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Lucky Loader’s Day 2 Aintree Preview: “ I think his season has been geared around it”

Thursday was a frustrating day after we had a string of seconds. It might sound like pocket talk, but I think the stewards made the wrong decision with Bob Olinger, and he should have been awarded the race after the interference made by Impaire Et Passe. It will be interesting to see if connections decide to appeal the decision, but we’ll have a while to find out.

Moving on to Friday, we’ve got another quality card to get through. Hopefully, we will have a better day and get some winners on the board at Aintree.

Aintree National Fences Horse Racing

1.45 Aintree – Iroko (Win)

Even though there are only six runners, this is a tricky race, as claims can be made for most of them, but the one I am going to side with is Iroko. I thought he ran better than the bare form suggests when he finished fifth in the Turners at Cheltenham last time out. That was his first run since his impressive chase debut win at Warwick in November, where afterwards he was ruled out for the season. 

Luckily, connections were able to get him back, and if you go on his form over hurdles last season, he’s right up there with the best of these. In the Turners, his jockey Jonjo O’Neill nursed him home up the running, and he didn’t have a hard time running through beaten horses. I think stepping up in trip will bring out further improvement, and I can see him going close here.

2.20 Aintree – Kateira (Each Way) / Making Headway (Each Way)

Unfortunately, I’m being boring here, and I do like the two towards the top of the market. 

I put Kateira up in my blog when she ran at Kempton last month, where she didn’t shape too badly to finish fourth in a competitive handicap. She’s been tried over a variety this season by Dan Skelton, but I think her optimum is 2m4f. If you go back through her form from last year, she finished second in the Grade 1 Mersey Novices’ Hurdle behind Irish Point at this meeting. If the ground continues to dry out, I think she’s got a strong chance.

The other one I like is Making Headway. He has been running well in a lot of decent races this season, whether it’s been in graded company or hot handicaps. The last time we saw him, he ran ok, to finish fourth in the Imperial Cup at Sandown over 2m and he looked like a horse that was crying for a step up in trip. Connections now decide to take that chance, and it shouldn’t be a problem as he’s won a point-to-point in the past and he should improve on pedigree. With a nice low racing weight, it’s hard to see him not being in the frame.

2.55 Aintree – Mystical Power (Win) / Golden Ace (Each Way)

Mystical Power looks like the standout candidate in this race. I wasn’t keen on his chances going into the Supreme, but I thought he came out with great credit, and he was just outstayed by Slade Steel. I do think he’s got the better of the majority of these rivals, and if he can replicate his run at Cheltenham, he’s the one to beat.

I’ll also have to put up Golden Ace, whom I tipped to win the Mares’ Novice at Cheltenham. She oozed class when winning that day and travelled comfortably on the bridle. Furthermore, that form has worked out well since, as Jade Du Grugy came out to win the Grade 1 Mares’ Novice Hurdle at Fairyhouse over Easter. This will be tougher taking on the geldings but she is undefeated over hurdles, and it remains to be seen where her ceiling lies.

3.30 Aintree – Pic D’Orhy (Win)

My head has been going around in circles for this race, as again, several of them have claims, but Pic D’Orhy arrives here fresh, and this would have been his main spring target. He loves it around Aintree, having won this race last year, and he’ll appreciate the drying ground.

 The others seemed to have hard races at Cheltenham, and even though I think Jonbon is worth a go at the trip, I am not sure he’s the most trustworthy.

4.05 Aintree – Francky Du Berlais (Each Way)

There is only one horse who has been on my radar for this, and it is Francky Du Beralis. I put him up in my ante-post preview for this race, as I think his season has been geared around it. 

His trainer, Peter Bowen, has an excellent record in the Topham, winning it on five occasions. This horse actually finished fourth in this race two years ago off a 1lb higher mark, and he has shown that he still retains his ability this season, which included a decent in the Cross Country Chase at Cheltenham in December. 

We know he’ll like the fences, and the drying ground would be in his favour. I think he has a huge chance each way at the prices.

4.40 Aintree – Shanagh Bob (Win)

I might sound like a bit of a hypocrite siding with Shanagh Bob after what I said about Nicky Henderson’s stable form, but I want to take on those horses that ran in the Albert Bartlett. The son of Mahler was on my shortlist for the Festival as I really liked his win at Cheltenham in December. That race had worked out well and produced several subsequent winners. 

Shanagh Bob isn’t a flashy horse, but he’s a proper unit that looks like he’ll stay all day. I just think the fact that he comes here as a fresher horse than most gives him the edge, and I am happy to just side with him.

5.15 Aintree – Lutrell Lad (Each Way)

Nothing was really jumping out at me at first glance, but after looking at the field, I thought Lutrell Lad might be able to run well each-way. He’s not been since January, probably because of the ground, but when we last saw him, I didn’t think he ran badly enough to finish third at Doncaster.

He’s a horse that appears to be on an ok mark of 128, and with Cameron Iles claiming a handy 7lb of his back and stamina for further, I can see him outrunning his odds.

Bet Of The Day: 4.05 – Francky Du Berlais (Each Way)

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