Danny Kirwan – along with Fleetwood Mac founder Peter Green – was responsible for the band’s number one hit Albatross.
The bird itself is a symbol of bad luck, especially for sailors, but we’re hopeful that it won’t sink the chances of Danny Kirwan in the bumper at 17:15. He easily won his sole start in Irish maiden points and made a big impression when winning a bumper at Kempton impressively by two lengths from Pym.
Paul Nicholls’ charge looks an outstanding prospect and is open to more improvement than a Stoke City defensive coaching session.
The Green Manalishi was another Green/Kirwan collaboration, but with the now-17-year-old five-furlong sprinter of a similar name unlikely to show up at Aintree this week, preference in the Melling Chase (15:25) is for Min.
He produced a performance that would have been good enough to win most recent renewals when second in the Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival last month and, with the winner Altior an absentee here, he rates the clear one to beat. Ryanair Chase winner Balko des Flos is the obvious threat, though the Ditcheat duo of Politologue and Le Prezien shouldn’t be dismissed too lightly.
Nicky Henderson is more West Country gent than Wild West cowboy, however the Sefton Novices’ Hurdle at 16:40 could develop into a shootout between his three stayers, Chef des Obeaux, Ok Corral, and Santini.
There’s not much between the talented trio on Timeform ratings, but the older Ok Coral is taken to confirm Albert Bartlett form with Santini and resume winning ways. EBF Novice Final winner Sam’s Gunner looks a smashing prospect for Spittin’ Mick Easterby and he could surprise a few.
Continuing the gold rush theme, and Ultragold looks a great each-way bet at around 20/1 in the Topham Handicap Chase at 16:05. He won the race last year from a 5lb higher mark, has since run well in the Becher Chase over the same National fences, and his two recent runs at Cheltenham can be forgotten as he’s never run well there.
Art Mauresque and Theatre Territory are both new to the fences, but their ability to jump soundly and consistently makes them ready-made for this sort of test. Last year’s fourth (from a higher mark), O O Seven completes the shortlist, though we fancy him to be given the goldfinger once again by Colin Tizzard’s ace.
* All price correct time of posting.