So we’ve enlisted the help of trader Matt Trounce to guide us through some of the best action at the Merseyside meeting.
He’ll take us through the Aintree Bowl, the Aintree Hurdle and the Melling Chase among others, as well as tell us who his NAP of the Festival is, and who should be avoided.
Let’s get going…
Ladbrokes News: There’s plenty of action to look forward to aside from the Grand National, what takes your eye in the Aintree Bowl to start off?
Matt Trounce: Might Bite will likely go off as favourite for this one. Obviously he finished runner-up to Native River in the Cheltenham Gold Cup last time out.
However, I’ll probably be looking to oppose most of the horses that ran hard races at Cheltenham.
Every year these things that have had hard races at Cheltenham get turned over at Aintree.
And with the Festival this year being run on soft to heavy ground, horses like Might Bite had brutal races and were in the firing line the whole time.
He’s around 4/6 or 4/7 now in most places and I’d be happy to oppose that with something like Tea For Two who won the race last year from Cue Card.
He ran in the Gold Cup but was given an easy time and I think that this has probably always been his aim.
LN: Moving on to the Aintree Hurdle, where do you stand now without Buveur D’Air?
MT: To be honest, it’s a bit of a disappointing race without Buveur D’Air, who is a non-runner.
Supasundae will probably go off as favourite and he’ll take on all the old favourites like The New One, My Tent Or Yours, L’Ami Serge – none of whom I particularly fancy.
LN: Not a lot to hang your hat on there then! How about the Melling Chase on Friday?
MT: It’s looking like Balko Des Flos for us after he won the Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham.
He has a pretty strong chance, especially if the ground dries out as is expected. The going will probably be the slower side of good to soft but it should still be a bit quicker than Cheltenham.
Melling Chase runners also have options the Thursday but we look set to have three contenders from the RSA Chase alongside Terrefort.
Black Corton, Elegant Escape and Ballyoptic all have chances.
From those I like Black Corton for Bryony Frost on the basis of Aintree being a sharper track than Cheltenham, which should suit him more than the gallopers in the field.
LN: Good stuff! Bit of a tougher one here, but what is your NAP of Aintree as a whole?
MT: I’d probably say Sam Spinner in the Stayers’ Hurdle on the Saturday.
The jockey got his fractions totally wrong last time and he’ll know that he needs to go slightly harder this time around as it’s a front-runners track.
Any cut in the ground should suit him and he’s boosted by the fact it’s basically the same field as at Cheltenham with the exception of the Irish horses, which will make it a much weaker race.
LN: You’ve picked your NAP, but which favourites should people steer clear of across the three days?
MT: I’d probably avoid all of the favourites in the Doom Bar Sefton Novices’ Hurdle on the basis that most of them ran in the Albert Bartlett at Cheltenham.
This is a 3m Grade 1 contest and historically horses that ran in the Albert Bartlett have a terrible record in the race because a 3m race for a young horse takes a lot out.
I think the ones at the top like Ok Corral, Santini, Chef Des Obeaux and Tower Bridge are going to take up a massive chunk of the market.
I’ll be looking to oppose them with something like Chosen Path for Alan King who missed Cheltenham and comes here fresh. He won the race last year with The World’s End.
And there you have it!
All Odds and Markets correct as of date of publication