Cheltenham now seems like a distant memory but what an excellent three days of racing we have ahead of us as the Aintree Festival immenently gets under way. BetBright’s Racing ambassador, Nick Luck, will be providing us with his thoughts on all the action, starting with his preview of day one…
1.45 – Big Buck’s Celebration Manifesto Chase – Brain Power
The opening Novice Chase can prove the perfect stage on which Brain Power (11/4) can finally show himself as a star performer.
He was given a kind ride at Cheltenham which was duly rewarded with a perfectly creditable second behind Footpad.
Given the way Brain Power settled in the Arkle, it may be that he’s now a mature enough horse for two miles and he looks to have a clear class edge here. It may be that he’s a better horse going right handed, but he probably only has to reproduce his Cheltenham form which – let’s not forget – was his first run after a breathing operation.
2.20 – Anniversary Hurdle – Nube Negra (Each Way)
Nicky Henderson will have high hopes here, as he saddles We Have A Dream (15/8) and Apple’s Shakira 2/1), who will go off favourite and second favourite, respectively.
My suspicion is that the Triumph Hurdle form and that Apple’s Shakira will prove hard to beat, but at the likely odds, I will be backing Nube Negra (10/1) each way.
He needs to improve again but he travelled so strongly in the Fred Winter that his rider was almost forced to commit him further out than was ideal. I’m as sure as I can be that this more speed favouring track will suit him and I think he’s at least good enough to run into a place.
2.50 – Aintree Bowl – Clan Des Obeaux
The box office horse is clearly Might Bite (5/6) but there are grounds for believing that he didn’t show quite the same sparkle at Aintree last year as he had done at Cheltenham and given the grueling nature of the Gold Cup it seems sensible to look elsewhere for a betting proposition even though Might Bite has the strongest credentials.
Paul Nicholls runs a number of horses today who missed Cheltenham and it’ll be fascinating to see whether their freshness is an advantage. The one that interests me most runs in this race and that is Clan Des Obeaux (11/1).
He’s run right up to marks in the 160’s twice this season and it’s worth remembering he travelled all over Whisper in spite of ultimately being defeated in a match at Kempton earlier in the year.
Now, these are obviously deeper waters and he has to prove he’s man enough for a race like this, but the two races in his career where he’s looked absolutely brilliant have both been at Newbury, a flat, left handed track; the ground should be ideal, and he remains a horse with significant potential, particularly due to the fact that he’s completely unexposed at this trip.
3.25 – Aintree Hurdle – Supasundae
The Aintree Hurdle ought to be won by Supasundae (evens). I’d love to try and be clever here but he boasts the most compelling credentials this season and these conditions look ideal.
There’s not a lot of obvious pace in the race but as we saw at Cheltenham, he’s a horse with enough tactical speed to overcome that issue.
4.05 – Foxhunters’ Chase – Barrakilla (Each Way)
I’ll be chancing Barrakilla (11/1) each way in the Foxhunters’. He’s generally a very sound jumper, he won a decent Hunters’ Chase at Bangor after a long absence earlier in the season and he may well have bounced off that when running quickly at Warwick last time.
I’m not sure that track suited him and he needed to finish at least second there to qualify for this. On the Bangor form, I think he’s a player and his double figure odds, in what looks like quite a weak running of the race, make for an appealing each way bet.
Nick’s Aintree Picks – Day One
1.45 – Brain Power – 11/4
2.20 – Nube Negra – 10/1
2.50 – Clan Des Obeaux – 11/1
3.25 – Supasundae – Evens
4.05 – Foxhunters’ Chase – Barrakilla – 11/1 (Each Way)
Odds are provided at time of writing, please check your betslip to confirm they have not changed before betting.