Aintree 2019: Lucky Luke's Day 1 Tips03/04/2019
The dust has barely settled on the big meeting at Cheltenham, yet Aintree is here for the first day of the famous Grand National meeting.
There are no less than six Graded races across this card this Thursday afternoon with plenty of stars on show, including Buveur D'Air, Clan Des Obeaux and Pentland Hills.
Enough talking for now though. Let's get stuck in.
1:45pm - Devenish Manifesto Novices' Chase
I wouldn't have any massive fancy in the opener, to be honest. It's a race that has cut up a little bit following the news that Defi Du Seuil wouldn't be running because of injury.
He and Lostintranslation have been the horses to watch in this division for me this season, but unfortunately, neither are included here.
A horse that has twice had the latter behind her this season, is La Bague Au Roi. The classy mare is 4 from 4 this campaign, beating Lostintranslation at Newbury in two separate November runs.
She also has the staying ability required over this distance, and that could catch a few of these usually two-mile horses out.
2:20pm - Doom Bar Anniversary 4yo Juvenile Hurdle
This is a race that I'm really looking forward to on the opening day. As a marker for the future, there could be some really nice horses involved with the likes of Defi Du Seuil, Apple's Jade and Zarkandar winning this in recent years.
Pentland Hills is a horse I really like from my connections with the Owners Group and I think he is the one to beat here, despite Band Of Outlaws catching the eye in his win at Cheltenham last time.
However, such young horses can often get caught out after big races like that, which could open the door for the highly regarded Christopher Wood.
Trained by Paul Nicholls, he missed the Festival for this and his freshness could make all the difference. He looked a class above when winning at Newbury last time and has some decent form on the flat for Ralph Beckett and Michael Bell.
On a flat track like Aintree, that experience could prove vital and he'd be a good each-way bet for me.
2:50pm - Betway Bowl Chase
The Bowl looks a real cracker on paper and I expect it to be dominated by Clan Des Obeaux.
The Nicholls star has a poor record at Cheltenham, so perhaps the fact he didn't quite have the stamina in the Gold Cup isn't too much of a problem heading to Aintree.
This looks more his bag, and although connections might not want to label him as a flat track horse, his recent wins at Ascot, Kempton and Haydock would suggest that he could be exactly that.
That makes Aintree ideal, and considering he showed signs of his potential when 3rd to Might Bite in this race last season, I think this is a great chance for him to get back to winning ways.
3:25pm - Betway Aintree Hurdle
On ratings, Buveur D'Air is by far the class act in this race, but on what I've seen from him this season, I'm going to have a go at taking him on.
Its been an iffy season from him and falling in the Champion Hurdle last time, pretty much summed up what has been a tricky campaign for fans of the 8yo.
Instead, I'm going to go for Supasundae to pick up the pieces. He ran out of steam in the Stayers Hurdle and could be suited by the return back to 2m 4f. Don't forget, he was also 2nd behind L'Ami Serge in this last year.
4:05pm - Foxhunters Chase
Kruzhlinin is a horse that we know plenty about here in the UK thanks to his time with several British trainers, including Nigel Twiston-Davies, Donald McCain and Philip Hobbs.
These days, he resides with Gordon Elliott who has sparked a revival in him of late, thanks to several attempts in the point-to-point sphere.
He's 4 from 4 in P2P's under Elliott and was third behind Stand Up And Fight in a Hunters Chase at Down Royal. Add to the mix, wins in all of his last seven P2P starts, and he'd have to be worth a go in this similar style event.
4:40pm - Close Brothers Red Rum Handicap Chase
This is another tricky handicap to try and fathom out, but I’ve had Eamon An Cnoic on the radar for a while now and I'm going to stick with him.
He was a winner at Chepstow over 2m, following wind surgery, and then ran with credit to finish 4th when outstayed over 2m 4f at Cheltenham most recently.
The return to the shorter trip should suit, although I would prefer a better Aintree record of PU and 8th.
5:15pm - Mares' Bumper
I won't be betting in this, but one I'll be keeping an eye on is Misty Whisky for Harry Fry.
She has won her last two outings, including a win over Silver Forever in a Listed bumper at Sandown last month.
She was also second here at Aintree on her first racecourse appearance in November and with Sean Bowen in the saddle, she'll have a good go at this.
1:45 – La Bague Au Roi
2:20 – Christopher Wood (EW)
2:50 – Clan Des Obeaux
3:25 – Supasundae
4:05 – Kruzhlinin
4:40 – Eamon An Cnoic
5:15 – Misty WhiskyBack