Away from the big day at Aintree the stand out bet on the Newcastle card comes in the 2:40 contest where we expect jockey Jamie Hamilton to be back in the winners enclosure with the consistent BALLY CONOR.
Ruth Jefferson knows when she has a good horse on her hands and conditions look ideal this afternoon for the six year old who has won on heavy ground previously and put up a big effort when last seen over course and distance, chasing home the well regarded Imperial Aura.
This looks a much easier contest and a reproduction of that level of form would be good enough to take this affair, and would expect him to prove worth following over the next few weeks and months.
Despite being beaten when well fancied for the Champion Hurdle at the recent Cheltenham Festival APPLES JADE is the one they all have to beat in this afternoons Ryanair Hurdle and looks set to make amends for the defeat.
Previous to this she has looked in the best form of her career and was reported to have returned lame from Cheltenham so it would be worthwhile putting a line through the run. She clearly goes really well at the Liverpool venue and reports from Gordon Elliott’s yard is that she is once again working back to her best.
The step back up to three miles will bring further improvement and with a solid gallop looking likely with front runners Sam Spinner and If the Cap Fits sure to go off in front I would expect to see Jack Kennedy stalking the leaders before looking to make a winning dash for home.
This looks a very winnable grade 1 and given a clear round Apples Jade rates the banker on the card on this Grand National Saturday.
The Betway Handicap Chase at 4:20 looks a really competitive event and will take some winning but the value bet in the contest looks to be the Ben Pauling trained KILDISART who should improve significantly for the step up in trip and should go very close.
Pauling was a former assistant to Nicky Henderson and is making a real splash now in his own right, and his stable star put up a gallant effort in grade 1 company when last seen at Cheltenham so the drop back into handicap company would be a much easier assignment.
When last seen in handicaps he scored in really good style back in January from just a 7lb lower mark than is allocated this afternoon and a similar performance would be good enough to win today’s affair.
The likes of Debece and Mister Malarky are well regarded and could rank the dangers, but at the prices its hard not to side with Kildisart who looks an improving type with a big future over fences.