The Grand National meeting kicks off with a fistful of Grade 1s and a few cracking handicaps, making for a card packed full of form horses from last month’s Cheltenham Festival, as well as plenty who have been aiming for Aintree all along.
We’ve trawled through the final four races on Day One, which all look fairly open, to bring you a high value news.ladbrokes Lucky 15. Get stuck in!
Harry Fry’s former Cheltenham Champion Hurdle winner put his feet up at home during last month’s Festival, despite claiming both of his last two races, each of them round Prestbury Park, between December and January.
Meanwhile, his chief competitors in this Grade 1 Aintree Hurdle, namely Arctic Fire and Jezki, were both engaged in chasing home Faugheen in the Cotswolds, suggesting they haven’t been trained to peak here.
Rock On Ruby was only beaten a head by The New One in this last year, so he clearly likes the track. Back him to go one better.
Having won the Foxhunters Chase at Cheltenham by a ridiculous distance of 17l, this Irish raider goes into the Aintree equivalent as the highest-rated challenger.
The mount of Nina Carberry has only finished out of the top four once in 15 races under rules, winning seven. He looks a cut above in this.
Philip Hobbs’ seven-year-old has had a fine campaign, winning two of his six races and placing twice, including last time out at Ascot against Kim Bailey’s useful gelding Un Ace.
He looks well weighted in relation to form and his official rating, which is the joint third-highest in this 17-runner field, and has an Aintree win from October 2013 in his back catalogue.
Richard Johnson takes the ride, which is another big plus.
This Paul Nicholls runner may be up at third top-weight, but after his exploits last spring, when Lac Fontana beat Arctic Fire (second in the Champion Hurdle last month) in the County Hurdle at Cheltenham, then Splash Of Ginge at Aintree four weeks later, that’s hardly surprising.
He has been keeping excellent company since, going down against Vautour, Faugheen and Rock On Ruby consecutively prior to a decent run round Prestbury Park last month when 11th, less than 12l off the winner Aux Ptit Soins, in the Coral Cup.
With jockey Sean Bowen’s booking lightening the load by 5lb, Lac Fontana should be up there on best form.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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