Aintree’s first meeting is another sign that the horse racing focus is about to centre on jumps racing and, with the clocks having gone back on Saturday night, racing kicks-off much earlier than it has been doing as the cold dark nights draw in. However, don’t worry, we’re trying to keep you warm with four free tips from Aintree.
Bon Chic is a bit of an enigma, but the nine-year-old mare often runs her better races at flat left-handed tracks like Cartmel and Stratford, whilst she put up arguably the best performance of her career when winning this race last year. She returns on a 2lb higher mark, but that mark of 120 is still a good statistical fit for the race, with the last four winners rated between 115 and 120.
Last year’s winning rider Charlotte Jones again also claims 10lb off her back. Having won two starts ago at Cartmel, she’s also proved she’s not past it, whilst the form of last year’s win can possibly be upgraded considering the subsequent exploits of the runner-up Black Ivory, who won his next two races off 4lb and 10lb higher marks.
Kay Pinfold 100th Birthday Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle Free Tip: Bon Chic @ 29.00 Widely Available
The Veterans races have really caught the imagination of the public over the last few seasons, as they offer some old favourites a realistic chance of winning a big prize. However, as their popularity has grown, so has the quality of the fields, meaning they’re usually won by classy types. The last three winners of this race have been rated 139, 142, and 143, and only three horses fall into that category here, Pendra, Ballyboker Breeze, and Beat That.
However, Pendra hasn’t really taken to the Grand National course on his last two visits here, whilst Ballyboker Breeze is 5lb higher in the handicap than when winning over course and distance in June. Therefore, it could be worth taking a chance that the jumping of the formerly high-class hurdler Beat That stands the test at a course where he once won the Grade 1 Doom Bar Sefton Novices’ Hurdle.
Rewards4racing Veterans’ Handicap Chase Free Tip: Beat That @ 3.25 Widely Available
Byron Flyer is 1lb lower than when finishing fifth in a Grade 3 hurdle the last time he ran at Aintree, but it’s his recent form on the flat that suggests he’s potentially a really well-handicapped horse back over hurdles for the first time in 569 days. The highest mark he had won off on the flat before that Aintree run was 77 but, after winning his last three handicaps off marks of 95, 98, and 102, it’s easy to see why he could potentially have around 25lbs in hand if translating that improvement to hurdling.
Trainer Ian Williams has been firing winners in under both codes this month, so Byron Flyer could well be the gamble of the day if he’s proved he can still jump at home.
Racing UK Handicap Hurdle Free Tip: Byron Flyer @ 3.75 Widely Available
The Old Roan Chase is one of the early highlights of the national hunt season, and the race has been won by the likes of Kauto Star and Monet’s Garden, with the latter’s name now added to the title of the race. However, there are no horses of the quality of those two former winners this year, unless the six-year-old Frodon takes another giant step forward this year after a wind operation. As the youngest horse in the field, if the wind-op makes a significant difference, there is a chance he could take that step forward. However, even if he’s only in the same form as when winning a Cheltenham Handicap last season of a mark of 154, he will surely go close.
Monet’s Garden Old Roan Limited Handicap Chase Free Tip: Frodon @ 6.50 Widely Available
Odds Correct at Time of Publication