Apr 10, 727 days ago

Aintree Friday Preview

Aintree Friday Preview

The second day of the Grand National meeting on Friday features three Grade 1 races as well as the hugely competitive Topham Chase over the big fences.

The action begins at 1.40 with a two and a half mile handicap hurdle in which Nicky Henderson saddles four runners. Theinval was always travelling like a winner at Kempton last time and bids to defy a 10lb hike in the weights. Stable companion Snake Eyes has always threatened to land a major handicap while Pearl Swan ran an encouraging race at Cheltenham for Paul Nicholls.

The Grade 2 Novices’ Hurdle at 2.15 sees Nicky Richards’ highly-regarded Glingerburn put to the test. Henderson could again feature here with easy Doncaster winner Cardinal Walter. The first of the Grade 1 events is the Mildmay Novices’ Chase at 2.50 in which Saphir Du Rheu is the star attraction.

The talented grey was runner-up in the World Hurdle last time out but Paul Nicholls firmly believes that he can transfer that talent to the larger obstacles. His biggest rival may be stable companion Irish Saint, although he would prefer softer ground.

The highlight of the day is the Grade 1 Melling Chase at 3.25 which has attracted a top quality field of ten runners. Champagne Fever looks set to start favourite for Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh but opposition includes 2014 Champion Chaser Sire De Grugy and 2013 Ryanair winner Cue Card. Tony McCoy is an eye-catching booking for Cheltenham third Don Cossack.

The Topham Chase over the Grand National fences at 4.05 has attracted a maximum field of thirty runners. McCoy will be a popular choice aboard Eastlake for Jonjo O’Neill while Darna and Monetaire renew rivalry after finishing first and second at Cheltenham. Sam Waley-Cohen gets another sight of the Aintree fences riding Rajdhani Express for Nicky Henderson and Ruben Cotter represents the Nicholls stable.

The final Grade 1 action of the day is the Sefton Novices’ Chase at 4.40. Vyta Du Roc ran well at Cheltenham and should go well for Henderson while Roi Des Francs was third in the Martin Pipe Hurdle for Mullins. The card is brought to a close at 5.15 with the Champion Bumper. Persian Delight is likely to be well supported here after winning impressively on his debut for Nicholls at Taunton in February.

Selections: 1.40 Theinval, 2.15 Cardinal Walter, 2.50 Saphir Du Rheu, 3.25 Champagne Fever, 4.05 Eastlake, 4.40 Roi Des Francs, 5.15 Persian Delight

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