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Lucky Loader’s Day 1 Aintree Preview: “I Can See Her Taking All The Beating”

With the rain that has been falling at Aintree in recent days, we’re going to be looking for horses that will need to handle the testing conditions. Overall, the card on Thursday looks interesting, and the race I am most looking forward to seeing is the Aintree Bowl, as it looks wide open and cases can be made for a few. Whatever way you decide to play, I hope you have a great day, and please remember to gamble responsibly!

Aintree National Fences Horse Racing

1.45 Aintree – Grey Dawning (Win)

I am going to be siding with Grey Dawning here, as I think he will confirm the form again with Ginny’s Destiny from the Turners’ Novice Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. I think stamina is going to be at a premium here, and we know Grey Dawning can stay up to three miles after winning over that distance at Warwick back in January. For me, Ginny’s Destiny has had some hard races this season, and most of his form has come at Cheltenham, so I am keen to take him on. Il Etait Temps is an interesting runner stepping up in trip for Willie Mullins, but he needs to prove his stamina on this ground.

2.20 Aintree – Kargese (Win)

I can see Sir Gino being a marmite horse on the day. He clearly has a big reputation, and he was very impressive winning at Cheltenham on Trials Day in January, but it’s hard to trust him with the form of Nicky Henderson’s stable. Yes, there have been a few glimmers over the last couple of weeks, but taking a shade of odds-on doesn’t make any appeal to me.

The one that is very consistent and that I think is worth a try is Kargese. I put her up in the Triumph Hurdle, where she ran well to finish second behind Majborough. Before that, she won the Grade 1 Spring Juvenile Hurdle at the Dublin Racing Festival. She might not be flashy, but you know what you’re going to get with her, and she won’t be the testing ground. Moreover, she’ll be getting the fillies’ allowance, which means she’ll get 7lbs from all her rivals. For me, she’s a great alternative to take on Sir Gino.

2.55 Aintree – Ahoy Senor (Each Way)

Many people think that this is going to be a match between Gerri Colombe and Shishkin, but I think there is a bit more depth to this race than first meets the eye.

Gerri Colombe had a hard enough race for me in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, taking on the likes of Galopin Des Champs, and Gordon Elliott’s team hasn’t been firing on all cylinders. The same comment applies to Shishkin, as previously mentioned with Sir Gino. I think he is the best horse in the race, but I can’t side with him given the recent yard form of Nicky Henderson.

Corbetts Cross is interesting stepping out of novice company, and he was a good winner of the National Hunt Chase, but this is a tougher assignment, and I am not sure of the form of his Cheltenham Festival success.

Therefore, I am coming down on the side of Ahoy Senor, who loves it around Aintree. He’s won twice at the Grand National meeting and was only hunted down by Shishkin in the closing stages of last year’s race. It’s been well documented that he hasn’t been in great form this year, but he always seems to save his best for Aintree, as the track really suits his running style. Maybe the ground this year might be a little too testing for him, but at the prices, he looks too big, and I can see him running a good race.

3.30 Aintree – Bob Olinger (Win) / Nemean Lion (Each Way)

Bob Olinger has looked like his old self this season. His most impressive display came when he bolted up in the Relkeel Hurdle at Cheltenham on New Years’ Day, beating Marie’s Rock and Brewin’upastorm, who both have gone on to win since. The last time we saw him, he wasn’t disgraced in the Irish Champion Hurdle, finishing second behind State Man, where the trip was probably a little bit too sharp for him. I think stepping back to this distance will suit him here, and he looks like the one to beat.

Of the others, Nemean Lion might be able to chase him home. He’s been campaigned mostly over 2m this season, but I think he has been crying out for the step up in trip. The son of Golden Horn doesn’t mind a bit of cut in the ground, and his run, where he finished second in the Lanzarote Handicap Hurdle, suggests the distance shouldn’t be an issue. I think we’ll see an improved performance from him.

4.05 Aintree – Lieutenant Rocco (Each Way) / Bennys King (Each Way)

Lieutenant Rocco’s career hasn’t been plain sailing, but he has always proven that on his day, he is a good horse. Only a couple of years ago, he was a leading contender for the Ultima, but unfortunately, he had to miss it because of an injury. Since then, he’s been a bit in and out, but he did run a respectable race to finish fourth in last year’s Cross County Chase at Cheltenham. Experience over those fences often bodes well for horse running in this race, and it looks like he’s been campaigned with this race in mind after he ran solid races in defeat at Taunton and Wincanton. He might not be good enough to win, but I can see him running well each-way.

The other horse I like for this race is Bennys King. He finished second in this race last year, and he looked as good as ever when bolting up on heavy ground at Leicester in February. If he can put up a similar performance to last year’s effort, I can see him going very close.

4.40 Aintree – Homme Public (Each Way) / Dancing On My Own (Each Way)

This looks like a tricky puzzle to solve, but I like a couple here. The first of them is Homme Public, who has been laid out for this race. I was impressed by the way he battled to win at Doncaster, because if you stopped the race at the second last fence, he looked beaten. 

Even though most of his best form has come on good ground, the ground looked pretty testing that day. He has experienced it in the past with runs over further at Haydock, where he shaped ok, so I am not too concerned about it here. Moreover, he comes here with a fresher approach, as many horses who are lining up in this race come from the Grand Annual, which was only a couple of weeks ago, and I am keen to take them on.

The other horse on my shortlist is Dancing On My Own. He has an excellent record in this race, as he was a good winner of it 12 months ago. It looks like connections have plotted a similar campaign, and he comes here fresher than most, which seemed to work for him last year. Again, there are some ground concerns with him, but most of these haven’t shown decent form on soft ground. Though he’s 8lb higher this time around, I think his record around Aintree speaks for itself, and I am happy to have a saver on him.

5.15 Aintree – Honky Tonk Highway (Win)

Honky Tonk Highway was backed off the boards when winning a Listed race at Sandown last month. She was a bit green early, but she seemed to be getting the hang of things late on, and there was a lot to like about the way she won. If you go back through her point-to-point form, she beat Diva Luna pretty comfortably, who won a Listed bumper at Market Rasen earlier in the season. With her proven stamina and form on the testing ground, I can see her taking all the beating. 

Bet Of The Day: Honky Tonk Highway

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