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Tanya Stevenson

Tanya's Blog - Thursday 12th April 2012

Let’s Go by Calvin Harris & Ne-Yo would be a very apt tune to blare out as the gates open at Aintree; what a phenomenal card with Big Buck’s to kick things off in history-making style we hope.
I’ve entered every tipping competition imaginable today as I fancy a couple of big outsiders. Donald McCain trains both my big each-way selections, Tara Royal and Reindeer Dippin.

I can forgive Tara Royal’s poor run at Cheltenham, in fact I’m almost pleased that he ran so bad at the track. Surely he will be better suited to the sharp Mildmay course and a return to the form, which saw him treat his rivals with contempt at Musselburgh on his penultimate start, would put him right in contention.

Reindeer Dippin was one of the horses to be on next time in from my Cheltenham Festival notebook. Hampered at the last hurdle by the fall of Sonofvic, he wasn’t really putting his head down before that and yet still wasn’t out of contention. Just for info I’ve also done Silver Adonis in the Foxhunters’ as I want to be against Gwanako as, to date, he hates the course. I have also gone head to head with the Racing Post’s Pricewise by putting up Eagle Rock in the 2.30pm at Aintree.

Meanwhile under the radar at Folkestone in the 2.45pm many are making their handicap debut including Foot Tapper, who ran promisingly in his last two starts last season.

An icy cold start this morning but I soon warmed up with the thought of Aintree and a hot tea. Teddington High Street was empty when I drove through it but that was before 7am! Hopefully there will be plenty of shoppers and diners later today when armed with camera man Gerard we ask unsuspecting workers enjoying their lunch hour just who they think will win the John Smith’s Grand National and why?

Graham Cunningham’s look round Aintree on the website is mandatory viewing. The course has changed so much since I first walked round it over 35 years ago! It’s worth getting some perspective as soon as possible as the amateurs tackle the spruce fences later on this afternoon and I always think course form is imperative.

Aintree is a special place and horses have to respect the course. Any complacency is punished. The Mildmay course is so tight and sharp that after a mistake it takes too long to regain composure and momentum to get back into the race.

In the Aintree betting ring today is where the big players are in force, while tomorrow, Ladies Day, is packed with the once a year smaller punters. Saturday is of course about one race! Market moves count today and are of significance. To stand at Aintree on-course bookmakers will pay at least £250 (five times admission) and then there is entrance for the staff and general expenses, so a win of £500 is need before they show a profit, so they’ll be playing large.

2.45pm Folkestone: Foot Tapper
4.15pm Aintree: Tara Royal (each-way)
5.25pm Aintree: Reindeer Dippin (each-way)



Big Buck’s has won all four of his races at Aintree

Paul Nicholls has had eight winners from his last 12 runners

Seven of the last eight winners of the Liverpool Hurdle (Aintree’s 2.00pm) had run in that season’s World Hurdle

Six of the last seven favourites have won Aintree’s 2.30pm

Five of the last seven winners of Aintree’s 2.30pm had either won or finished second in the JCB Triumph Hurdle (Countrywide Flame)

Nine of the last ten favourites have been beaten in the Betfred Bowl, 3.05pm at Aintree

Riverside Theatre has never won in April

Nine of the last ten winners of the Foxhunters’ have been priced 8-1 or shorter

Eight of the last ten winners of the Foxhunters’ have been aged 10 or over

Paul Nicholls's last 20 runners at Aintree’s 4.15pm have all been beaten

Richard Johnson has ridden Menorah 15 times to seven wins and three seconds

Jonjo O’Neill has won Aintree’s 5.25pm four times in the last ten years

The last nine favourites in Aintree’s 5.25pm have all been beaten


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