Fresh from securing a second Cheltenham Festival victory, Holywell returns to Aintree bidding for a fourth successive win in this year’s hotly-anticipated Mildmay Novices’ Chase.
The seven-year-old’s recent success in the Bayliss & Harding Affordable Luxury Handicap Chase at Prestbury Park completed an impressive hat-trick for a charge who has been feted for upsetting the odds.
But there’s still an air of the underdog about O’Neill’s gutsy charge with RSA Chase winner O’Faolains Boy the market leader with 5/2 offered by Ladbrokes.
Trainer Rebecca Curtis will hope her market fancy can become only the second ever winner for a female saddler with Sue Smith’s Simply Supreme obliging back in 2004.
More pertinently, six of the last 10 Mildmay winners, including the previous four, had all finished either first or second in a Grade 1 chase before.
O’Faolain’s Boy’s recent success ticks that box and on form he’s likely to be the one to beat.
But don’t let that detract from the other challengers, including Holywell, who still have plenty in their favour.
Eight out of the last 10 victors had won at least two chases, another positive for Holywell and also when considering the chances of 3/1 shot Wonderful Charm.
The Paul Nicholls-trained charge is five-from-three over fences and looks more than capable of recovering from defeats in each of his last two outings, both at Cheltenham.
However, the fact that only two of the last 10 winners had finished outside the first four in their previously completed chase start is a negative and one that also potentially rules out Just a Par.
Elsewhere, RSA faller Don Cossack has Grade 1 pedigree following triumphs in Ireland while Many Clouds is yet to win over 3m or more and may be one to discount.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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