NAP OF THE DAY: Destrier, (1640 Aintree), 2pts win, 5/1:
This is a madcap 2m chase to be napping in, and is always run at headlong speed which will only be emphasised by the quicker than average going. That said, and with due respect to blog regulars On The Slopes and Zanza, there is no escaping the obvious plotting of Destrier. He may be half the price he was at the start of the week, but his could be a bandwagon worth jumping on. Good enough to be a close 3rd in a Grade 1 here 2 years ago, he has been in the doldrums off bigger weights on soft ground since, but the stable is flying now, the horse has plummeted to a great rating, the ground is crucially decent, the tongue tie is on, and the money is down. He looks a right plot for a yard that typically prepares a few just like this for big spring handicaps when the ground dries out.
RACE OF THE DAY: Jason The Militant, (1525 Aintree), 1pt win, 3/1:
A decent renewal of the Aintree Hurdle although arguably missing a true top class name. That is arguably because it is a mostly domestic field and Cheltenham served to show the woeful dearth of top talent in the UK. Buzz may not be the highest rated home challenger but it would be not surprise to see him run well. But there are two decent Irish contenders and they could prove to be too much for the home defence. We love Abacadabras, but he comes here off a fall and may not like the extra half mile. Jason The Militant is more of a scrapper than his smooth travelling country-mate. He has lost two narrow verdicts to Abacadabras this season. He may have preferred softer ground but he runs as though this step up could suit ideally and could be another big winner for the de Bromhead-Blackmore combo.
REST OF THE CARD:
Hitman, (1345 Aintree), 1pt win, 11/4: not much between these on ratings and so course and conditions are likely to determine the outcome. Some of these had tough races at Cheltenham, and of those Eldorado Allen makes most appeal at the odds, but Hitman missed that week to specifically come here. This flat track and decent ground look perfect for him and he can start a big hour or so for connections.
Adagio, (1420 Aintree), 1pt win, 5/4: disappointingly this is effectively a match. Monmiral is understandably just favourite as he was kept fresh for this and would normally be the pick, but in a week when UK horses were crushed, Adagio’s 2nd in the Triumph, within 4 lengths of Quilixios and ahead of Zanahiyr, and indeed 12l ahead of the next best UK runner was something of a standout. May lose out on freshness but he looks a tough nut and we don’t think Monmiral would have matched that effort.
Mister Fisher, (1450 Aintree), 1pt win, 15/2: plenty of old codgers in here and any one of them could have their day including course legend Tiger Roll. We prefer the youngest runner in Mister Fisher. There are doubts about the trip albeit he has won well around a stiff 20f at Cheltenham. Key to him is decent ground. He was just about the only horse still competing with the almighty runaway train that was Allaho in the Ryanair last time. That was despite a series of errors trying to hold position behind that brutal pace-setter. Old Native River will take these along at a more benign pace, and it may just allow this fella to raise his game.
Sametegal, (1605 Aintree), 1pt win, 11/2: Favourite Billaway was second again in the big Cheltenham race, beaten by a Will Biddick trained 12yo, and could be done here by a 12yo this time ridden by Biddick. Billaway is the class act but his jumping hasn’t always been his best attribute and these fences are the ultimate test. Sametegal has been around them twice to finish 3rd and 6th in two Sefton Chases, and that proven aptitude could be decisive.
Miss Lamb, (1715 Aintree), 0.5pts each way, 16/1: this bumper is dominated by unbeaten Eileendover and Cheltenham third Elle Est Belle. Both have obvious huge chances but are short enough. Miss Lamb chased Eileendover in vain at Market Rasen, and has a fair bit to find. But even if she performs to that exact level she may well make the frame again, and yet with improved weight for age terms and with the long straight here likely to suit she may in fact close that rival down which starts to make her look good value.
The Daily Yankee:
Hitman – Jason The Militant – Sametegal – Destrier
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