The horse racing action continues to come at us thick and fast. With Cheltenham all done and dusted, our attentions turn to the three-day Aintree Grand National Meeting. The racing gets underway on Thursday with highlights such as the Aintree Bowl Chase, Aintree Hurdle, Aintree 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle and the Aintree Fox Hunters’ Chase. On Friday, the feature races include the Melling Chase and the Topham Handicap Chase, whilst on Saturday of course it’s all about the Grand National – the race that stops a nation!
Here at TSZ, we will provide you with trends for the above mentioned races, whilst also providing some analysis for a select few races each day too. So without further ado, let’s get down to business with day one of the meet.
Thursday 6th April
Day one provides top quality action with some big races on the card; our main focus will be on the Aintree Bowl Chase, whilst we shall also provide some trends for a few of the other races too, which include the 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle, Aintree Hurdle, and the Fox Hunters’ Chase.
Defi Du Seuil – who won the Triumph Hurdle – may be tough to beat in this race if he lines up. Divin Bere finished second behind Flying Tiger in Cheltenham, but the former is fancied more in the betting market despite this result.
Looking back at the horses that ran in the Cheltenham Festival seems to be the way to go here, whilst more specifically runners in the Cheltenham Gold cup have gone on to be successful in this race.
Horses expected to line up at the Aintree Bowl Chase who ran in the Gold Cup are Cue Card, Bristol De Mai, Tea for Two and Smad Place. Other horses in the race that ran at Cheltenham are Empire of Dirt and Aso.
With favourites not tending to win very often in the last 14 years, it's certainly worth looking at some of the other contenders; this would bring into play the previously mentioned Empire of Dirt and Bristol De Mai. Based on the trends we would have to give the nod to Empire of Dirt; the horse is likely to go off behind Cue Card in the betting, is aged 10 and ran at the Cheltenham Festival, finishing inside the top four. The horse did hold an entry for the Cheltenham Gold Cup but opted to run in the Ryanair Chase instead. The trends may give a positive to this horse but it’s worth noting that Empire of Dirt was well fancied at Cheltenham and disappointed, finishing behind Sub Lieutenant and Aso. Another point to consider is the fact that Cue Card won this race last year after a similar fall in the Gold Cup.
Old favourite Silviniaco Conti is another entrant in this race and bypassed the Cheltenham Festival in favour of this meet and seems to come alive at Aintree.
Next up we will shift our focus and look at the Aintree Hurdle:
Buveur D’Air looks the horse to beat in the Aintree Hurdle; he is six years old and was placed in the top four last time last out, winning the Champion Hurdle in superb fashion and seemingly scaring off many of his rivals for this race. A victory for Buveur D’Air however, will slightly contradict with some of our trends, which state that only three of the last 14 winners won their previous race. Having said that, four winners of the Champion Hurdle in the last ten years have then gone on to win this race, so it is certainly not beyond the realms of possibility.
This is the first of only three races to go over the Grand National fences during the meeting, and the quirk of the Fox Hunters’ Chase is that it is for the amateur jockeys – with the race being fondly known as the Grand National for the amateur jockeys. On the fringe is going for a third successive victory of this race; can the horse manage it? Check out our stats first before betting.
Friday 7th April
Day two – Ladies Day – continues to bring some excellent races with features of the day being the Melling Chase and Topham Handicap Chase.
With 12 out of the last 14 winners returning at 8-1 or shorter and 13 out of the last 14 winners racing at the preceding Cheltenham Festival, this would lead us to look at horses towards the top of the market that ran at Cheltenham. Contenders in this category are Fox Norton, God’s Own, Sub Lieutenant, and Uxizandre, whilst Josses Hill could be backed at around 8-1. All above mentioned horses fit the age profile of recent winners of this race; however, with nine out of the last 14 winners having finished in the top three on their last run, this leads us to look more favourably towards Fox Norton and Sub Lieutenant.
The slight curve ball in this race will be the presence of Kylemore Lough; the horse was excellent in 2016 and purposely bypassed Cheltenham to focus on this meeting.
This is likely to be the race on Friday that sees a winner return at a good price, whilst for you form followers out there, this may not be a race to your liking.
Saturday 8th April
On day three of the meet, it is all about the Grand National, where 40 runners and riders will have the nation cheering them on in this stamina sapping test.
Using the filter system from http://www.grand-national-guide.co.uk/grand-national-form.php we have managed to establish a few horses to consider; filters included were an official rating between 137-160, a weight between 10 stone and 10 stone 12 pounds, aged between nine and 11 and had raced within the last 56 days.
According to our trend filtering, the horses towards the top of the market to consider are Pleasant Company who missed Cheltenham to focus on this race, and Ucello Conti who was sixth over these fences last year. Cause of Causes was our leading contender before the horse’s weight was increased by a pound to 10 stone 13 pounds due to withdrawals, pushing it just over our parameters.
With the average starting price of winners in the last 20 years being just under 25-1 and the shortest price winner since the rule changes being 25-1, we would be naive to neglect horses further down the betting market. Just a Par will enjoy this stamina test and has a strong finish if still in contention late on. Saint Are finished second in this race a few years back and could be worth considering if the ground isn’t too soft. Pendra may be another to take a chance on; he is inconsistent but if it’s a good day the horse could surprise.
Let the racing commence!