14:50 Aintree: African Gold can upstage bigger names
Solwhit looks the obvious pick to follow up on his success in the Ladbrokes World Hurdle with another triumph here in the Liverpool Hurdle, but there could be some mileage in anticipating a big run from the novice African Gold.
Eight of the nine winners of this race had finished in the first four in the World Hurdle previously and the first three from the Festival return for another crack at each other here.
Solwhit is the favourite at 9/4 and also has the added advantage of being a previous winner at the course, having emerged triumphant at this meeting in another Grade One contest in 2009.
Runner up at Cheltenham was Celestial Halo, but he is 0-3 at Aintree, while Smad Place fell on his only previous visit.
However, he was travelling well at the time in this race last year and although beating Big Buck’s was unlikely, there was every chance he could have taken second.
He is worth each-way consideration again here at 11/2.
But the victory of At Fishers Cross earlier at the Aintree Festival in the Sefton Novices’ Hurdle is a fine boost to the chances of African Gold, who is available at 10/1.
African Gold ran At Fishers Cross close in the Albert Bartlett at Cheltenham and this was far nearer than anyone got to Rebecca Curtis’ horse at Aintree.
This 3m trip at a flatter course may be more to his liking, even against this stronger calibre of opposition.
Furthermore, he should appreciate the firmer conditions at Aintree, which should not be so taxing on his slightly suspect stamina.
Meanwhile, Barry Geraghty’s decision to ride Bear’s Affair over Oscara Dara must be a fillip to his chances and so he is another that should enter each-way calculations at 16/1
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.