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25th May 2024 4:54 am

“A difference of opinion is what makes horse racing and missionaries."

Aintree Grand National Meeting: Day 1

These Donors Are AMAZING Thank You

William S – MEJi – Peter N – Nigel B – Ken C – Mark S – James D – William M – Fiona M – Julian A – Jonathan H – Mrs V.M – Pete BN – Gavin C – Thom S – Sarah C – Mark S – Sam H – James R

One of the subscribers asked what courses might be considered similar to Aintree. The straight answer would be Newcastle, Ayr, Doncaster, Ffos Las, Haydock, Newbury, Wetherby, Uttoxeter, and Worcester. Left-handed and reasonably flat. The more worldly-wise amongst you will know that there is no comparative course. At the Pardubice, for example, the fences might once have been considered as  – if not more – challenging, but their police do not link arms on the racecourse side and walk through the grounds and through every bar after the bars have shut, moving the racegoers on and out, in what can only be loosely described as a sprightly fashion! In Spring weather at Aintree, temperatures can often get as high as 12 or 13 degrees. The womenfolk of Liverpool consider that sunbathing weather – and they dress accordingly. The pictures I have are too shocking!

Fingers crossed for my chums who are going …

13:45 – Close Brothers Manifesto Novices’ Chase (G1) (5YO plus) 2m 4f

It is a disappointing opening race, with just the five runners. As a selection starting point, the last 11 winners have been rated 147-155, and I am happy to drop Turner’s winner, GREY DAWNING, and Pendil winner BLOW YOUR WAD. Additionally, all the last 11 winners were rated within 10 lbs of the top-rated runner (GREY DAWNING 158). COLONEL HARRY is rated 147. On paper, that suggests a choice between GINNY’S DESTINY and IL ETAIT TEMPS with COLONEL HARRY possibly borderline. I.E.T’s defeat in the Arkle by 13¼ l LTO was almost entirely down to his dismal jumping, and he was properly spanked by Gaelic Warrior in the Faugheen over this distance – and GW could have won by 20l if he’d put his mind to it. I’m not even sure he gets the trip. So I’m backing GINNY’S DESTINY and I’ll have him in a RFC with COLONEL HARRY as some sort of insurance.


14:05 Boodles Anniversary 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle

On the trends, we can forget about INTELLOTTO, NURBURGRING, and DIRTY DEN. As for the rest, I think this is a reasonable summary. You can, of course, back Nicky Henderson’s horses until the cows come home – my strong advice is to wait until you can see a strike rate going back over 15%+. He had two running this afternoon, and on the performance of his first – that isn’t going to be any time soon.  He has over 30 entries between now and Sunday, and one would reasonably expect something around 5-7 winners to say that the yard is free of trouble. Ibn other words forget SIR GINO. Triumph Hurdle medallists have a decent record in the race, and this year’s runner-up, KARGESE, has a lot going for her and won the G1 Spring Hurdle at the DRF. She was done for toe on the uphill finish, and that ain’t happening here – plus, of course, she gets a handy 7lbs sex allowance (Willie Mullins’ two recent winners of this race were fillies, incidentally, including Zenta last year). For second place, KALIF DU BERLAIS has been priced as though the Adonis was a great race. It wasn’t, and the runner-up was a disappointment at Fairyouse over Easter since. On those grounds, there might be a small sporty forecast to be had, punting KARGESE to beat INTELLOTTO or NURBURGRING for second.


14:55 – William Hill Bowl Chase (G1) (5YO plus) 3m 1f

Whatever way one plays around with this – it’s not a race for big surprises. Essentially, the higher the rating, the better they do. My first shortlist gives me the top 3 in the ratings. SHISHKIN, GERRI COLOMBE and BRAVEMANSGAME.  But of course, Hendo still has to prove he is back in full swing and soft to heavy ground would not be ideal for SHISHKIN.  He did win at Newbury on ground described as Soft to Heavy – but which delivered times akin to GS Soft in places. GERRI COLOMBE handles the conditions at Cheltenham, and there isn’t much between them on their Aintree runs. I think he’s a fair price, but I’d move now because SHISKIN might become a non-runner or the market follows my thinking!  BENNYS KING who was second to Famous Clermont in this last year, is back and will love the conditions. If you fancy an 8/1 shot, I wouldn’t put you off. It’s over a decade since Tartan Snow won this at the age of 13, and Dan Skelton’s still seems up for the game, after winning a heavy ground hunter chase at Leicester by 23 lengths from Hardline in February. That followed a 15l defeat by the Cheltenham Hunters’ Chase
winner, Sine Nomine, at Wetherby.


15:30 – William Hill Aintree Hdl (G1) (4YO plus) 2m 4f

Based on my trends I have BOB OLINGER and IMPAIR ET PASSE. I also have a stat that says in the last 11 years, horses that have won at Aintree before and won at Cheltenham Festival LTO are 9R – 6W – 2P – and that is LANGER DAN. Yes, either of the top two aforementioned could win this and well might – but 7/4 the pair, and nothing to separate them? NEMEAN LION should have gone for the Coral Cup rather than the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham, and it may simply have been a case of the management of expectations after what was a pretty easy Kingwell Hurdle win at Wincanton. His second in the Lanzarote Hurdle off a big weight seemed to suggest that was going to be the future direction of travel, but his performance in the Champion Hurdle quite clearly showed he hasn’t got the zip for a 2m G1. He was also ridden forward at Cheltenham, and I wonder if he will be held up as he goes back up in distance. I think the bet here is to hope one of the top two fades and that NEMEAN LION snatches second.

BOB OLINGER or IMPAIR ET PASSE to beat NEMEAN LION 2 x 1 pts SFC – Also because it is such a strong stat – LANGER DAN 1 pt e/w. 

16:05 – Randox Foxhunters’ Open Hunters’ Chase (National Course) (C2) (6YO plus) 2m 5f

Bizarrely, not one horse meets the majority of my trends for this race, so we might have to cast our eye back to last year. TIME LEADER was 5th here (and 3rd at Cheltenham). You might remember we had him e/w at Cheltenham when giving us a thrill at 50/1 – leading at the third last, clattering the final fence and going down by not much. For the sport, I’m also backing Freddie Mithcell for a place on TEA CLIPPER – he’s run in a brace of May bumpers here before and he might find this a little different. The very best of luck to him. Needing less luck – but old bones take longer to knit – I’m also backing David Maxwell on his CAT TIGER who has been placed here twice before.

TIME LEADER 5 pts Win – CAT TIGER 2 pts e/w – TEA CLIPPER 2 pts e/w

16:40 – Close Brothers Red Rum Hcap Chase (5YO plus) 2m

My simple trends suggest that in all Aintree GN Festival Handicap Chases run on the Mildmay Course horses with an OR of between 131 and 140 and carrying 10st 5lbs – 10st 10lbs and didn’t run at Cheltenham LTO would have produced 83R – 11W – 7P for an A/E of 2.22 – a 93 pt profit to SP and a 112% ROI. The qualifier is

BLACK GERRY 3 pts e/w

17:15 – Goffs Nickel Coin Mares’ Bumper (G2) (4YO to 6YO) 2m 1f

HONKY TONK HIGHWAY 5 pts Win – MONGIBELLO 2 pts e/w – METKAYINA 1½ pts e/w

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David Cameron
1 month ago

13:45 GINNY’S DESTINY 3 pts Win [2nd 4/1 -3] – 1pt RFC with COLONEL HARRY [2nd and 4th -1] -4 Tot: -4
14:05 KARGESE 4 pts Win[2nd 7/4 -4] – 2 x ½ SFC to beat INTELLOTTO or NURBURGRING (NR) [2nd & 4th -½] -4½ Tot: -8½
14:55 GERRI COLOMBE 6 pts Win [Won 9/4 +13.50] Tot: +5
15:30 BOB OLINGER or IMPAIR ET PASSE to beat NEMEAN LION 2 x 1 pts SFC [2nd & 1st – 7th -2] – LANGER DAN 1 pt e/w [3rd 18/1 +2.60] Tot: +5.60
16:05 TIME LEADER 5 pts Win [4th 8/1 -5] – CAT TIGER 2 pts e/w [u/r 28/1 -4] – TEA CLIPPER 2 pts e/w [5th 25/1 +8] Tot: +4.60
16:40 BLACK GERRY 3 pts e/w [9th 18/1 -6] Tot: -1.40
17:15 HONKY TONK HIGHWAY 5 pts Win [10th 10/3 -5] – MONGIBELLO 2 pts e/w [14th 8/1 -4] – METKAYINA 1½ pts e/w [4th 16/1 +3.30] -5.70 Tot: -7.1

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