Thursday’s ITV Racing Preview from Aintree – Back these 5 selections in a Lucky 31
The Randox Grand National Festival starts on Thursday and ITV Racing is showing five races live, including the Betway Bowl Chase, which features dual Grand National winner Tiger Roll on his first appearance at Grade One level over fences.
We’ve given all five televised races the once-over and unearthed what, we believe, is a value-for-money selection in each of them.
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2:20 Doom Bar Anniversary 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle
Although ultimately no match for the winner, Quixilios, Adagio run another fine race when second in the Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. However, a collateral form line involving Nassalam, whom he beat on his previous start at Chepstow, suggests he has his work cut out to beat Monmiral. Chasing is the ultimate aim for Paul Nicholls’ charge but, in the meantime, it will be disappointing if he can’t extend his unbeaten sequence to five over the smaller obstacles.
Selection: Monmiral (4/5 with 888Sport)
2:50 Betway Bowl Chase
Having withdrawn Tiger Roll from the Grand National because of an ‘unfair weight’, owner Michael O’Leary has said that there will be ‘no humble pie’ if the 11-year-old wins here off an official handicap mark of 167. Strictly speaking, Tiger Roll has 3lb to find with Native River and 2lb to find with Clan Des Obeaux but, with doubts about the market leaders, it would be no great surprise if he proved equal to the task. However, he hasn’t won over ‘regulation’ fences for four years, so this may be best left to Waiting Patiently, who finished some way ahead of Clan Des Obeaux when second in the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day.
Selection: Waiting Patiently (7/2 with 888Sport)
3:25 Betway Aintree Hurdle
Dual Champion Hurdle winner Buveur D’Air was beaten by the 149-rated Navajo Pass at Haydock in January on his first start since November 2019, but trainer Nicky Henderson was pleased with his comeback effort. The now 10-year-old won this race in 2017 and finished second, on ground softer than ideal, in 2019, and Henderson believes that two and a half miles should suit him better than ever at this stage of his career. Buveur D’Air has something to prove now but, even so, his current odds are bordering on insulting.
Selection: Buveur D’Air (10/1 with 888Sport)
4:05 Rose Paterson Randox Foxhunters’ Open Hunters’ Chase
Six of the last ten winners of this race were sent off at single-figure odds, including four favourites, but the other four were sent off at 14/1, 16/1, 50/1 and 100/1, so we shouldn’t necessarily be afraid of a big price. Billaway, narrowly beaten in the St. James’s Place Festival Challenge Cup at Cheltenham, sets a high standard but, at much longer odds, Risk And Roll makes no little appeal. Matt Sheppard’s 7-year-old is 2-2 in hunter chases and was only just touched off by subsequent winner Copper Coin in a handicap chase at Huntingdon last month. Officially, he has plenty to find with the likes of Billaway and Cat Tiger, but he boasts a solid profile and could still be open to further improvement.
Selection: Risk And Roll (25/1 with 888Sport)
4:40 Close Brothers Red Rum Handicap Chase
Philip Hobbs muddies the waters by saddling both Zanza and Dostal Phil, but preference on this occasion is for the latter, who is the choice of newly-appointed stable jockey Tom O’Brien. Dostal Phil is 5lb better off for the 3½ lengths he finished behind comfortable winner Grey Diamond – who appears better going right-handed – at Sandown last month and remains open to significant improvement after just three starts over fences.
Selection: Dostal Phil (11/1 with 888Sport)
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