Aintree Day 2 Preview
After four Grade 1’s on the opening day, the quality action keeps coming with another 4 Grade 1’s on Day 2. The exciting Dusart returns in the Top Novices Hurdle over 2 miles, whilst the highly touted Bravemansgame steps up to 3 miles for the first time. The Randox Topham is the feature handicap of the day and usually throws up a cracking race. Willie Mullins’ Livelovelaugh currently heads the betting in those famous pink and green silks of Rich and Susannah Ricci. Monimiral landed a winner for the Day 1 preview and Buzz ran a cracker to finish second, highlighted at 20/1.
A De Boinville masterclass needed aboard Mister Coffee
The first race of Day 2 is the Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle over two and a half miles. Top weight, Wilde About Oscar heads the current betting at 11/2 and makes plenty of appeal. Course and distance form is clearly a bonus, but he has some strong form lines too. The handicapper has raised him a further 4lbs for his latest success and despite looking progressive he must defy a mark of 150 here against stronger opposition. As a result, he is worth taking on. Edwardstone clearly enjoys the hustle and bustle of these big field handicaps and go well once again now tackling an extra half mile. Like Wilde About Oscar, I do feel the handicapper may have a good grasp of him though. One I believe has millage in his current mark is Mister Coffey 9/1 who caught my eye staying on late in the Betfair Hurdle. Held up throughout, he never really looked dangerous but did make up plenty of ground coming up the home straight, under a conservative ride. Mister Coffey clearly has his quirks and will need to settle over this longer trip. I do believe the intermediate trip may bring out more improvement and Aintree can often suit a strong travelling horse. Henderson has won 3 of the last 7 renewals and I am hoping Mister Coffey can make it 4.
Dusart has big boots to fill but he can make a start here
The first Grade 1 of the day is the Betway Top Novices’ Hurdle over the minimum trip. Being a half-brother to Simonsig, Dusart 2/1, had the racing world hoping for big things on his hurdles debut. It is safe to say, he delivered! With no prior racing experience, Dusart was keen early on but settled into the contest nicely. He was particularly good at the final two flights and powered away from Betfair Hurdle winner Soaring Glory. He did receive 6lbs that day, but this still represents a huge effort on not just his hurdling debut but his first racing experience. An unfortunate incident at home forced him to miss Cheltenham so he comes here inexperienced and very fresh. Nicky Henderson isn’t one to throw his horses in at the deep end but that’s exactly what he’s done here. Maybe a potential clue as to how well they regard this fella at Seven Barrows. He has the type of profile I am sure many will be willing to take on, but I wouldn’t be a huge fan of his rivals. Third Time Lucki looks a tricky ride and despite being produced too soon in the County he was ultimately well beaten off a mark of 143. The winner of the County, Belfast Banter, also comes here but he won that off a mark of 129 and entering Grade 1 company, he will have to improve significantly again. Supreme Novice Hurdle third, For Pleasure, is likely to get an uncontested lead and could take some stopping from the front, with Aintree as a track likely to suit. He was well beaten by Appreciate It though and may lack the class I am hoping Dusart possesses.
The Big Breakaway can get back to winning ways
A classy field of eight go to post for the three-mile Betway Mildmay Novices’ Chase. Marsh Novices winner, Chantry House, heads the betting at around 2/1 and is entitled to improve for this step up in trip. As touched upon in the Day 1 preview, the Marsh form is tough to get a handle on and at the prices he may be worth taking on. Espoir De Romay is relatively unexposed and has some good form behind the 166 rated Royale Pagaille. He did jump slightly right on his last start and this represents a big step up in class. The Tizzard duo of Fiddlerontheroof and The Big Breakaway 13/2 interest me here and I would just favour the latter. The pair finished second and third behind Monkfish at Cheltenham in what was an extraordinary race on the clock. The Big Breakaway was ridden aggressively that day and challenged Monkfish throughout. He paid the price late on, whilst stablemate Fiddlerontheroof somewhat picked up the pieces. I think more patient tactics on The Big Breakaway may see a reversal in form and at 13/2 he looks a price worth chancing.
Master Tommytucker can run his rivals ragged from the front
The feature race of the day is up next on the card at 3:25. The Grade 1 Marsh Chase is run over 2 miles and 3 furlongs and we’ve seen some awesome performances over the years. The great Sprinter Sacre sauntered past Cue Card in 2013, whilst Min destroyed his rivals by 20 lengths in 2019. One of those rivals that day was Politologue who heads this year’s market at 5/2. He has been a fantastic horse for connections but at his current price, I am keen to take him on. Fakir D’oudairies sits second in the market having missed an engagement at Fairyhouse over the weekend. His last 5 completed starts have seen him come second and he ran in what I believe was extremely tough Ryanair. His current odds of 3/1 wouldn’t make massive appeal. Master Tommytucker 5/1 loves these flat tracks, and I am hoping Sam Twiston-Davies adopts aggressive front running tactics. His last two defeats have come when he’s been held up and I believe the return to a more forceful approach can see him reverse the form with the reopposing Dashel Drasher. He comes here on the back of a 48-day break, and this has likely been the target all season. Sam Twiston-Davies has won on the horse before, and ground conditions should suit. If he goes forward and gets an uncontested lead, I think he will be extremely hard to peg back. This race looks made for him!
Cheltenham eye catcher Caribean Boy can take the Topham
The Randox Topham Handicap Chase has long been one of my favourite races of the year. 2 miles and 5 furlongs over the famous National fences often produces a unique and exciting watch. Livelovelaugh heads the current betting and has long been considered an ideal sort for this kind of test. Eleventh in the 2019 Grand National, he looked a non-stayer that day but did take well to the National fences. Seemingly out of form, Visioman has come in for plenty of support having been tipped up by a certain Kevin Blake as his NAP of the week just a couple of days ago. Having been 20/1, he is now 6/1 so the value looks to have gone. Cheltenham often throws up a few eye catchers or unlucky losers and, in my opinion, Caribean Boy 11/1 fits that bill. He finished seventh in the Paddy Power Plate but was inconvenienced by the standing start. Daryl seemed to be keen to get him nice and prominent, but he missed the break and found himself towards the back of midfield. Running in and amongst horses didn’t seem to suit but once given some daylight he made some eye-catching late headway up the hill. The Shunter has franked the form, finishing second in a Grade 1 on the opening day and Caribean Boy has been dropped a pound down to mark of 152. He has reportedly school extremely well over the National Fences and his form with Fiddlerontheroof looks strong. If he can pitch up with the leaders early on, I think he has a big chance.
Bravemansgame can confirm his top-class chasing credentials in the Sefton
The final Grade 1 of Day 2 is the Doom Bar Sefton Novices’ Hurdle over 3 miles where I believe Bravemansgame 15/8 has very strong claims. As a massive Bob Olinger fan, I believe his third placed effort in the Ballymore represents the strongest piece of form on offer. He didn’t seem quite himself at Cheltenham but clearly lacked the gears to go with Bob Olinger, as some fantastic on-board jockey footage highlights. This step up to three miles looks sure to suit and having won on good ground, the quicker conditions hold no problems. Having previously beaten the likes of Star Gate, Wilde About Oscar and The Glancing Queen, his form is rock solid. If Cheltenham hasn’t left it’s mark, I think he’ll be hard to beat. Streets Of Doyen and Oscar Elite bring the Albert Bartlett form into play having placed in behind impressive winner Vanillier. They were 11 lengths behind Vanillier that day and a whole host of horses finished within a handful of lengths, so I would question the strength of this form. They are tried and tested at the trip though so should be amongst the guaranteed stayers. Irish raider Cape Gentleman is an extremely interesting runner for trainer Emmet Mullins having won a Grade 2 at Kempton over 2 miles last time out. Being a former Irish Cesarewitch winner, he should have plenty of stamina, but he has shown plenty of speed over jumps and was well beaten over 2 miles and 6 furlongs at The Dublin Racing Festival. Expensive Point to Point purchase, Gallyhill, looks sure to improve for this step up to three miles for Henderson and De Boinville. Midnight River beat him last time out but had previously been beaten by the likes of Adrimel and Mint Condition, who have been well beaten since. I would subsequently question the strength of this form. Touted as the next Denman, I am hoping Bravemansgame can land his second Grade 1 of the season.
Leoncavallo can land the lucky last
The final race of day 2 is an ultra-competitive two-mile handicap hurdle. Copperless is the current favourite at around 4/1 and Irish raider Bold Enough looks an interesting contender. I’m going to side with David Pipe’s Leoncavallo 9/1 who ran a cracker in the Martin Pipe at Cheltenham. He appeared to run out of puff making mistakes at the last two hurdles but still finished a highly creditable sixth. I think it was a strong looking Martin Pipe and the step back in trip looks sure to suit. Officially rated 145 at his peak, He will run off 135 here taking into Fergus Gillard’s 5lb claim. Both his prior flat starts and Cheltenham effort suggest he is in fine form and I’d be hopeful of a big run.
By Sam Rideout
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