The signs are ever-increasing that jumps racing is back firmly on centre stage and, after two days at Cheltenham on Friday and Saturday, this afternoon sees the return of Aintree for a new season.
The Merseyside venue hosts a seven-race card (12.47-4.17) with the Grade 2 Monet’s Garden Old Roan Handicap Chase the highlight at 1.57.
Watch every race from Aintree – as well as all five UK and Ireland meetings on Sunday – via live streaming when logged into MansionBet. Our expert tipster has selections for all seven Aintree races.
12.47 – Join Racing TV Now Maiden Hurdle (2m4f)
Danny Kirwan is an obvious starting point, but he has been something of a talking horse and, thus far, hasn’t quite lived up to the hype. He was second in a Grade 2 Ascot novice in December 2018, but easily beaten on heavy going at Exeter (2m2½f) in February of this year on this only run since.
His stable is in superb form, but there are risks at a short price despite the latent ability he likely possesses.
Torn And Frayed has claims on form, but perhaps £300,000 newcomer KILLER KANE will make a bright start for Colin Tizzard and Robbie Power. He’s a half-brother to Go Native and won his sole start in points.
Selection: Killer Kane @
1.22 – Every Race Live On Racing TV Veterans’ Handicap Chase (3m1f)
These veterans’ chases have become a real plus-point of the National Hunt sphere and they are throwing up some cracking finishes. Venetia Williams’ One Style relishes the mud and had won five chases on the bounce prior to a fall when still contending in the Kim Muir at Cheltenham in March.
He’s a player. Perhaps Dan Skelton can give the DON POLI fanclub a reason to cheer.
He won an RSA Chase and placed in a Cheltenham Gold Cup in his pomp and, if any of that old fire still burns, a mark of 132 might be lenient starting out for this new trainer.
Selection: Don Poli @
1.57 – Monet’s Garden Old Roan Limited Handicap Chase (Grade 2, 2m3½f)
With the Paul Nicholls yard in superb autumn form MAGIC SAINT is fancied to come out punching on his return. Having shown lots of promise in France when trained by Guillaume Macaire, the six-year-old has been a mixed bag since arriving at Ditcheat.
He won a decent Newbury handicap (2m½f, good to soft) last November either side of modest efforts at Cheltenham – the latest of which on New Year’s Day was his most recent run.
Perhaps that Cotswolds venue is not the place for him, and this flatter layout will play to his strengths. Itchy Feet is a huge danger if his jumping is up to scratch.
Selection: Magic Saint @
2.32 – Watch Race Replays At racingtv.com Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase
A very smart bumper performer in the 2017/18 season, ACEY MILAN won three on the spin in that sphere before finishing fifth in the Champion at Cheltenham (favourite).
He was a bit of a mixed bag over hurdles and now begins a chasing career with questions over him to some extent.
He does though handle testing ground, goes well fresh and is related to some useful chasers. After a wind op since he was last spotted, Anthony Honeyball’s charge may go well.
Selection: Acey Milan @
3.07 – Watch On Racing TV Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle (3m½f)
JOBSONFIRE improved rapidly once sent handicapping last season, scoring decisively at Doncaster and having little trouble in the follow-ups at Wetherby and Carlisle.
They were all around three-miles on soft-ish ground and if he’s well in himself on seasonal return this very lightly-raced eight-year-old should prove a tough nut to crack from a mark of 117.
Same Circus caused a 40/1 shock in this contest last year on seasonal bow and Donald McCain’s mare is off the same rating now.
Selection: Jobsonfire @
3.42 – arenagroup.com Handicap Hurdle (2m4f)
Clever As A Fox improved markedly with summer wins at Uttoxeter and Perth. The 10lb rise is not as concerning as the likely testing ground here, however.
Strong Glance put in a pleasing run (third) at Market Rasen on his comeback and should go well but perhaps MONTE CRISTO can start to truly fulfil his potential for the champion trainer.
The French import justified longs odds-on at Newbury in February in a juvenile hurdle (2m½f, soft) and could go on to better things this term.
Selection: Monte Cristo @
4.17 – Visit racingtv.com EBF Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat Race (2m1f)
The top three on the card – Hunny Moon, Windswept Girl and You Caught My Eye – are all penalised having already won in this sphere.
Each has valid claims again and they are hard to separate with two coming from the Anthony Honeyball yard and the other – Hunny Moon – representing in-form Fergal O’Brien.
On that basis, it might be worth an each-way play on rules newcomer DRUMLEE GETAWAY for Stuart Edmonds. The yard’s bumper runners tend to do well and she was an easy winner on her sole Irish point-to-point outing.
Selection: Drumlee Getaway @
*All odds correct at time of writing