Neil Morrice brings us all of his best bets and tips for Day 2 of the Grand National Festival from Aintree as well as his tips from Leicester and Kempton Park.
RANDOX HEALTH GRAND NATIONAL MEETING, DAY 2
Race 1 PERTEMPS NETWORK HANDICAP HURDLE (Grade 3)
No10 MISTER COFFEY (Nap)
Trainer: Nicky Henderson – Jockey: Nico de Boinville
Edwardstone rates a solid entity in this wickedly competitive opener, but I fancy the chances of MISTER COFFEY turning the tables on him from Newbury, where the pair respectively finished third and seventh in the Betfair Hurdle. On that occasion Mister Coffee was anchored towards the rear as his rider attempted to get him settled, and then had to angle out through weakening horses. Ultimately his finishing position was disappointing, but he’s been freshened up for this and remains a well-handicapped horse that is worth backing. For exotic permutations roughie, Amour De Nuit is also worth including.
Race 2 BETWAY TOP NOVICES’ HURDLE (Grade 1)
No9 TIMBERMAN (Each Way)
Trainer: Fergal O’Brien – Jockey: Paddy Brennan
Off one clear cut win Dusart could be anything, while Ajero is on an impressive winning spree and Third Time Lucki perhaps has the best form. However, at a huge price, it might be worth siding with TIMBERMAN, who isn’t the most straightforward of rides but might benefit from this big jump up the class ladder against more established opponents. A former inmate of the Henderson stable, the selection is highly regarded and possibly his new trainer’s best horse. If getting it all together he gets into enter the shake-up at rewarding odds.
Race 3 BETWAY MILDMAY NOVICES’ CHASE (Grade 1)
No8 THE BIG BREAKAWAY
Trainer: Colin Tizzard – Jockey: Harry Cobden
Several of these tried their luck at Cheltenham with varying levels of success. Chantry House was probably handed the Marsh Chase when Envoi Allen crashed out, and I wonder whether his jumping is slick enough to see him follow-up here ? Sporting John was beaten when falling behind Monkfish and this could end up being a Colin Tizzard benefit with THE BIG BREAKAWAY preferred to Fiddlerontheroof. The latter is a model of consistency and gave Monkfish most to think about in that race. However, even though he has 11 lengths to make up on his stablemate, The Big Breakaway has a classy side to him which could manifest itself with Cobden an eye taking jockey booking for the six-year-old. He is the most expensive National Hunt purchase trained in England, and needs to begin living up to that hefty price tag.
Race 4 MARSH CHASE (Grade 1)
No1 DASHEL DRASHER
Trainer: Jeremy Scott – Jockey: Matt Griffiths
The decision to by-pass Cheltenham can bear fruit for connections of bold front-runner DASHEL DRASHER. His Ascot hat-trick in a conditions chase, handicap and a Grade 1 helped bring a warming glow to winter Saturdays, and now he gets the chance to consolidate round a course that should prove tailor-made for him. While Master Tommytucker and Politologue might take him on for the lead, he’s a faster jumper than that pair that can operate from just off the pace if necessary. Tepresenting a small West Country stable, there would be no more popular a winner in Liverpool today.
Race 5 RANDOX TOPHAM HANDICAP CHASE (Grade 3)
No22 MORNING VICAR (Each Way)
Trainer: Nicky Henderson – Jockey: James Bowen
jumping and the ability to keep out of trouble are the hallmarks required for
victory in the Topham. My selection MORNING VICAR has learned much since
falling on chase debut and caught the eye for much of the journey before
weakening behind Mount Ida over three and a quarter miles at Cheltenham. The
key is the drop back in distance to two and three-quarter miles combined with
the emphasis on jumping and a new jockey. If getting into a rhythm the
eight-year-old can play a big part, though with 28 runners tackling the famous
fences this is going to be a war of attrition. At a bigger Price Glen Forsa
could up his game and earn, while others to consider for your exotics are the
Mullins challenger Livelovelaugh and top weight Ibleo.
Race 6 DOOM BAR SEFTON NOVICES’ HURDLE (Grade 1)
No5 CAPE GENTLEMAN
Trainer: Emmet Mullins – Jockey: Rachael Blackmore
Bravemansgame came up short in the Ballymore and at a short price may be worth taking on, even though this longer trip ought to suit him. He didn’t carry his usual condition at the Festival, and if again vulnerable could fall to one of the Irish contingents of whom CAPE GENTLEMAN really takes the eye under Rachael Blackmore. Rachael will not repeat her top jockey status this week, but she has a great chance here, on a lightly-raced individual that has won two from three over hurdles and looks to be improving. Ireland’s other challenger Streets Of Doyen finished third in the Albert Bartlett and on that evidence is a must include in all exotics.
Race 7 PINSENT MASONS HANDICAP HURDLE
No17 COPPERLESS (Each Way)
Trainer: Olly Murphy – Jockey: Lewis Stones
The novice COPPERLESS will carry a decent amount of my money in this last hurrah before the Saturday Grand National card. He’s beaten a couple of more experienced foes in Hooper at Market Rasen and Chez Hands at Taunton with plenty up his sleeve, and is held in very high regard by his trainer. As long as he can mix and match it with horses that are more streetwise he has to have a serious chance, and with Hollywood offering extended places in this, he rates a serious ‘each way’ prospect.
Race 2 No1 DANNY BLEU
Trainer: Mick Channon – Jockey: Silvestre De Sousa
DANNY BLEU forms part of a twin attack on this seller from his stable, but looks it’s number one. The Clodovil colt beat only one home behind Spycatcher at Pontefract on Tuesday, but this is a whole different ball game.
Race 7 No3 MARS LANDING (Nap)
Trainer: Sir Michael Stoute – Jockey: Pat Dobbs
MARS LANDING had the look of the proverbial bridesmaid when posting figures of 2232 in as many starts last season. However, with his stable in sensational form and fresh from a four-timer on Wednesday, the gelding can put his best for forward. He has plenty of ability and is too good to remain a maiden much longer.
Race 4 No9 PETIT BAY
Trainer: Sir Mark Todd – Jockey: David Probert
As a lightly-raced improver PETIT BAY needs respecting even though she’s been off the track since the middle of last summer. The Dick Turpin mare was first and second in back-to-back handicaps at Leicester when last seen, and has more going for her than most.
Race 6 No1 BREATH OF SUN (Nap)
Trainer: Clive Cox – Jockey: Adam Kirby
In what looks a straight match BREATH OF SUN can beat Dragon Symbol. Both are trying to complete hat-tricks but Breath Of Sun can prove the more progressive on the way to better things.
Place Accumulater Perm (Races 2-8)
4 x 8 x 9, 11, 5 x 6, 1 x 1 x 1 x 2, 11, 4