hand LESLINGTAYLOR (NAP) is a “juicy” 7 yo who has won 3 of his 8 chase races lifetime and for whom Aintree will be the prescription for his very specific needs(quick, flat track, sound surface). He has won here before and the turn of foot that he showed at Doncaster should keep him ahead of anything the handicapper can do. He showed there that he was once again on the improve and he will be a very, very hard nut to crack today.

So, run, do not walk, to the betting windows and start investing on the chances of this very, very good thing. Get in early and often. Keep on betting until you hear a voice say “BET NO MORE!!”

More on the second and third day of the Meeting including the Grand National preview and the local Guineas. This year’s Grand National promises to be an easy puzzle to solve. More Anon.

Good Luck!



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