There’s four Grade One contests on Ladies Day at Aintree and I start off on Jonjo O’Neill’s Box Office in the opening handicap hurdle. It’s a spare ride as his retained rider Barry Geraghty will partner Blazer for the Willie Mullins stable.
Box Office has yet to win in the UK in two seasons so if we can nick some place money I’d be happy.
It’s a totally different story in the 2.15pm where Supreme Hurdle third Buveur D’Air looks to get some compensation at Aintree after running a cracker at Cheltenham.
There’s no Altior or Min to worry about now but Willie Mullins’ Limini is a very good mare, who gets all the allowances and we saw what Apple’s Jade did yesterday.
But the big factor in Buveur D’Air’s favour is the softer ground. He loves a bit of give in the ground and Aintree’s flatter track should suit also. I’m expecting a big run.
The 3m 2f Midmay Novices Chase follows and Blaklion sets the standard after his RSA Chase win at the Festival. He looks an out-and-out stayer and the soft ground won’t bother him. David Pipe’s Un Temps Pour Tour must have been very well handicapped to beat Holywell seven lengths Cheltenham – but this is a step up in grade again.
Ballyalton was a good winner too over 2m 4f at Cheltenham but Blaklion looks like a real street fighter over this trip.
The Melling Chase looks for a penalty kick for Vautour in the 3.25pm at and if Bishops Road takes the option of the 2m 5f Topham Chase @ 4.05pm rather than run the risk of not getting into the Grand National on Saturday where he’s first reserve, the in-form Kerry Lee stable can come away with an Aintree winner.
I ride Zipple Back in the bumper for Alan King who put in a nice run at Huntingdon behind Bags Groove. The winner just got chinned at Newbury after that so the form looks solid.
But Zipple Back will need to improve again to get involved against the likes of Harry Fry’s Any Drama who won a Thurles bumper by 22 lengths and the Mullins pair of Bacardys and Battleford who were placed in the Champion bumper at Cheltenham.