The opening day of the Aintree Grand National festival was one for beaten Cheltenham horses to bounce back, as all of the first four winners of the meeting overcame disappointment during the Greatest Show on Turf to enter the winner’s enclosure.
Ruby Walsh, Sam Twiston-Davies and AP McCoy all got a winner under their belt early on and will be looking at the prospect of adding to those triumphs as the second day arrives.
Likewise, the tipsters at news.ladbrokes are looking to rake in some dough pre-Grand National, with our second foray into Lucky 15 tipping for the festival:
Ruby Walsh teams back up with regular employer Willie Mullins after riding for a variety of trainers on the first day and stands a fine chance of booting in a first winner of the festival for the County Carlow handler.
The Rich Ricci-owned six-year-old was an eye-catching eighth in a tightly-ran Coral Cup at Cheltenham last time out.
He will face none of the seven that beat him that day, but six horses that followed him home at Prestbury Park and is only raised one pound in the comparative weights for the effort.
There will be plenty of focus on Paul Nicholls’ Ladbroke World Hurdle runner up Saphir Du Rheu, who returns to chasing after losing out to Cole Harden in the Championship race last March.
However, there remain clear question marks over the six-year-old’s ability to handle the higher obstacles having failed to finish in two of the last three starts at the discipline.
Neil Mullholland’s entry is therefore taken to capitalise on any mistakes and has a lot to like about him. Chief among them are the booking of AP McCoy and wins over fences the last two outings.
An eight-race winless run isn’t enough to deter us on Nicky Henderson’s eight-year-old, who finished eighth in the Stable Plate at Cheltenham last time out.
It was a bad position in that effort that hampered Sam Waley-Cohen’s mount, rather than a lack of stamina and it is that finish, when staying on well, that encourages most here from a fair mark.
The Henderson yard has also claimed the last two renewals of this Topham Chase.
Since winning an Irish point-to-point in March, this five-year-old has been purchased for £260k and hacked up in his first two starts under rules for the JP McManus-Jonjo O’Neill-AP McCoy triad.
They are taken to continue their vast improvement of the Kempton and Newbury winner in his toughest test.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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