Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Aintree 2016 - Thursday

After my most successful Cheltenham in recent memory, unusually I come to Aintree with some money in my pocket; I'm in no particular rush to give it back to the bookmakers.

To my mind Aintree's April fixture remains one of the most trappy in the calendar. Those Cheltenham Festival winners - can they come out on top three weeks later over a course that presents a very different type of examination?

Added to the habitual dilemmas, this year Willie Mullins brings his stable stars over from Ireland in an attempt to secure his first British trainers' title.

I certainly won't be knocking anyone out of the way to take an odds-on price about Annie Power in the Doom Bar Aintree Hurdle at 3.25; champion hurdlers have a poor record in this, run over a distance of two and a half miles. Annie had four of her five opponents behind last month but course and distance winner Nichols Canyon is a threat here while Coral's 25/1 about Camping Ground looks too big; Robert Walford's charge impressed in the Relkeel and will be better suited by this trip with give underfoot.

Cue Card is the form selection for the Betfred Bowl (2.50) and is on a retrieval mission after a nasty-looking fall three from home in the Gold Cup. He hadn't jumped with particular fluency up to that point but, that said, there appeared plenty left in the tank when he came to grief. Quotes around the even money mark make little appeal.

They're likely to go hard up front in the opener with both Sizing John and Arzal in the line-up - Rock The World has also made the running previously.

I intend to have a small each-way wager on Azzuri in the Betfred Anniversary 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle (2.15).

The Triumph at Cheltenham was dominated by Irish runners and the first three home head the market here; I tipped Alan King's Sceau Royal for that race but he was a desperate disappointment in twelfth. Zubayr was one further place behind in thirteenth, having previously beaten Azzuri in the Adonis at Kempton.

Azzuri went off like a scalded cat that day but he maintained his gallop to the line, beaten just under four lengths (Nicky Henderson's Khezerabad a further three quarters of a length behind third). That looked a marked step-up on his second run for the Dan Skeleton yard; I'm hoping the first-time tongue-tie can elicit some further improvement on a track that should suit his style of racing.

At 33/1 (BetFred) Azzuri is an each-way selection for those of an adventurous disposition... 


TW said...

Smashing write up for Day 1.

Whilst, at the odds, I’d rather be laying Annie Power than backing her I think the historical note on Champion Hurdle winners probably does not apply in this instance given that punters were questioning her ability to be as effective back at 2 miles at Cheltenham and the mare is certainly the one they all have to beat.

I hope I’m wrong but I fear that the Adonis form is starting to look less than solid and if the rain does not come in buckets Ivanovich Gorbatov is possibly one of the more solid favourites on the opening day.

I’m taken with Pearls Legend (14/1 Paddy Power) to run a big race if being on the go since October – including a good run in the Johnny Henderson – does not make this one race too many for the season.

Good luck

GeeDee said...

Nice counterpoints, TW.

Good luck with Pearls Legend, third in the same race last year.


TW said...

Azzuri franks the Adonis form! Great selection that should ensure a profitable Aintree Festival, well done.

GeeDee said...

Azzuri (20/1) set out to make all. He was passed by easy winner Apple's Jade (3/1) before three out and lost second to 7/4 favourite Ivanovich Gorbatov after the last but stayed on to make a place in third ahead of Diego Du Charmil (10/1).