Early Bird – Aintree Antepost

No bets for Wednesday, instead some ante post for the coming week!

Aintree Festival

With the Festival beginning this Thursday I think it is key to start looking for value bets at this stage prior to the night before when some of the value has disappeared. We have a much better idea of what is likely to be running and there is nothing worse for a strong fancy to be put up by a leading tipster and the price going.

Thursday

2:20 Aintree Doom Bar Anniversary 4yo Hurdle

Apples Shakira may finally get to take on stablemate We Have A Dream after the latter missed the Cheltenham Festival. The extra month off should have helped the latters chances and though several are crabbing Apples Shakira for only finishing 4th in the Triumph, it is still the best form on display. Style De Garde represents the Fred Winter having finished second there, though with the winner and 5th both coming out and flopping since then it leaves questions to be answered with regards to the form of the race. To find the value in this race I think it is worth looking beyond the form of Cheltenham considering that was run on soft ground, with this likely to be on good to soft. That is partly why I think you can ignore the run of Sussex Ranger there. Keen early, it almost knocked the first hurdle out of the ground it hit it so hard. A couple of later mistakes on the soft/heavy ground saw it fade pretty quickly and eased once its chance was gone. Prior to Cheltenham its hurdle form was very solid, winning two, on good and good to soft ground including a class two at Sandown. Then went to Chepstow for a grade 1 and was beaten just 1 1/2 lengths behind We Have A Dream on heavy ground. I feel if it finishes 1 1/2 lengths off We Have A Dream here then it shouldn’t be far off the places and with the better ground and easier track in its favour then it certainly looks value.

0.5pt e/w Sussex Ranger @ 25/1 Skybet, WillHill and Betfred

2:50 Aintree Betway Bowl

Might Bite is sure to be a hot favourite for the race, though those to have run well in the Gold Cup don’t have the best record in this race. All three Gold Cup winners to run in this in the last ten years were beat along with Djakadam and Denman who were the last two runners-up to contest this. Five of the seven winners of this race to have also contested the Gold Cup actually finished outside the first three at Cheltenham, including last years winner Tea For Two who runs again. However, it is the horse that finished just in front of it at Cheltenham that can take this in Definitely Red. Quite a negative on the trends for the Gold Cup having twice raced on heavy this season along with the sire who has a terrible record at the Festival, it was a horse I was happy to take on and not surprised to see it comfortably beat despite going off a popular 8/1. May of raced largely on soft and heavy ground, it handles good to soft well and is actually unbeaten on that ground when completing the course (fell in the NH Chase in 2016 and Pulled Up in the National the next year when saddle slipped) including a handicap win off 141. Official rating has it bang in contention whilst Bristol De Mai may well want easier ground than it will get whilst Double Shuffle comes into the race having not been seen since the King George (9 of last 10 winners had raced within the last 6 weeks). With Might Bite making the market, the race is set up perfectly for a good e/w bet and this is an opportunity to lump on I feel.

1.5pt e/w MAX Definitely Red @ 8/1 WillHill 1/5th odds 3 places NRMB

4:40 Aintree Red Rum Hcap Chase

A horse I have been looking forward to running again is Kings Socks who ran really well in the Brown Plate at Cheltenham, travelling the best and looking the winner two out. Hit that pretty hard though and looked as though its stamina gave way, which is also the opinion of its jockey Tom Scudamore. Therefore a drop in trip makes sense. Also holds an option over 2m 4f over hurdles though with a 3lb lower mark over fences I am sure that is what they will look to exploit. Better ground is no problem whilst it is still fresh after only a couple of runs this season. Confident we should see a big run.

1pt win Kings Socks @ 10/1 Bet365

Friday

2:20 Aintree Top Novices Hurdle

Interesting that the horse I was really interested in here is top rated on RPR yet is available at a double figure price. That horse is Vision Des Flos for Colin Tizzard. Noted from Cheltenham having finished 6th in the Ballymore, though over the first two miles it was clear in front. Was keen all the way round yet still travelled well until fading pretty badly in the straight. Connections had weighed up the option of the Supreme but with the bumper form to its name they decided the Ballymore may be best and I suspect they regret that now. Drop to 2m looks the right move in my book and with no issues with regards the ground then it can give the market leaders plenty to think about.

1pt win Vision Des Flos @ 10/1 Betfair and Paddy Power

4:05 Aintree Topham Chase

Not completely sold on the idea of Bouvreuil winning this race though still think it will be value. Generally you are looking for a horse who ran at Cheltenham, has run over the national fences before, is 10 or younger and carrying 10st 11lb or less. Two fit the bill in last years winner Ultragold, along with Bouvreuil. Ultragold seems to light up around these fences but has not been in anywhere near the same sort of form as when coming into the race last year and has been well and truly stuffed the last twice. Therefore will side with Bouvreuil who I tipped at Cheltenham, partly as it is a course it goes very well at. Unfortunately was brought down before the race got interesting so we don’t know how it would have done. Did see plenty of support in the betting though and with possibly drier conditions here than we saw at Cheltenham then it could be well handicapped still. Was only 10th in this race last year but that was its first experience of these fences as a 6yo and having gone off at 9/1 off a mark of 145 then I can see it being single figures again considering it has 3lb less and course experience.

1pt win Bouvreuil @ 16/1 WillHill

Saturday

4:20 Aintree – Ryanair Stayers Hurdle

I’m not one for betting favourites in ante post events but I can’t help but feel Sam Spinner will be nearer to odds on come race time. Main betting rivals are Wholestone who is more of a Cheltenham horse and The Worlds End who hasn’t been in much form this year. Not disgraced at Cheltenham in fifth considering it had competition for the lead and lacked Festival experience, it has a good opportunity to build on that here in a far less competitive race. I can see it galloping these rivals into the ground.

2pt win Sam Spinner @ 7/4 Betfair and 888Sport

I will do a completely separate post for the Grand National when I get the time to go through the potential runners and apply the trends.