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Aintree Day 1 Preview: Faugheen & Buveur D’Air Set To Contest Aintree Hurdle


Aintree is here! Three days of top class racing action lie ahead, culminating in the world’s most famous horse race; The Grand National.

We asked Syndicate Captain Cheltmental to run the rule over the first day of action at Aintree and he delivered us this fantastic preview of the £20,000 Boosted Place 6 Pool. You can join his Place 6 syndicate here.


13:45 – Manifesto Novices’ Chase

(Grade One, 2M4F)

La Bague Au Roi is a worthy favourite and potentially could represent some value. She jumps well, travels well and comes in here fresh after landing back to back Grade 1’s. The race might not be a penalty kick though with a couple in the field who may be capable of putting her, at least, under some pressure.

Kalashnikov has been screaming out for this trip but it’s hard to say just how good this horse might be at the moment, given some average performances this season. However, all hope isn’t lost on him.

Bag’s Groove was my idea of a play in this race back when we thought Defi would run and La Bague would go for the Mildmay but given that one main danger has been replaced by another, I still think he has a chance and is a better horse than his form might suggest. Yes, he was hammered in the Feltham but that race came quickly after his last, so I’d be happy to excuse him for that. It might, however, just be that he’s not up to it at this level but I’d be prepared to give him another go.

Glen Forsa will be popular again but I’ve not seen enough from him to suggest that he’s up to beating the likes of La Bague Au Roi, not just yet anyway.

Selections – La Bague Au Roi, Bag’s Groove & Kalashnikov


14:20 – Anniversary 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle

(Grade One, 2M1F)

The two Cheltenham Festival winners will be vying for favouritism and I think rightly so. Pentland Hills might just be a very special horse and it’s great for all involved in him that, not only have they landed the Triumph, but they come here with a serious chance.

I still can’t get out of my mind that Band Of Outlaws impressed me more at Cheltenham, albeit in a lesser race, and that this will be a third run in under 40 days for Pentland. That sways me towards Band Of Outlaws however, even though he might be short at the prices.

Fakir D’Oudaries was alright at Cheltenham and should be more at home in this company. I do, however, worry about his pace given that he was struggling in the Supreme at points.

Christopher Wood is in the ‘could be anything’ bracket but it’s hard to know exactly how much he’s progressed since his last run.

Both Adjali & Song For Someone will be big priced runners however I wouldn’t be surprised to see either finish in the frame.

Selections – Band Of Outlaws, Christopher Wood, Adjali & Song For Someone


14:50 – Bowl Chase

(Grade One, 3M1F)

This is a compact race with just 6 runners but each of them adds depth to it. Bristol De Mai has arguably been in the best form of his life this season and, although he fell in the King George, he’s put in two monster efforts either side of it. He ran well in this race last year so ticks most boxes and probably deserves to be favourite.

Clan Des Obeaux just didn’t look up to it in the Gold Cup but I’d think that was far too testing for him. I do also think he’s better right handed but this flat track and easier trip should see him run well.

Kemboy is the real livewire in here but we just don’t know how good he really is. That adds the element of risk to him alongside his jumping frailties but he probably has the freshness edge over most of this field given how early he unseated in the Gold Cup. I think if this race was a week later, I’d probably side with Bristol De Mai but it’s not so Kemboy takes the vote.

Selections – Kemboy & Bristol De Mai


15:25 – Aintree Hurdle

(Grade One, 2M4F)

No doubt that Buveur D’Air is the one to beat and this track and trip will see him to best effect. He does seem short around even money though and I’m tempted to take him on.

Brain Power, Ch’tibello, Summerville Boy and Silver Streak probably aren’t good enough to be involved here and while Verdana Blue has been in good form this season, I’m just not sure she’s up to it either, especially left handed. Supasundae has been well below his best this season so I’d draw a line through him which leaves the Willie Mullins pair. I’m not convinced Melon is at his best away from Cheltenham and a try at this trip looks experimental, although it might bring about enough improvement for him to be competitive. However, despite half my brain telling me to stop typing I’m going to take a chance on Faugheen.

I was very impressed with how well he travelled in the Stayers hurdle and while he’s clearly not as good as he was (how can he be given his age and setbacks?) there was enough spark about him to suggest to me that he’s overpriced. I can’t see him out of the frame and if Buveur isn’t truly at his best this season, which is plausible, he could win this.

Selections – Faugheen & Buveur D’Air


16:05 – Foxhunters’ Chase


Foxhunters are generally hard to get excited about but this is a healthy-looking renewal and the market has it about right. The one exception I think is Pass The Hat who looks overpriced so would certainly be worthy of a play.

Of those towards the front of the market I think both Burning Ambition & Road To Rome have obvious claims and they appear the most likely winners. Last years winner, Balnaslow, is entitled to be the price he is based on recent form but you couldn’t rule him out entirely and Sir Jack Yeats is another who could run well.

Greensalt would be a decent price but could also outrun those odds.

Selections – Burning Ambition, Road To Rome, Balnaslow, Sir Jack Yeats, Greensalt & Pass The Hat


16:40 – Red Rum Handicap Chase

(Grade Three, 2M)

The support for Azzuri hasn’t gone unnoticed and the yard certainly know how to pull off a plot but he’s been in woeful form. Away from him, though, there are no other obvious horses who might have been laid out for this.

Forest Bihan & Brelan D’as ran well in the Grand Annual and look to have chances as does Adrrastos who runs well in most of his races.

I quite like Molineaux for a bit of a punt. He’s not easy to catch right but I think he’s off a feasible mark and Colin Tizzard does well at this meeting. The drop in trip is a move I also like. The ground worries me for McGroarty and while I like Eamon An Cnoic I’m not sure this is his track.

Selections – Forest Bihan, Brelan D’As , Azzuri, Adrasstos & Molineaux


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