The second day of the Grand National meeting at Aintree feature no less than four Grade 1 contests and here is our race-by-race guide to Friday’s action.
13:40 Alder Hey Children’s Charity Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3)
A wide open contest to begin proceedings on Friday and it might be worth looking at Ice Cold Soul at around 10/1. Noel Meade’s charge skipped Cheltenham so he comes here a fresh horse and has looked progressive in winning a pair of valuable Leopardstown handicaps this season. Dan Skelton’s North Hill Harvey, at 11/1, is also greatly respected and may now be primed having tired in the County Hurdle at Cheltenham. Sky Khan, fourth in this last year off 10lb higher, is also worth noting at 14/1.
14:10 Crabbie’s Top Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1)
David Pipe’s Moon Racer is very much one to note at 4/1 now dropping back into novice company. It was perhaps a bridge too far for him attempting last month’s Champion Hurdle but he remains a classy individual. This is a tough assignment, however, and Mount Mews is respected at 11/4 having won three of four runs over hurdles for Brian Ellison. At 15/8, Nicky Henderson’s River Wylde completes a fascinating trio at the top of market after his third in the Supreme at Cheltenham.
14:40 Betway Mildmay Novices’ Chase (Grade 1)
A simply fascinating rematch between the first two in last month’s dramatic RSA Chase, where Might Bite had the race won, tossed it way, then grabbed it back again from stablemate Whisper in an incredible finish. The former has rare depths of talent but remains quirky and is 4/7 to confirm those placings with Davy Russell and Whisper (11/4) to turn things around. The other three all face arduous tasks in this race but at 25/1 Calett Mad may fare better dropped back in trip having failed see out four-miles last time out.
15:25 JLT Melling Chase (Grade 1)
Sub Lieutenant looks s decent prospect at 3/1 to gain some compensation after finishing runner-up on his previous two outings. Henry De Bromhead’s charge was behind Un De Sceaux in the Ryanair last month, having previously chased home subsequent Gold Cup hero Sizing John over in Ireland. He looks progressive and should go very close in this. God’s Own won this contest a year ago and shouldn’t be discounted at 10/3 on decent ground while Alan King’s Uxizandre at 15/2 may have a chance to deploy his front-running tactics with no Un De Sceaux in the line-up this time.
16:05 Randox Health Topham Handicap Chase (Grade 3)
Last year’s winner Eastlake is a regular at this fixture and should give his running at 14/1 while it is surely notable that Nicky Henderson’s aims the useful O O Seven at a race of this nature and he is an intriguing contender at 18/1. Clarcam, winner of the Melling Chase a year ago, is 25/1 for Gordon Elliott and he relishes this track, making him one to keep onside at a juicy price in a race where some luck in running is a pre-requisite.
16:40 Doom Bar Sefton Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1)
Yet another Grade 1 event on the card and this one has an open feel to it. The Worlds End looks set to head the market at around 5/2 and he ought to be a big player providing last month’s fall in the Albert Bartlett has not dented his confidence. Keeper Hill is 16/1 for Warren Greatrex and can make a first of this after running seventh in the Neptune while Debece comes here off an easy handicap success at Newbury last month and, at 12/1, should relish this track where he has run well before.
17:15 Weatherbys Private Bank Standard Open NH Flat Race (Grade 2)
The concluding bumper on day two is a tricky affair with many of the runners having clear potential to be much better than they’ve shown already. Black Op is a 7/2 chance and his connections are said to hold him in the highest regard after he was an easy winner on rules bow at Doncaster. There are plenty dangers lurking, however, and the unbeaten If The Cap Fits at 5/1 for Dan and Harry Skelton may be one of the more obvious ones.
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