Grand National meeting: Buveur D’Air tops day 2 best bets
It was certainly the punters that were celebrating after the four days of the Cheltenham Festival, as numerous short-priced favourites did the business to the dismay of bookies.
Day one of the Aintree Grand National festival went much the same way, with Cue Card, Annie Power and On The Fringe all landing the spoils for favourite backers.
However, we aren’t expecting day two to follow suit entirely, even if Vautour is impossible to oppose in the Melling Chase at 15:25.
Here are our three day two best bets:
The 41-length romp of Apple’s Jade on the opening day of this Festival only further highlighted the strength of the mares hailing from the yard of Willie Mullins, with Annie Power and Vroum Vroum Mag already holding the upper hand in the female category.
Limini is another on this profitable production line, comfortably landing the new Grade 2 mares’ novice showpiece at the Cheltenham Festival. However, this represents a major step up in class after races against same-sex novices.
She is clearly favourite more based on reputation than achievement and value-wise is worth opposing.
In three of the last four years, the winner of this not only placed in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle on their previous start, but also was an inmate of the Nicky Henderson team.
Buveur D’Air ticks both of these boxes and should also improve from the softer ground at Aintree, in comparison to Cheltenham.
Three Festival winners are in opposition in the Mildmay Novices’ Chase, with RSA Chase victor Blaklion taking on Ultima Handicap Chase success story Un Temps Pour Tout and Ballyalton, who landed the Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase.
Of those, the former will do well to recover from a hard race so soon and the latter can be a clumsy jumper with stamina concerns. Un Temps Pour Tout will be inconvenienced if the ground conditions change to soft.
Native River is as consistent as they come and is sure to be thereabouts, but ideally he probably wants a little further.
With the first three places paid each-way in this eight-runner field, it could be worth a small saver on the rapidly-improving Henri Parry Morgan, whose handicap mark has already gone up 27lbs in the past six weeks for two victories.
He is lightly raced, jumps well, should enjoy the ground and is flourishing with the fitting of a tongue tie. Sean Bowen’s mount could still really be anything and has clear place claims.
Nicky Henderson has won the Topham Chase in each of the last three years and so his sole entrant Cocktails At Dawn has to be respected, although his mark of 153 in this competitive handicap looks a little on the high side.
Village Vic is another towards the head of the weights and returns to handicap company after being put in his place in the Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham. Seeking a fifth handicap success of the season, he is another doesn’t have much left to hide.
However, one that may have some improvement left is Killer Crow, who has been difficult to place this season having run over a variety of distances.
He faded late last time when in contention in the Irish Grand National and surely looks better suited to this over 1m less.
Two runs ago, he was second conceding weight to Empire Of Dirt, who since effectively won of a 16lb higher mark in the Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate at the Festival.
Killer Crow is only racing here from a 3lb higher mark and repeating his Leopardstown performance must see him go close.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing