Aintree betting tips: Jane Mangan’s Thursday fancies for Day 1 of the Grand National Festival

Jane's back with her best picks for Day 1 at Aintree.

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Jane Mangan’s Aintree Tips:

13:45 – Banbridge
14:20 – Zenta
14:55 – Bravemansgame (NAP)
15:30 – Constitution Hill
16:05 – Latenightpass
16:40 – Dancing On My Own
17:15 – Seeyouinmydreams

13:45 – Banbridge

There’s just five runners declared but two in particular who look a cut above the rest. Stage Star surprised many when making all in the Turners Novices Chase at Cheltenham – myself included! That said, it was a fantastic performance. Now opposing jockeys know they cannot let him loose on the lead. He’s simply too dangerous. That’s something JJ Slevin will be keeping in mind on my fancy for the race BANBRIDGE who skipped Cheltenham due to soft ground. Coming here fresh and up 4 furlongs in trip, I think he can track the favourite and pounce late to deny Stage Star the Cheltenham/Aintree double.

14:20 – Zenta

A few years have passed since Apple’s Jade got beaten in the Triumph Hurdle only to demolish her rivals by a record margin at Aintree. I’m not putting ZENTA in her league but I’m hopeful that she too can step forward at the Liverpool track. A solid third behind her stablemate Lossiemouth last month, she has the highest rating in the race and receives weight from the boys. Jipcot will make it a solid pace for which Zenta can play her cards late.

14:55 – Bravemansgame

Now this is a proper race! Shishkin over 3 miles …finally! A Plus Tard in a small field could prove perfect for Rachael Blackmore to relight his fire. Ahoy Senor to play catch me if you can under new jockey Brian Hughes but all arrows point to BRAVEMANSGAME to gain compensation for his Cheltenham defeat in the Gold Cup. The King George winner ran a career best last time, pulling clear of Conflated and he hasn’t been over raced so one would hope this isn’t a step too far. Paul Nicholls may have retired Clan Des Obeaux earlier this week but this is his stable star and I expect him to shine here. He’s my NAP of the day.

15:30 – Constitution Hill

Not much to say here only enjoy watching the best horse in training stretch his legs over a few extra furlongs. I was lucky enough to stand beside the last hurdle at Cheltenham to see him reach for that final obstacle.

There were gasps from the crowd and on TV it may have looked heart-in-mouth risky, but in person it never looked in doubt. He was full of energy, even at the end of a scarily fast Champion Hurdle. CONSTITUTION HILL is exceptional and it’s good to see him out again. The same can be said for Davy Russell on Zanahiyr. Welcome back to the saddle for one last mighty hurrah!

16:05 – Latenightpass

LATENIGHTPASS has an extraordinary record around this track and at the age of 10, I expect him to enhance that record further this afternoon under regular pilot Gina Andrews. Second in 2021, a good winner last year this combination will be extremely difficult to beat having plotted the very same path as twelve months ago.

Winged Leader is a decent Hunter Chaser who came agonisingly close at Cheltenham last season but I have slight reservations regarding the form of David Christie’s horses considering Vaucelet disappointed at Cheltenham and Ferns Lock did likewise at Fairyhouse. That said, his form is there for all to see.

16:40 – Dancing On My Own

Aintree has been a happy hunting ground for the Blackmore/de Bromhead axis in recent years and I’m hoping they return to the winners enclosure here with last year’s runner-up DANCING ON MY OWN. Second last year off a 1lb higher mark, he missed Cheltenham due to soft ground. I’m hoping conditions don’t deteriorate and that their patience is rewarded as he’s always looked like a horse that could produce a big performance on a decent surface.

He jumped fantastically last year and considering how well Henry de Bromhead’s horses ran at Cheltenham, one would be hopeful he can put two lacklustre performances this season well and truly behind him. As for an each-way angle? Dads Lad is better than we saw in the Grand Annual. Better ground is very important to him and I think we’ll see a different horse at Aintree.

17:15 – Seeyouinmydreams

It’s rare I look beyond the Irish in bumpers but I couldn’t help but be impressed by the performance of SEEYOUINMYDREAMS at Newbury. She raced keenly but made all in a common canter and considering she won her point to point by 15 lengths, we know that wasn’t just a fluke. I think she’s the most likely winner but I will be very wary of market support for the two new French imports representing Mullins and de Bromhead. July Flower in particular won a Grade 1 AQPS bumper at Fontainebleau so is of obvious interest but it is difficult to quantify French form.

Jane Mangan’s Aintree Tips:

13:45 – Banbridge
14:20 – Zenta
14:55 – Bravemansgame (NAP)
15:30 – Constitution Hill
16:05 – Latenightpass
16:40 – Dancing On My Own
17:15 – Seeyouinmydreams

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