16:50 Aintree: Salubrious’ handicap experience could prove pivotal
The Festival could not have been going any worse for Paul Nicholls until the penultimate race of the final day.
Salubrious, who we tipped up, stormed up the hill to win the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle by seven lengths and provided the trainer with his first win of the meet.
That win stands him in very good stead here and, at 8/1, now looks to follow in the footsteps of last year’s winner Attaglance and secure this title.
Not only did that success confirm the six-year-old’s class, but also the ability to perform in big fields. Like all four of the previous winners, he has now won a handicap in which 15 or more have run, which could prove to be crucial.
Nicholls is double handed in this race with French import Funny Star at 10/1. Second on his only start for the Ditcheat stable, he stayed on well and was unlucky in-running. An unexposed but scopey sort, he is likely to generate plenty of interest.
David Pipe also had a disappointing Festival after failing to secure a winner, but has a great chance of getting back amongst the Class 1 winners with Broadway Buffalo, a 6/1 shot.
The undefeated five-year-old was massively impressive on his last start when obliterating the field by 39 lengths. However, this is a big step up and he is yet to go over the timber in a field of more than 11 runners.
Unsurprisingly, Nicky Henderson could also have a say in the outcome with Minella Forfitness at 9/1, who chases a hat-trick. On his last start he defeated 2011 Champion Bumper winner Cheltenian and that is as good a piece of form in this race as any.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.