All eyes on Liverpool this afternoon and the opening day of the Aintree Grand National Festival where we have some former champions and potential superstars on show on what should be a cracking and intriguing day of sport.
Away from Aintree there is also a good card from Taunton plus a meeting on the all weather at Southwell alongside action from under the floodlights at Chelmsford this evening, and here we have highlighted some of the best punting opportunities from across the cards to hopefully boost the bankroll before the big day Saturday!
Aintree 3:25 – Buveur D’Air – 10/11
Day 1 of the Aintree Grand National meeting and all looks set for a high class day of racing from Liverpool where the banker on the card looks the be the former champion hurdler BUVEUR D’AIR for trainer Nicky Henderson and rider Barry Geraghty.
Despite falling in the Champion Hurdle, Buveur D’Air is unbeaten over hurdles at Aintree and his high cruising speed should be seen to good effect in the highlight of Thursdays card at 3:25pm.
Former Champion hurdler Faugheen is likely to ensure it is a good gallop from the front which could set the race up for Buveur D’Air and granted a clear round Nicky Henderson’s 8 yr-old really should take the beating and make amends for Cheltenham.
He is apparently none the worse for the fall and reportedly in real good form at home, and if reproducing this on the track should be seen returning to winning ways and rates today’s banker.
Southwell 3:35 – Marble Bar, 9/4
Away from Aintree this afternoon there is another competitive card at Southwell where the banker of the day looks to be the Iain Jardine trained MARBLE BAR who looks to score at the track once again.
Jardine is one of the shrewdest guys in the training ranks and is always worth respecting when there is strong market support for one of his runners and the 4 yr old has been heavily backed the last twice he has been seen on the race course so the yard clearly think there is more to come from a mark of 68.
He clearly operates really well on the unique surface at the track as when scoring over course and distance towards the end of last month the figure he achieved on the clock very much suggested he will soon be seen in a better grade than this and if in the same form this afternoon should take all the beating.
Taunton 3:50 – Capitaine, 7/4
Most eyes will be on the national hunt action in Liverpool this afternoon but down in the West Country Taunton stages an interesting meeting and the best bet on the tricky card comes in the
handicap hurdle at 3:50pm where we expect the Paul Nicholls trained CAPITAINE to take all the beating.
This is a much easier assignment then he faced at the recent Cheltenham Festival, and he wasn’t unfancied that day but unfortunately had no luck in running and couldn’t really get into the contest. Previous to this he scored at today’s venue on his first run after wind surgery, and its looked to do the trick as beat a good field in eye catching style and looked the sort to move on to bigger and better things this spring.
Though up 4lbs from the mark he scored off last time it is hard to imagine that 135 is the ceiling of his ability and expect another step forward this afternoon from the 7 yr-old who granted a clear run sets the standard and should prove hard to pass.
Aintree 4:40 – Lady Buttons, 8/1
Trainer Phil Kirby is a very shrewd operator and looks to have leading claims with the admirable mare Lady Buttons in the 2mile handicap chase at 4:40pm.
She has been in real hot form this winter, the only time being beaten was when sent back over the smaller obstacles in the Mares Hurdle at the recent Cheltenham Festival, and looks well handicapped from a mark of 149 for this afternoons contest.
The last time she was seen in handicap company was when scoring in real good style at Newbury from a 9lb lower mark and with conditions looking ideal she looks cracking each way value at the current price albeit in what looks one of the hardest puzzles of the opening day of the Festival.