14:00 Aintree: Rolling Star to win a favourite’s race
Rolling Star was one of the bigger disappointments of the Cheltenham Festival when never really getting into the Triumph Hurdle won by Our Conor, but he is worth a second chance here at 5/2
Some 10 of the last 13 winners of this Juvenile Hurdle had contested the Triumph on their previous start, but it is the record of market leaders that points the biggest finger in the direction of Rolling Star.
Only Orsippus’ shock victory at 40/1 in 2010 has broken the dominance of the favourite in recent renewals and he is the only non-favourite to prosper since 2004.
French-bred runners also have a fairly strong record in this race as they have claimed almost half of the victories in the last 14 years, which is another tick in the column of Rolling Star.
The other intriguing statistic is that all of the last eight winners had finished in the each-way places at Cheltenham on their final start before Aintree.
Flaxon Flare is the only horse to boast such claims this time following his impressive win in the Fred Winter.
He has been well beaten on his two previous starts in Group company, but he did look to have something in hand at Cheltenham and is worthy of consideration at 9/2.
Irish Saint previously finished behind Rolling Star at Cheltenham in January and this remains his only defeat to date.
Paul Nicholls opted to bypass the Festival as this was a contest that was deemed better suited to his charge and the extended break could well do him good at 3/1. However, this is not a race that has typically suited front runners and he may well try to make all.
Of the outsiders, Runswick Royal will be experiencing a big hike in class here, but won well when dropped in trip last time and could surprise at 10/1.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.