Ruby can strike on day one at 16-1
I did not think I would be packing sun cream for Aintree, or indeed sunglasses, but the air is warm and the sky is bright, so here’s hoping it continues for the duration of this week and beyond.
I do sympathise if you are connected with a runner that needs cut, or have backed a soft ground horse. Although the Aintree taps have been turned on I doubt, with the drying temperature, it is sufficient enough to compensate the mudlarks.
Thursday’s card is suitably enticing - oh to be a bookmaker at the course once more! Maybe one day.
The first of my picks is speculative but when I glanced at the jockey booking a wry smile lightened my face. Ruby Walsh aboard Starchitect in the Betfred Anniversary 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle - wonderful.
Here is a horse who won at Aintree in October, then faced up to Peace And Co and then Hargam with respectful results. Last time out he tried to make all in the Fred Winter. With a little bit more restraint, he could play the intricacies of the course to his advantage.
Anything can happen over those big Grand National fences, I grant you that, but a winning deficit of 17 lengths is impressive enough at any course. How about then at the Cheltenham Festival, where On The Fringe had his rivals lagging behind in the Foxhunters’ Chase and is now under the guidance once more of the superb Nina Carberry. In nine starts she has never finished out of the first three on him, which makes him one of my bets for the day in the Crabbie’s Fox Hunters’ Chase.
The day would not be complete without success for AP McCoy, who will be the subject of extreme scrutiny for the whole three days. If he has to wait until the last race, he has a huge opportunity on Unique De Cotte who has the chance to exact revenge for his defeat in the Pertemps Network Final on Call The Cops in the Injured Jockey’s Fund Handicap Hurdle. Prior to Cheltenham he was impressive at Ascot, and at The Festival he ran solid and learned plenty. It is time to give the rest an education.
There’s so much going on outside the bubble that is racing just now. Wednesday saw the start of the Indian Premier League, and while they line up at the first at Aintree, there’ll be a few teeing off at Augusta to get their first round underway in the US Masters. There is also Premier League Darts, as well as the football.
On Friday I’m honoured to have been asked to host the first Grand Women’s Summit. Researching for that has taken me back to the days when I use to study American Government & Politics, History and Mathematics – yes I did actually, at times I did conform and subscribe to an academic ideal!
As the azalea’s bloom on the canvas-like Augusta backdrop, for the record I’ve once again sided with Bubba Watson to try and win his third Green Jacket at the Masters.
A couple of massive outsiders who have earned my investment are Morgan Hoffman and Ben Martin. No Masters wager would be complete without Jordan Speith as, for me, he is a phenomenon at 21. He has the zest, hunger, skill and charisma that makes him the ultimate crowd pleaser and all-round golfing package.
Tanya Stevenson’s Aintree day one tips:
5.15 Aintree: Unique De Cotte at 8-1 with SkyBet
Tanya Stevenson's Aintree day one pointers:
2.15 Aintree - Betfred Anniversary 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle:
Seven of the last ten favourites have won.
Nine of the last ten winners had won at least two hurdle races.
Seven of the last ten winners had finished in the first three in the Triumph Hurdle (three had won).
Alan King’s last five runners have produced four wins and a second. On that basis Winner Massagot looks a huge price at 33-1.
Nine of the last ten winners had finished no worse than third at the Cheltenham Festival.
The last ten winners finished in the first three last time out.
2.50 Aintree - Betfred Bowl Chase:
Only five winning favourites since 1984 and only one in the last ten years.
Four of the last seven winners had previously run in the Betfred Bowl.
Seven of the last ten winners had taken in the Cheltenham Festival.
Six of the last eight winners had run at Aintree before.
Four of the last ten winners had taken in the King George.
In the last 30 years See More Business, First Gold, Florida Pearl and Silviniaco Conti all won the King George and the Betfred Bowl in the same season, the latter will try and do it again.
Only five of the last ten winners had run in the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Wayward Lad, Dockland Express and First Gold have all won the Betfred Bowl twice.
Paul Nicholls will be attempting to win a record fourth Betfred Bowl.
3.25 Aintree - Doom Bar Aintree Hurdle:
First run in 1976 there has only ever been one winner older than nine, Mister Morose was 10 when he won in 2000.
Only five favourites have won in the last 20 years.
Eight of the last ten winners were a single-figure price.
Nine of the last ten came from the first four in the betting.
Seven of the last ten winners ran at the Cheltenham Festival.
Four of the last five winners took in the Champion Hurdle.
Eight of the last ten winners had previously run at this Aintree meeting.
Five of the last ten had previously run in the race.
Zarkandar’s Aintree form figures are 1F14.
4.05 Aintree - Crabbie's Fox Hunters' Chase:
Only one Irish-trained winner in thirty years.
Nine of the last ten winners had been aged 10 or over.
Since 1994 all but two of the winners came from the first four in the betting.
Seven of the last ten winners had run over the Grand National fences previously.
4.40 Aintree - Betfred Red Rum Handicap Chase:
Parsnip Pete has won both his races at Aintree.
There have been five winning favourites since 2002.
Since 1995 Oiseau De Nuit has been the only winner aged older than nine.
Five of the last ten winners had taken in the Cheltenham Festival (four of those in the Grand Annual).
Seven of the last ten winners had previously run at Aintree.
Only three of the last ten winners had previously run in the race.
Since 1977 only two horses have won the race twice - Little Bay 1982 & 84 and Kathies Lad 1985 & 86.