William Hill ambassador Nick Luck looks ahead to day two from the Aintree Grand National Festival, picking out his best bets in each of the seven races.
BRONN is taken to gain revenge on Gerri Colombe in the opener on Day Two at Aintree (1.45pm), at odds of 10/3. Although the score is quite comprehensively in Gerri’s favour, Bronn’s relative inexperience over fences makes him open to more progress, while the way he moved through the race at Cheltenham strongly suggests that this track will suit him better of the pair.
GOOD RISK AT ALL could run very well in the William Hill Handicap Hurdle (2.20pm). A smart looking horse last year, he’s been a bit restricted this time, but ran really well at Cheltenham, despite an interrupted preparation, making up a ton of ground a bit too quickly while parked out very wide. Although his chance had gone before the final flight, he kept plugging away gamely. If all the rain arrives, that will massively bolster his chance and 12/1 could be a steal.
Two bets in the Top Novices’ (2.55pm). The first is INTHEPOCKET – I’m unclear why this horse isn’t favourite at the time of writing (currently 9/2). There is no quibble with either the Supreme fourth or the manner in which it was achieved. As such, he should win if repeating that effort. The other recommendation at big odds of 20/1 is PEMBROKE, a strong County Hurdle fancy who wasn’t quite ready for that type of race. He’s more than worth a bash back in graded novice company and will enjoy wet ground.
HITMAN, a horse loved only by his mother (and me) can win his Grade One in the Melling (3.30pm) at 5/1. Take out the King George blip and his record is pretty consistent, if frustrating. And you know that he loves Aintree and went very well in this last year under today’s jockey, when finishing behind Fakir D’Oudairies. It’s true to say that Fakir hasn’t looked the same horse this term and Hitman is twice the price after a Cheltenham run that saw him show much greater application in headgear. Pic D’Orhy is Cobden’s choice, but he might have got this one wrong.
FINAL ORDERS can pick up the winning thread in the Topham (4.05pm). When a string of victories ends, it’s easy to assume that the handicapper is in charge, but the Grand Annual was ultimately too much of a speed test for him. That said, he kept on admirably to make you think he remains in good form and is fairly priced at around 10/1. This step up in trip and good jumping test should both suit well.
STAY AWAY FAY is a perfectly fair price at 10/3 at the time of writing to follow up his Cheltenham win in the Sefton (4.40pm). I can see the case for a couple of outsiders running well here – Blenkinsop will take money and We’veallbeencaught is overpriced – but the selection was very good at the Festival, with his performance most noteworthy for its slick jumping. He’s unexposed and tenacious and can get these on the stretch from some way out.
NIBIRU must have a serious chance in the last (5.15pm) at 17/2. We were reminded at Cheltenham of Tony Martin’s skill in races such as this and were told that Liam McKenna is a cut above most conditionals or amateurs. The horse in question here surely only has to repeat his rather luckless Leopardstown run to be right in the mix, and the British handicapper appears to have missed him somewhat.