After a long-ish layoff after sitting in the Caribbean sun, I’m back on Best of Bets with my selections for Day One of the Aintree Grand National Festival. Let’s hope for some winners, and some better luck than Cheltenham offered.
NAP: BANBRIDGE – Manifesto Novices’ Chase – 13/8
My Cheltenham Festival nap is finally back! After missing the Turners’ due to the ground, connections think that he’ll suit the better ground here. Despite the fact the forecast has given rain out for two of the three days in Liverpool. However, the form from the Irish Arkle has been backed up by El Fabiolo, and horses that missed Cheltenham seem to gain an advantage over horses that went. Stage Star, and Saint Roi fall victim, so it seems Banbridge has been primed for this race.
E/W BET: Scriptwriter – 4-Y-O Anniversary Hurdle – 7/1
At one point Milton Harris thought this horse would batter the Irish in the Triumph. He would have had a job on to get into the first 10! His last run at Kempton wasn’t pretty, but I think the run can be excused. He was raced differently, being covered up on the inside instead of being produced late on. He also scoped badly after the race too which also makes more sense for his poor showing at Kempton. Harris knows how to win this race, by any means, with Knight Salute last year. Scriptwriter is a similar type, and Harry Cobden is an eye-catching jockey booking.
Handicap Best: Dancing On My Own – Red Rum Handicap Chase – 8/1
This could be the worst piece of handicapping seen on a Irish horse at this Festival. In saying that, ground was the excuses for those two runs, so should get it a bit more to his liking today. The de Bromhead stable hasn’t been flying since Cheltenham. One win from their last 30 runs isn’t good, but with everything looking bleak for this horse, things may turn out good. Each-way fancies in the race are Mackenberg, for Donald McCain. Northern trainers at Northern festivals are a massive plus and Mackenberg has fallen steadily down the handicap to find his last winning mark of 140. The other is the rank outsider Vado Forte. Another that missed Cheltenham, and despite not winning since the Galway festival, he could find one of the extra places to run a big race.
13:45 – BANBRIDGE (NAP)
14:20 – Zenta (SCRIPTWRITER E/W)
14:55 – Ahoy Senor
15:30 – Zanahiyr (W/O Constitution Hill)
16:05 – Winged Leader
16:40 – Dancing On My Own (Mackenberg & Vado Forte e/w)
17:30 – Lunar Discovery (She’s A Fine Wine e/w)
The very best of luck!