Apple’s Shakira ran too freely at Cheltenham in the Triumph Hurdle and has a hood fitted in attempt to settle her and if returning to her best would take all the beating though good run at Cheltenham is a precursor for winners of this race which does cast a slight doubt. The same trend can be applied to stablemate We Have A Dream who looked very progressive prior to Cheltenham before a small issue prevented his participation at the festival. On the figures both We Have A Dream and Apple’s Shakira are the likeliest winners presuming they run up to form. Malaya swerved Cheltenham and produced her best performance yet, winning an Ascot handicap from Eragon De Chanay and with slightly more restrained tactics being used, can go well @ 7/1. Fred Winter third and fourth, Nube Negra @ 10/1 and Paddleyourowncanoe @ 33/1 are also worthy of consideration, Nube Negra was possibly produced too early at Cheltenham and this tighter track should suit him while Paddleyourowcanoe stays further than this so if conditions are testing, could well be staying on at the finish. Softer ground will also suit Beau Gosse who was third in the Adonis on good ground and he too can go well @ 18/1.
There is now no doubting Might Bite’s attitude and resilience following an epic clash with Native River in the Gold Cup and he is rightly favourite here but how much did that effort take out of him? To come back to Aintree on similar ground and repeat that feat is demanding so the value may lie elsewhere. Bristol De Mai, fresh from a wind operation bids to regain his reputation following two below par efforts in the King George and at Cheltenham in January. He clearly has the ability to win this race but all his career wins have come in the winter months, suggesting that the spring does not suit him. In contrast last year’s winner Tea For Two is three wins form three runs in the month of April and he could be the value @ 14/1. Course winner Definitly Red is highly regarded by trainer Brian Ellison and will enjoy the ground but after falling well short of what was required in the Gold Cup, can be competitive here @ 8/1 if the principals do not perform.
This looks a good opportunity for the versatile Supasundae to add another grade one victory to his name with his record this season reading well at the top level. He went down fighting to Penhill in the Stayers’ Hurdle at Cheltenham and should really have too much for the veterans My Tent Or Yours and The New One. My Tent Or Yours missed Cheltenham so will come here fresh and has only succumbed to Buveur D’Air and Annie Power in the last two renewals so could be the value @ 15/2 with nothing of the class of the aforementioned horses lining up against him this time. Age seems to be creeping up on The New One as his figures look to be on the slide but you could not totally rule out this brave horse putting in one more big performance @ 13/2. L’Ami Serge has the ability to take this race but is not the most straightforward and it is difficult to put full faith in him for win purposes while it would be no surprise to see one of Diakali, Clyne, Air Horse One or Cyrius Darius bag a place at a big price.
Grand Vision ran well in the Foxhunters at Cheltenham and on the ratings has nine pounds in hand on the others and being a good jumper should take to these fences, but that it is not a given. Balnaslow fits the right profile of a winner of this race in that he ran well in it previously and @ 5/1 is sure to go well though the soft ground is a slight concern. Wonderful Charm disappointed at Cheltenham, being pulled up and connections now opt for blinkers instead of the cheekpieces. If that produces the desired effect he has to be a contender having seen theses fences in the national last year and with no better pilot around here than Sam Waley-Cohen. Distime unseated at the chair last year but has form over these fences having run well in the Topham in 2016 and has place claims along with Mon Parrain, Bear’s Affair and Rouge Et Blanc.
A race in which novices have won numerous times in the last ten years and that bodes well for Tommy Silver and King’s Socks. Tommy Silver @ 10/1 has some good form in behind Testify and Cyrname and looks well handicapped with the promise of more to come. The one worry would be the ground being too soft. King’s Socks has claims and now drops back to two miles having ran out of steam at Cheltenham, a race in which he was likely primed for so may be this is an afterthought rather than a plan. Theinval is consistent but does not win as many races as he should and was second in this race last year, is now four pounds lower, so should give a good account. Third in the 2017 renewal was Bun Doran and he too should go well @ 8/1 though his profile, as far as win purposes, is starting to go a similar way to Theinval’s. Gino Trail ran a career best at Cheltenham so it is a tough ask to repeat that effort, especially with other front runners in the race, that said this game type should give a good account @ 10/1. Overtown Express has dropped a little in the weights and should go well @ 16/1 as should Doitforthevillage @ 12/1 who returned to form last time at Cheltenham. Course form is all important at Aintree and though slightly out of their depth class wise, it would be no surprise to see Baby King or the Flyingportrait run well at big prices.
Quickened Clear’s Best Bets:
Rene’s Girl – 1.45 Aintree – 1pt win @ 6/1
Cyrname, Finian’s Oscar and Brain Power all have questions to answer. Cyrname is a top novice but he jumped markedly right and ran his worse race this season when going left handed at Newbury and seems best going the other way. Finian’s Oscar ran a slightly better race at Cheltenham last time following a wind operation but still does not look convincing over fences. Similarly, Brain Power, also given a wind operation this season is now fitted with a tongue-tie, which starts to ring alarm bells and his jumping is also a worry. That leaves Rene’s Girl who has done nothing wrong on her last two starts, the most recent a good defeat of Happy Diva and she has claims on that form with the 6/1 looking worth a punt.
Tommy Silver – 4.40 Aintree – 1pt win @ 10/1
Tommy Silver has some good form behind decent novices Testify and Cyrname with the best of him yet to be seen over fences. Paul Nicholls has kept him away from deep winter ground since Christmas and following a spin at Kempton, will be primed for a big run here. This pace will be strong with Gino Trail, Theflyingportrait and Wisty in the field and things should set up nicely for Tommy Silver who is ‘well in’ on Quickened Clear’s figures and looks value @ 10/1 with the ground steadily drying out.