Conditions were described as good to soft at Aintree on Friday morning for this afternoon’s card with the prospect of further rain on Saturday morning before a dry afternoon.
Like many punters I was looking forward to seeing Lostintranslation run in the Grand Sefton from a mark of 150 after his tremendous run in the National back in the spring when he jumped and travelled like the best horse in the race until his stamina gave way.
Trainer Joe Tizzard suggested that Aintree was his primary early season target. Let’s hope they have just had a change of heart and he goes to Sandown on Sunday. The alternative is that he has suffered a setback.
Over half the field are out of the handicap including Cooper’s Cross who did us a favour at Carlisle on his reappearance. He is 11lbs out of the weights, however, and I think the market has this right with BROKEN HALO.
The selection won two of his four starts over fences in his novice season, enjoys plenty of cut in the ground and carries a lovely racing weight. Lorcan Williams knows the horse well having won twice on the 7-y-old previously and Paul Nicholls has saddled the winner of the race three times in the last decade.
There was 10/1 available for the selection earlier in the week which looks big now in Lostintranslation’s absence, but if he takes to the unique National fences then I would be disappointed if Broken Halo did not run a big race.
Recommendation: Broken Halo EW at 9/2 with William Hill
Earlier in the week I advised that I had backed BREWIN’UPASTORM at 11/4 in the 2m 4f hurdle and I see no reason to desert him now despite the fact that Dan Skelton considers Langer Dan a potential Stayers’ Hurdle contender this term.
Langer Dan lost nothing in defeat when runner up to nonother than Galopin Des Champs in the Martin Pipe at Cheltenham last year before being brought down in the same race back in March. He put the record straight when dotting up over today’s C&D at the National meeting but, if this were a handicap, he would be receiving 10lbs from the selection. As it is he must give Olly Murphy’s 9-y-old 4lbs and is thus a stone wrong at the weights.
The selection carried a penalty to success in the corresponding race 12 months ago and has had a wind operation since disappointing in the Aintree Hurdle back in the spring. Betting opened on the race on Monday and Langer Dan headed the market until the declarations were made on Thursday morning although only Paddy Power/Betfair were betting on the race I believe.
Dashel Drasher is likely to ensure a decent gallop which should suit the selection who would not want a 3f “dash” to the line. Olly Murphy has had a quiet start to the campaign and needs a big winner to get his season up and running.
Recommendation: Brewin’upastorm at 5/4 with 10Bet
Paul Nicholls has saddled the winner of the Rising Stars Novices’ Chase four times in the last nine years but not since 2017. I think normal service will be resumed today courtesy of McFABULOUS although I appreciate at the age of eight – rising nine – he is a bit long in the tooth to be chasing for the first time although he is the subject of positive reports from Ditcheat.
Nicholls has suggested that the Feltham at Kempton on Boxing Day would be a suitable mid-season target, but he has to transfer his form from hurdles and the schooling ground to fences. He has never been the most consistent, but 2m 4f on good ground on a flat right-hand track are his optimum conditions.
Recommendation: McFabulous at 6/5 with William Hill
The handicapper has given Frodon a chance in the Badger Beergiven he is 9lbs lower than when winning in Grade 1 company on his seasonal reappearance at Down Royal last season. He has had his wind operated on since disappointing in the Ultima at the Festival, has an excellent record fresh and is unbeaten at the track having won the Rising Stars on this card as a 4-y-old six years ago!
The last two winners of the race Rocco (2021) and El Presente (2020) face the starter again this year, but preference is for LORD ACCORD who put to bed any stamina reservations when running out a ready winner at Cheltenham’s Showcase meeting last month.
Trainer Neil Mulholland trained the “winner” of the corresponding race back in 2014 with The Young Master but the horse was subsequently thrown out after it was found he was ineligible having had just two chase starts when a minimum of three were required. The each way recommendation is only 5lbs higher than last time and that looks fair.
Recommendation: Lord Accord EW at 13/2 with William Hill 4 places
De Barley Basket heads the market for the 2m 4f handicap chase for conditional jockeys’, but he will do well to give 15lbs to BUTTERWICK BROOK and the Tizzard runner gets the vote. The selection jumped right at Chepstow last time when no match for the progressive Wayfinder and a return to Wincanton will suit. The selection gets further than this intermediate trip but both he and De Barley Basket like to go forward, and the hope is that the selection – blinkered for the first time – can outstay his rivals up the home straight.
Recommendation: Butterwick Brook at 4/1 with William Hill
Israr is a short price for the November Handicap after his fluent win here from a 7lbs lower mark last time and he clearly enjoys plenty of cut in the ground. He is drawn out on the wing in stall 21, however, and must show he can cope with the hurly burly of a competitive 22-runner handicap.
NATHANAEL GREENE looked a bit rusty when fourth returning from a three-month absence when fourth at York last time over 14f and I am not overly concerned with the drop back in distance by a quarter of a mile on today’s heavy ground. Adam Faragher can take off a valuable 3lbs from the three-year-olds back who won his sole previous start to date on soft ground.
Grade 1 winning hurdler Metier will think he is let loose carrying just 8st 10lbs including the claim of Saffie Osborne. He looks the main danger although Harry Fry has had a couple run below par this week.
Recommendation: Nathanael Greene EW at 8/1 with Corals
NASHWA has a terrific draw in stall three in the fillies and mares and I would be disappointed if she could not bring the prize back to Newmarket. The Gosden filly landed the French Oaks in the summer and was brilliant at Goodwood in the Nassau Stakes at the end of July. She was, arguably, beaten by the draw as much as the mud in the Prix l’Opera in Paris last time when just run out of it by home challenger Place Du Carrousel.
Hollie Doyle was riding in Tokyo last weekend but makes the journey to the States to ride the three-year-old who is taken to confirm Longchamp form with Irish raiders Above The Curve and Oaks winner Tuesday.
Tuesday beat the selection at Epsom over an additional quarter of a mile but this 10f trip on a sound surface looks ideal for Nashwa who I hope to see break smartly and track the pace before striking fast and late.
Recommendation: Nashwa at 6/4 with Betfred
Hadhe not run in the QEII on soft ground at Ascot just three weeks ago I would have said MODERN GAMES would merit nap material for Charlie Appleby as I have long thought this track and trip would suit last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf winner from Del Mar.
The French Guineas winner has a terrific draw in stall four and, as with Nashwa, if he breaks on terms then I will be disappointed if he doesn’t go very close. Pogo looks sure to go forward from stall one and the hope is that William Buick can sit on his tail before asserting close home.
Dettori will do well to get Kinross competitive from stall thirteen, but I am convinced he is not just a mud-lover and is a fascinating contender despite his moderate draw stepped up to a mile for the first time since February 2021.
Recommendation: Modern Games at 9/4 with Bet365