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It’s a quick turnaround from the Cheltenham Festival to Aintree but a number of horses missed the mid-March madness as connections sought to keep their runners fresh for Merseyside.
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We’ve taken a look at six of the high-profile runners that head into the Aintree Grand National Festival well rested after keeping their powder dry through Cheltenham.
The Betway Bowl, the standout race on the opening day of the meeting, features nine quality runners including last year’s winner Clan Des Obeaux, Paddy Power Irish Gold Cup hero Conflated and popular grey Bristol De Mai.
Kemboy arrives at Aintree fresh from a 61-day break after swerving the Cheltenham Gold Cup in favour of attempting to regain the Betway Bowl having landed the Grade 1 contest in 2019.
Withdrawn moments before the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase by Paul Nicholls on account of testing conditions, Bravemansgame is set to face the 1-2 from that race – L’Homme Presse and Ahoy Senor – in the Mildmay Novices’ Chase on Friday.
Ahoy Senor got the better of Bravemansgame by 7l in last season’s Sefton Novices’ Hurdle but Nicholls’ charge reversed the form over fences in the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase over Christmas.
The winner of last year’s Melling Chase finished 12l behind Allaho in the Ryanair Chase weeks before claiming his maiden Grade 1 success.
It was, arguably, a wise choice by connections to skip last month’s Cheltenham Festival as Allaho bolted up once again so Fakir d’Oudairies arrives at Aintree fresh from a 48-day break since winning the Ascot Chase.
Good Risk At All
Good Risk At All was heavily fancied for the Coral Cup but was only a reserve due to his handicap rating. Trainer Sam Thomas was left fuming because his horse was denied a run as three horses pulled out on the morning of the race after the deadline for reserves to make the cut.
An impressive success at Ascot in February saw his rating rocket by 10lbs and he makes his maiden appearance at Grade 1 level in the Mersey Novices’ Hurdle against the likes of Ballymore second Three Stripe Life and Walking On Air.
Third Time Lucki
Dan Skelton’s charge suffered defeats to Edwardstone over the winter period before skipping the Arkle Chase, which his rival subsequently won thanks to one of the most impressive jumping display at the 2022 Cheltenham Festival.
Third Time Lucki is set to return after a two-month break in the Maghull Novices’ Chase where he’ll face Edwardstone once again.
The Cheltenham Gold Cup was talked up as a potential prep race for Fiddlerontheroof but the Tizzard’s opted to hold fire and stick with their plans for a crack at the Grand National.
He is 2lbs ahead of the handicapper after a decent showing to place second in the Swinley Chase and has been off the track for 49 days.
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