RACING fan Pete Hamill (@RiskForRewards) picks out favourite fancies from Day 2 of the Aintree Festival on Friday.
Topham Handicap Chase | Friday 9th April 2021, 16:05 | Racing TV
Background: A race which has steeped in multiple winners with plenty of horses winning back to back. It pays to feature prominently and be a bold jumping horse for the event.
Statistics: 10/16 winners had ran over the National course (8 finished in the first 4). 18/20 winners did not win last time out with 8/11 finishing unplaced.
Only 3 Irish winners in last 40 years. 10/20 ran at the Cheltenham Festival, 5/6 were rated 141 or higher with 4/6 11-1 or more. Bold jumper and prominent positive, hold up negative. 16/17 raced within the last 34 days and 16/17 were aged 10 or younger.
Morning Vicar is another similar to yesterday’s selection (Sully Doc Aa) that travelled well for a long way before tiring and given an easy time at Cheltenham. Finishing 8th that day he was well looked after having a wide passage throughout but he is down to a mark off 133 which is only 4lb higher than his last winning mark. That run was over 3m2f but comes back to the 2m5f trip today.
His form on good ground for Henderson is 1-1 over the trip. With 18/20 winners not winning last time out and 8/11 finishing unplaced he fits the statistics. He has raced within the last 34 days 16/17 winners. If he comes on for the run he should be set to play a part here in a race that his trainer has a good record of 4 winners with 17 runners and 3 wins in the last 7 running’s.
Visioman has been subject to significant market support this week being backed from 20/1 in to 7/1. The Irish have won this 4 times in the last 10 renewals. If you look at his seasonal performances it would not mark him out as a candidate for winning any race. However much like most handicap horses the plan is to gain experience without giving away true potential in order to keep their mark protected for a big race.
He was well raced over the summer to learn the art of novice chasing achieving a maximum RPR of 140. The trainer stated after his last run over fences when ridden forcefully that he is improving with racing still and will improve for better ground.
Since then he has been lightly campaigned over hurdles for fitness and issued a 3lb higher mark by the BHA. Given three months off the track he had a spin over hurdles in February to gain fitness for this event.
The trainer likes to target this meeting at Aintree and stated he would be saved for the better ground and this race, it has been the long-term plan. He the right boxes ticked and the owners have connections with Aintree itself and this looks a potential plot in what is an incredibly competitive race.
Sefton Novices Hurdle | Friday 9th April 2021, 16:40 | Racing TV
Background: Regardless of the flatter nature of this track the race has tended to suit a real stayer under a proper test.
Statistics: Irish 0/23 last 14 years. Henderson won last two renewals and 3/6. Twiston Davies three winners of race of his most recent two both went in to this event unbeaten. 13/20 skipped fest but most recently 3/3 all raced there prior to winning.
The 3 irish winners all skipped the festival. 6/19 second or third season novices. 9/10 ran in irish P2P. 9/12 had not won over 2m7f previously. 2/7 Albert Bartlett winners followed up. 15/17 – Had run within the last 35 days
A race that favours the English with the Irish having had 0/23 winners in the last 14 years. (150 rated) Bravemansgame was last seen in the Ballymore novices hurdle at Cheltenham. He missed the second last stumbling at the top of the hill as the race was quickening but stayed on all the way to the line just unfortunately ran in to a superstar in Bob Olinger.
Prior to Cheltenam he was unbeaten (3/3) including the Grade 1 Challow Novices hurdle. This test has tended to suit a stayer in the past regardless of Aintree's flat nature. So whilst most horses have been already running over the trip it looks like an opportunity to enhance his claims rather than hinder with next years Brown Advisory novice chase at Cheltenham already seen as the long term target.
The concern will remain how much the race three weeks ago took out of him but he did race three times in six weeks at the start of the season with no issues in winning all three. The Albert Bartlett did not look a great race before and whilst some of those will turn out to be good horses I think the Ballymore form looks much stronger on paper.
Providing the Cheltenham exertions have not taken their toll he only needs to runs to the same level achieved as he has 7lb in hand on the field and that is without the consideration of improvement for stepping up in trip.
Form figures of 2113 with good in the title and the one it all have to beat. With his main market rivals being Irish and their poor record in the race the favorites current price of 2/1 seems fair and he will take some beating.
16:05 Aintree – Morning Vicar (11/1 Bet365)
16:05 Aintree – Visioman (15/2 Bet365)
16:40 Aintree – Bravemansgame (15/8 William Hill)