Tips and runners for every race at Aintree on Thursday including Betway Bowl
Irish runners on day one of Aintree’s Grand National meeting include the shortest-priced favourite on the racecard, Pied Piper. Protektorat heads the betting for the feature Betway Bowl
Gold Cup third Protektorat meets the last two winners of the Betway Bowl on day one of the Grand National meeting.
Dan Skelton’s chaser, the best of the British runners in the Cheltenham Festival feature, is up against Clan Des Obeaux and Kemboy. The pair have flourished in the Grade 1 Aintree contest, run over conventional fences at a distance of 3m 1f.
Clan Des Obeaux, trained by Paul Nicholls, took it in 2021 while Mullins’ Kemboy crossed the line in first place three years ago. Irish Gold Cup winner Conflated also lines up, along with Eldorado Allen, Royale Pagaille, Bristol De Mai, Nuts Well and Itchy Feet.
Champion Hurdle second and third Epatante and Zanahiyr clash in the Grade 1 Betway Aintree Hurdle. The duo are both upped to two and a half miles for the first time. Nicholls, targeting Aintree after some of his best horses missed Cheltenham, is doubly represented by Monmiral and McFabulous.
Race-by-race tips for Aintree day one
1.45 – SSS Super Alloys Manifesto Novices’ Chase (Grade 1)
1 Erne River
3 Millers Bank
4 Pic D’Orhy
5 The Widdow Maker
6 War Lord
7 Gin On Lime
TIPPING VERDICT: A back to form MILLERS BANK is the pick for the Placepot opener. After two non-completions, his confidence was restored with a length second to the reopposing Pic D’Orhy at Kempton.
He closed the winner down to the line and although he meets that rival on 5lb worse terms, there is more to come now he has brushed up his jumping. Pic D’Orhy has also not been foot perfect but he is a decent horse on his day and has the class to figure.
War Lord’s credible fourth in the Arkle stands him in good stead if this race does not come too quickly. The progressive Erne River is on an upward curve and has a live chance of making the top two.
2.20 – Jewson Anniversary 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle (Grade 1)
2 Impulsive One
3 Inca Prince
4 In The Air
5 Knight Salute
6 Petit Tonnerre
7 Pied Piper
8 Too Friendly
TIPPING VERDICT: Vauban is a horse to note for the future and PIED PIPER can pay him a compliment with victory in the second race of the day. The ex-Flat performer travelled strongly into the Triumph Hurdle before finding the winner’s turn of foot too deadly and he is back in calmer waters here.
His hurdling is very good and jockey Davy Russell should be able to save his mount’s pace for the run-in. Brazil defeated the highly-touted Gaelic Warrior at Cheltenham, aided by a couple of sketchy jumps from the favourite. He is rated 1lb inferior to the selection.
The pair have plenty in hand of the rest of the runners on the book, with Petit Tonnerre the most likely to bridge the gap.
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2.55 – Betway Bowl Chase (Grade 1)
1 Bristol De Mai
2 Clan Des Obeaux
4 Eldorado Allen
5 Itchy Feet
7 Nuts Well
9 Royale Pagaille
TIPPING VERDICT: Protektorat won by 25 lengths at this track in December, when the ground was soft. He has since taken his form to a new level by finishing third to A Plus Tard in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Pressed by Galvin up the run-in for that spot, he had a hard race and as he was kept very fresh by Dan Skelton for the test, there is a chance he might be a bit below that form on this occasion.
Clan Des Obeaux and KEMBOY have won the past few renewals, however their form has dipped this season. The first-named wears first-time blinkers while the Willie Mullins-trained runner missed Cheltenham so will be fresh.
He was an impressive nine length scorer when the pair met in the 2019 contest. A repeat of his third in the Savills Chase, close-up behind A Plus Tard, puts him right in the picture.
3.30 – Betway Aintree Hurdle (Grade 1)
2 Glory And Fortune
3 Guard Your Dreams
TIPPING VERDICT: Speedy sort Epatante was not helped by a mistake at the final flight when chasing home Honeysuckle in the Champion Hurdle. Spring ground helps her and she has the edge of the weights. However the trip is the question mark, as one of her riders previously suggested she was an out and out two-miler.
Of the principals, Zanahiyr looks more capable of seeing it out fully, as he has a trend of keeping on at the end of his races and there is no Honeysuckle in this line-up. He is the most likely winner.
Trip wise, the 2m 4f is ideal for MCFABULOUS, with cheekpieces added. Not at his best when beaten at odds on by Brewin’upastorm at Fontwell last season, he needed his reappearance this season before disappointing in the Cleeve. Some of Paul Nicholls’ horses were running below par and he is better than that – and is overpriced here for each-way backers.
4.05 –Randox Foxhunters’ Open Hunters’ Chase
2 Another Venture
3 Cat Tiger
4 Clondaw Westie
5 Complete Sizing
6 Cousin Pascal
7 Dashing Perk
8 Demain Des L’Aube
9 Down The Highway
10 Drumconnor Lad
12 Golden Tobouggan
15 Le Breuil
17 Michael’s Pick
18 Mighty Stowaway
19 Myth Buster
20 Pont Aven
21 Porlock Bay
22 Reikers Island
23 Stand Up And Fight
24 The Dellercheckout
TIPPING VERDICT: A typically competitive renewal of this race for amateur riders. David Maxwell has enjoyed a season to remember and CAT TIGER has what it takes to win. Third last year, he made a bad mistake at the fourth last fence, but was still beaten less than six lengths.
He is a consistent sort and one of the most proven horses in the line-up, with last year’s experience benefiting both horse and rider 12 months on.
The winner Cousin Pascal stayed out of trouble from the front and had a clear run until the Elbow, which he was guided around. Sent off at 66-1, he has proved that was no fluke on this season’s form. He does have to bounce back from an underwhelming effort ay Cheltenham though.
Latenightpass split the pair and has been in rude health this term in points, kept fresh for another bid. Dashing Perk got no further than the first fence, where he was hampered. It is interesting connections persevere and Dr Richard Newland is best known training 2014 Grand National winner Pineau De Re. The 11-year-old has run two bold races over regulation fences at the track and his prominent style of racing will come in handy.
4.40 – Close Brothers Red Rum Handicap Chase (Grade 3)
1 Sky Pirate
3 Before Midnight
4 Global Citizen
5 Bold Enough
6 Elixir De Nutz
8 Frero Banbou
9 Thyme White
10 Dancing On My Own
11 King D’Argent
12 Gaelik Coast
13 Shakem Up’Arry
14 Bun Doran
15 Gunsight Ridge
16 The Last Day
18 Espion Du Chenet
TIPPING VERDICT: Progressive GUNSIGHT RIDGE can land this Grade 3 heat. Olly Murphy’s charge likes to go forward and he boasts a good run behind subsequent Grade 1 Cheltenham Festival winner L’Homme Presse.
He got tired last time when racing a shade too enthusiastically and a more measured approach can come good. Bryony Frost’s Thyme White still has mileage from his handicap mark, having missed Cheltenham on account of the ground. He bumped into an improving young chaser most recently and a bigger field should see him in a better light.
Sky Pirate’s mark still looks stiff while Global Citizen is not guaranteed to reproduce his Cheltenham win, even though he is well handicapped on old form. Bold Enough is a longer priced horse to note, as he has been kept fresh for the spring and shapes as though he has more to give in handicaps.
5.15 – Goffs UK Nickel Coin Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat Race (Grade 2)
1 All The Glory
2 Ashroe Diamond
3 Fancy Stuff
7 Lady Excalibur
8 Law Ella
9 Leading Theatre
11 Magical Maggie
12 Malina Jamila
14 Nell’s Bells
15 River Of Joy
16 Roc Of Dundee
17 Walk In The Storm
18 Iliade Allen
20 Rosy Redrum
TIPPING VERDICT: Lady Excalibur has won at the course and is a must for the shortlist with Rachael Blackmore riding. The form of her most recent doesn’t look the strongest so there is a chance the mare could bump into a stronger rival.
Irish-trained runner Naughtiness appears promising on her easy Fairyhouse success, while Katiera went into the notebook after her Huntingdon performance. ASHROE DIAMOND’s close-up fourth in a Grade 2 at the Dublin Racing Festival would have helped on the experience front and she is expected to make a bold bid under Patrick Mullins.
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