Aintree this year so far has not given me much return for my money backing singles, multiples etc, even though i managed to hit the Place-pot yesterday for a small fund of 15p which actually return 1.5k after the dividend pay out a whopping 9.9k. So i cannot go into the final day disheartened being a long way in-front from my smallest stake of £16.80.
The Grand National will see once more all the pensioners who never bet throughout the year come out of their retirement homes, bungalows to place a bet on the widely televised race of the year. It is later than normal scheduled for 5.15pm and I hope I manage to get my first winner since Comply or Die won this all those years ago. On to the first race which is a handicap hurdle that is run over the extended three miles, now the ground has not really favoured many entries in this, and with rain still forecast it is going to take some getting this trip on the day.
I will start with the favourite for this from the Philip Hobbs yard in ‘If No Doubt‘, he was very unlucky I thought in the Pertemps at Cheltenham when Johnson looked to of given him a peach of a ride to find trouble in running, he had every chance from the last when he was carried right by Arpege D’Alene in the closing stages, he re-opposes the Nicholls entry here with a 1lb pull for a head defeat and if those excursions has not taken it out of him he he is surely on a recovery mission. I always tend to look at anything that is coming from Ireland, who miss Cheltenham and had run within the past four weeks and Tony Martins ‘MYDOR‘ fits the profile exactly. He looks like a quirky sort and has not really found his form since winning last year at Leopardstown on soft ground.
He has been mixing it at both codes over the past twelve months, and with two good chase runs this season which included a runner up spot behind Sambremont at Fairyhouse two months ago, he diverted back to hurdles when finishing eighth at Punchestown, he made a terrible blunder under Denis O’Regan when he probably would of gone close, the third that day was Mal Dini who has franked that form by winning the Pertemps at Cheltenham.
He improved on that run when third at Fairyhouse last time out, beaten by three and three quarter lengths on the day, the trip looked to sharp over the 2m 6f , he steps back up to the three miles, would not want too much rain to get into the ground, but off a mark of 132, a featherweight and Paul Townend on board for the first time could show positives. Obvious dangers to the selection looks to come in Gordon Elliott’s ‘Eshtiaal‘ who was last seen having a spin around Dundalk when winning quiet cosily over the two mile trip.
The fact that Barry Geraghty has elected to ride the favourite over Eshtiaal is probably on retaining owner being J P McManus, but regardless Eshtiaal has been in a rich reign of form, Jack has ridden him on two previous occasions which resulted in a win at Down Royal last May, but I do feel even though he has a low weight and has won at Grade 1 level in the US, he could be slightly out of his depth here. Elliott’s other runner is ‘Squouateur‘ who is probably the most interesting of the two. Seventh in the Martin Pipe under Jack Kennedy he was probably running a distance that would see him out being far too short.
When winning at Fairyhouse back in February under Mark Walsh, he showed a gutsy determination to hold Coolaghknock Glebe by one and three quarters lengths when conceding 6lb in the weights. Third that day was Mal Dini, so really the Pertemps result at the Prestbury festival via Mal Dini seems to be the concentration yard stick.
If In Doubt comes off the back of a Cheltenham good run, but I am going to side with a double dutch in this in two Irish entries, Tony Martins Mydor and Gordon Elliott’s very interesting Squouateur who both look to have nice weights and reasonable marks.
MYDOR : 1pt each way @ 10/1 – Squouateur : 1pt each way @ 11/1