Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Quick thoughts on Thursday's card - Aintree 2011

Very quick comments on the first day of a meeting that I've always found particularly tricky.

Only six runners in the Betfair Bowl (3.05) but at the prices I'm inclined to oppose Denman twenty days after his excellent second in the Gold Cup; he had a hard enough race that day and at the age of eleven isn't getting any younger. Having finished second in the previous two runnings of the Gold Cup (behind Kauto Star in 2009 and Imperial Commander in 2010), Denman fell two out in this race in 2009 and also disappointed when fourth in the Guinness Gold Cup at Punchestown in 2010. On official ratings Punchestowns is the next best horse - he has 19 pounds to find but he would surely have been beaten by Pasco the last time had that one not choked up Kempton's long home straight. Good ground is the key to Nacarat although there's a slight question mark about his ability to see out this trip at this level. Carole's Legacy was second at the Festival, so the fresh horses are of most interest. Punchestowns isn't totally written off but Nacarat beat Deep Purple six and a half lengths in the Charlie Hall at Wetherby last November - Nacarat get the vote.   

Many see the opener as Big Buck's versus Grand Crus round two after the World Hurdle three weeks ago. If ever Big Buck's was to be beaten it was surely at Cheltenham the last time with the way the race was run and Walsh dropping his stick before the last. I saw Carlito Brigante win the Coral Cup in something of a common canter but he's upped in class here and on official ratings has 34 pounds to make with the favourite. The layers aren't taking many chances by offering 10/1 this one - he wasn't stopping at Cheltenham but isn't guaranteed to stay and I note he won a Flat handicap at Leopardstown over a mile just under two years ago! No selection.

Zarkander's victory in the Triumph was impressive but the gelding will be no price in the 2.35 while Herons Well would be the suggestion to those looking for a sporting each-way shout in the Fox Hunters' Chase.

Medermit was a little disappointing in the Arkle but is given another chance over an extra half mile at 4.50; Wishfull Thinking will be popular and matches the selection on official ratings while Paul Nicholls' Royal Charm is given every respect.

1 comment:

GeeDee said...

Denman (5/4f) never travelled in the Bowl - Nacarat(7/2) took the honours, 6 lengths clear of Carole's Legacy (4/1) in second.

As expected Big Buck's beat Grand Crus while Carlito Brigante made a mistake to out and weakened therefater to come home fourth 12 lengths behind third-placed Won In The Dark (66/1)

Medermit(15/8f) was disappointing again, well and truly put in his place by Wishfull Thinking who took it up after the third and won with a bit to spare.