Matt Chapman: This 6/1 Present looks gift-wrapped on day one of the Aintree Festival

Neill Mullholland's runner could get the better ground he craves in the 4.40pm

Here we go again! Aintree washes away the blues with three magnificent days of racing highlighted with Saturday’s Grand National. Incidentally, I’ve gone head-to-head with Ruby Walsh on the main event. I’m confident.

Before that we need a few winners.

Thursday’s Aintree card kicks off with the Grade 1 Juvenile Hurde at 2.15pm, and I’m all over IVANOVICH GORBATOV, who should be even better suited to this flatter track than he was to Cheltenham when landing the Triumph Hurdle. He’s not going to be a massive price but if the drying ground can see him double up.



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It’s the Grade 1 Bowl over 3m1f at 2.50pm and I have a feeling DON POLI will bounce back to winning ways here after his distant third in the Gold Cup. This race can turn into a stamina test which should suit. Chalk him down as being a decent each-way wager.

The certainty of the day comes in the shape of our Champion Hurdle heroine ANNIE POWER, who should be far too good for her rivals int he Grade 1 Aintree Hurdle at 3.25pm over 2m 4f.

Anything can happen

The Fox Hunters’ Chase is a little bit more tricky at 4.05pm. There are usually only a handful of horses who have the class to win it, but over these fences anything can happen.

With normal luck-in-running MENDIP EXPRESS¬†is going to be very hard to keep out the frame after a fine effort at Cheltenham. He’s got form over the big fences and should be a nice each-way price too as Cheltenham winner On the Fringe heads the market.


Finally, it’s the Red Rum Chase over just under 2m at 4.40pm. A high cruising speed and slick jumping always key. PEARLS LEGEND is in the grip of the handicapper, but he should still give us a good run and has gone well here before.

He’s a little legend of a horse and has, at least, been dropped 1lb since a fair effort at Cheltenham. I also expect a bold show from MINELLA PRESENT , who I tipped at the Paddy Power meeting at Cheltenham last year when a fine second. He likes better ground and his trainer has been waiting for an opportunity like this.

I’m backing both.

So best of luck. I think we’ll have a solid first day with much more to come. Yeeehaaa!


What do you think?