It’s time for the Grand National meeting at Aintree and ITV is back with a bang with five races on Thursday, the first day of this three-day fiesta.
Let’s get straight to it, and the first race ITV show is the 2.20pm is a Grade 1 juvenile hurdle over 2m 1f. I can’t oppose BAND OF OUTLAWS for Joseph O’Brien and JJ Slevin, who was impressive in a handicap at Cheltenham. There is every chance he will be better suited by this track and he can deny the Triumph Hurdle winner Pentland Hills.
Next up is the 2.50pm, the Grade 1 Bowl Chase over nearly 3m1f. BRISTOL DE MAI is a horse that never gets the credit he deserves, but he’s got every chance of scoring here for Nigel Twiston-Davies and Daryl Jacob. His third in the Gold Cup was a fine effort and he’s run well at Aintree before.
The 3.25pm is the Grade 1 Aintree Hurdle over 2m4f. Buveur d’Air will take some stopping, but there was nothing wrong with FAUGHEEN the machine’s effort in the Stayers’ and this is his trip. He’s a cracking each-way bet and this might just be his final chance to win a big one for Willie Mullins. Love him.
It’s the turn of the Amatuer riders in the Foxhunters Chase at 4.05pm, a hunter chase over an extended 2m 5f. How many times have I supported UCELLO CONTI Loads. But I’ll give him one last chance to win a big race. His fifth at Cheltenham was not a bad effort and the fences are no issue. Fabulous place claims for Irish trainer Gordon Elliott.
And finally on ITV, the 4.40pm is a handicap chase over nearly 2m. THEINVAL is built for this race. Twice second here in the past, he’s only 2lb higher than when scoring at Ayr last year and has every chance of hitting the frame for trainer Nicky Henderson.
So best of luck and pray for Yeeehaaas. You hear me Paddy?