Tea For Two sprang a surprise when beating defending champion Cue Card in last season’s Aintree Bowl, but he will need to repeat the feat if he is to see off Might Bite in this year’s renewal at 14:50.
Nicky Henderson’s star looked likely to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup for about 95% of the race, but – as every marathon runner knows – it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish, and he ultimately had nothing left in the tank when sent to challenge Native River after the second-last.
However, while the favourite’s bark may be worse than his bite, there’s no doubt that he is the top dog here; he should outclass his rivals, as he did when sauntering to victory in the Mildmay Novices’ Chase at this meeting 12 months ago.
Not a weekend goes by without Sky Sports billing a bunch of humdrum Premier League matches as a “Super Sunday” (Stoke v Burnley next Sunday, anyone?), however, the horse of a similar name – Supasundae – should be much more of a fans’ favourite in the Aintree Hurdle at 15:25.
Beaten just a length in a Grade 1 at this meeting last season, Supasundae has taken his form up a notch this term, winning the Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown in February, and then confirming that improvement when second to Penhill in the Stayers’ Hurdle at Cheltenham last time.
My Tent Or Yours, twice a runner-up in this race, and former winner The New One (2014), should prove bigger dangers than L’Ami Serge, who is quirkier than the well-padded one from Birds Of A Feather.
What do you get if you cross leading amateur rider Derek O’Connor with a teen-age horse?
Answer: A decent run for your money in the Foxhunters. O’Connor finished second on Tartan Snow in 2014 and, after steering Big Fella Thanks to eighth in 2015 and missing the 2016 renewal, he was back in the places with runner-up Balnaslow in last year’s renewal.
O’Connor (Derek, not Des or Sinéad) gets the leg up again on the Graham McKeever-trained runner at 16:05, the horse having advertised his well-being when a solid seventh at the Cheltenham Festival. Any drying of the ground will suit, and he looks good value against the similarly-priced Grand Vision and Wonderful Charm.
One extra for the road
Number two on the list of things to do in Ballyshannon, just down the road from Bundoran, is visit the statue of guitarist Rory Gallagher, whose hits included Tattoo’d Lady. There will be plenty of those at Aintree this week, many under the gaze of photographers from national newspapers hoping to get a glimpse of gusset from a mid-afternoon fall, and they could do worse than back Bun Doran in the Red Rum Handicap Chase at 16:40.
He was third behind Double W’s and Theinval in last year’s renewal, but looks to have conditions more in his favour here, and is fancied to strike the right chord.
- Bet summary: A treble on Might Bite, Supasundae, Balnaslow pays out at just over 17/1 with Paddy Power.
* All odds correct at time of posting.