Day 1 Of Aintree Is The Only Jumps Fixture with Four Grade 1 Races
The Grand National meeting at Aintree is now about much more than one race and the three day fixture begins today with four Grade 1 races. It is the only day in the jumps calander with so many races at the highest level. The local racing fans love the Thursday of the meeting because it is not as manic as Ladies Day or as packed as Grand National Day but the racing could not be better. Living just up the road makes it perfect for me and it’s dry and bright a few miles from the track.
The action begins with a novices’ chase over two miles and four furlongs (1.45) and an opportunity for a horse that did not run at Cheltenham. There is a three week gap between the spring festivals this year which makes running at both a challenge. Glen Forsa fell at the fourth fence in the Arkle so hardly had a run but LA BAGUE AU ROI bypassed Cheltenham and can win this race at 13/8 with Coral.
The second race on the card is the second most important of the season for horses aged four after the Triumph Hurdle. The two miles and one furlong contest at 2.20 is sometimes one in which Cheltenham form does not stand up. Pentland Hills won the Triumph last month and has the highest rating but BAND OF OUTLAWS won the consolation handicap hurdle and is the tip at 13/8 with bet365.
The Betway Bowl over three miles and one furlong at 2.50 is Aintree’s Gold Cup and the form often does translate. Kemboy was a first fence faller in the Gold Cup and has something to find on ratings. Clan Des Obeaux was fifth at Cheltenham on unsuitable ground but conditions will be ideal today. However, the horse has been beaten three times by BRISTOL DE MAI who can prevail at 7/2 with Coral
The Aintree Hurdle (3.25) over two miles and four furlongs is as good as the Champion Hurdle and arguably the best race over the smaller obstacles this season. Melon and Faugheen, both trained by Willie Mullins, ran well at Cheltenham without winning and must be respected. However, on past form and ratings you cannot ignore dual Champion Hurdle winner BUVEUR D’AIR at 10/11 with bet365.