Day One Aintree Grand National Meeting Preview

Aintree - April 07 2021
Aintree 12:45
6
Brian Hayes

The Shunter

J:
 
Brian Hayes
T:
 
Emmet Mullins
Age: 8
Weight: 11-4
OR: 153
Days: 21

The first race of the entire Aintree Grand National festival is the Grade One Manifesto Novices' Chase and we have selected The Shunter to run a big race.

The Shunter has been one of the stories of the season for shrewd Irish trainer Emmet Mullins and now he is seeking Grade One glory in this event.

The eight year old has been a fine servant for the yard this season, over both hurdles and fences and off the back of his last run at the Cheltenham festival he deserves his chance in this company.

Frequently raced this term, his first stand out win of the season came at Cheltenham in the Grade Three Greatwood Hurdle, when bolting up over two miles.

Still on a nice mark over fences he was sent to the Dublin Racing Festival in the Matheson Handicap Chase and he finished a staying on third of 20 runners.

Not afraid of travelling this horse, Mullins took him next to Kelso for the Morebattle Hurdle, where the winner of the race would have a chance of a £100,000 bonus if going on to win the race and then at the Cheltenham festival.

Having stayed on well to take that race in Scotland, he was then sent into the Paddy Power Plate at the Cheltenham festival over 2m4f and under a superb ride by 7lb claimer Jordan Gainford he took the event.

He is versatile with ground and has shown he stays this trip well, and if proving he can do it at this level now out of handicap company, he has a huge chance.

Progressive.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
26/11/23PUN24.5Sft11-95
14/10/23NMK18Sft9-11
16/08/23GOW12.5Gd10-04
29/04/23PUN19Gd/Y11-415
04/03/23KEL23.5GS11-23
Aintree - April 07 2021
Aintree 13:20
1
Tom Scudamore

Adagio

J:
 
Tom Scudamore
T:
 
David Pipe
Age: 4
Weight: 11-0
OR: 147
Days: 20

Its raining Grade Ones over at Aintree on day one and next up is the Doom Bar Anniversary 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle and Adagio for David Pipe represents the best form line heading into the race.

The youngster made his debut in November at Warwick when winning a decent event and then two starts ago stepped over two miles at Cheltenham and finished a good second behind the Gordon Elliott trained Duffle Coat.

He used that form next time out to drop back in class and easily land the Triumph Trial Juvenile Hurdle over the same course and distance.

The gelding took the race with ease, travelling well throughout the race and Pipe then gave him his chance at the top level when sending him to Chepstow last time out.

Stepping up against Nassalam, Adagio was pitched into the Grade One Finale Juvenile Hurdle and was a superb winner, staying on in the final stages to dominate the field.

With Grade One winning form, Pipe waited on him and sent him to Cheltenham in the Grade One Triumph Hurdle and he finished a superb second behind the smart Quilixios.

Having now proved it twice at the top level it sees him have a slight edge over the favourite Monmiral and we are backing him to go well once more.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
29/04/22PUN16Gd/Y11-125
15/03/22CHL16.5GS11-108
19/02/22WCN15Sft11-72
14/11/21CHL16.5Gd11-122
08/04/21AIN17GS11-02
Aintree - April 07 2021
Aintree 13:50
2
Harry Cobden

Clan Des Obeaux

J:
 
Harry Cobden
T:
 
Paul Nicholls
Age: 9
Weight: 11-7
OR: 169
Days: 46

The feature race on Thursday is the Grade One Betway Bowl and Clan Des Obeax for Paul Nicholls, has been unlucky in defeat recently, but we believe this time he can get his head in front.

Dual King George winner Clan Des Obeaux is looking to get back to winning ways having now gone four races without success and his handler Paul Nicholls is hoping that the addition of headgear will bring him forward in this event.

Last season he started his term off over in Northern Ireland in November with Nicholls sending him into the Grade One Champion Chase at Down Royal and he finished a smart second behind Road To Respect and it worked out to be the perfect prep run ahead of the King George VI.

He went on to become a dual King George winner on Boxing Day 2019 and looked to add a third on the 26th December 2020 having had a superb prep run at Haydock.

Having not gone down the same route as last year with heading over to Down Royal, Nicholls took Clan Des Obeaux to the Merseyside track for the Grade One Betfair Chase.

Having ran a stormer the whole way round, the heavy ground in the final stages told and saw him finish a close second to triple winner of the race Bristol De Mai.

He headed to Kempton full of confidence, but unfortunately it was not to be with stablemate Frodon stealing the show.

Last time out he was seen at Newbury in the Grade Two Denman Chase, which he won last year, but this time he around he was narrowly outstayed by stablemate Secret Investor.

All of these runs have been preparing him for a big run in this event and he has leading claims.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
07/04/22AIN25GS11-71
12/02/22NBY23.5GS11-63
26/12/21KEM24Sft11-102
28/04/21PUN24.5Y11-121
08/04/21AIN25GS11-71
Aintree - April 07 2021
Aintree 14:25
4
Nico de Boinville

Buveur D'Air

J:
 
Nico de Boinville
T:
 
Nicky Henderson
Age: 10
Weight: 11-7
OR: 158
Days: 75

The final Grade One event on the day is the 2m4f Aintree Hurdle where we see plenty of familiar faces take to post, and at a value angle Buveur D'Air can land the contest.

Buveur D'Air landed back to back Grade Ones at the Cheltenham festival in 2017 and 2018 but after that having set the bar so high may have just slightly fell below it.

Back in 2018 he started his season off in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle, as he did the season before putting in his best performance of the season when seeing off superstar Samcro like he was not there.

He then suffered a shock defeat to stablemate Verdana Blue in the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton on Boxing Day before getting back on track at Sandown in the Listed Contenders Hurdle.

His hat-trick bid in the Champion Hurdle loomed and if it wasn't for suffering his first fall of his career many think he would have picked up the pieces and landed the race that ultimately fell apart.

He headed to Aintree stepping up in trip and could only manage a narrow second to Supasundae but finished his season off in superb style showing that he still holds star ability when taking the Grade One Champion Hurdle at the Punchestown festival and reversing the form with Jessica Harrington's gelding.

Back for his seasonal debut in November 2019 he was odds on to land a third consecutive Fighting Fifth when being chinned by Cornerstone Lad on the line.It was revealed after the race he had suffered a nasty injury when clattering one of the flights at the northern track and he was not seen for sometime.

He returned at Haydock in January and it was only a question of fitness for how he would perform and it told in the final stages when not quite having the stamina to get home in his usual style.

The gelding has been saved for this event having missed the Cheltenham festival and if retaining any of his class from the last few seasons the 11/1 looks far too big.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
05/03/22KEL16Sft11-129
08/04/21AIN20GS11-74
23/01/21HAY15.5Hy11-42
30/11/19NCS16Hy11-72
03/05/19PUN16Gd/Y11-121
Aintree - April 07 2021
Aintree 15:05
4
Mr David Maxwell

Cat Tiger

J:
 
Mr David Maxwell
T:
 
Paul Nicholls
Age: 7
Weight: 12-0
OR: 142
Days: 37

Next up is the 2m5f Foxhunters' Open Hunters' Chase and with a huge field of runners heading to post and with that in mind we have two selections.

Near the top of the market Cat Tiger for Paul Nicholls looks to have a huge chance, having missed the Cheltenham event and saved for this.

The gelding is highly consistent winning five of his last eight races, whilst also placing in another two and last time out he ran a cracker to win at Leicester after a year off the track.

He will certainly come on for that run and being ridden by his owner David Maxwell, who is one of the best amateurs about makes him a big player if improving.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
31/05/24STR17Gd11-122
03/05/24CHL20.5Sft11-122
11/04/24AIN21Hy12-0UR
27/02/24LEI22.5Hy12-43
29/01/24HER21GS12-6RO
Aintree - April 07 2021
Aintree 15:05
11
Mr Daniel Cherriman

Kashmir Peak

J:
 
Mr Daniel Cherriman
T:
 
Alan Hill
Age: 12
Weight: 12-0
OR: 119
Days: 39

At a much bigger price Kashmir Peak for trainer Alan Hill can run a huge race at 50/1 and we are backing him to sneak into the placings.

The 12 year old is a veteran of the sport that during the last few years has been highly consistent, by winning and placing in point to points and hunter chases.

Having been off the track for 11 months the gelding returned this season in February at Fontwell over 3m2f and finished a smart fourth.

The form of that race has worked out really well with the first and second since going on to win and with the gelding being versatile when it comes to ground he will handle the quicker conditions well.

At 50/1 he looks a nice each way punt.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
08/04/21AIN21GS12-0F
28/02/21FON26Sft11-24
07/03/20AMP24Sft12-03
13/02/20LEI22.5Hy11-113
22/01/20WAR24Sft11-92
Aintree - April 07 2021
Aintree 15:40
2
Jordan Gainford

Moon Over Germany

J:
 
Jordan Gainford
T:
 
Henry De Bromhead
Age: 10
Weight: 11-11
OR: 148
Days: 26

The penultimate race of the day is the Grade Three Handicap Chase over two miles and again a big field goes to post and that means we have two nice each way selections.

The first is the Henry De Bromhead trained Moon Over Germany that will be ridden by the highly talented 7lb claimer Jordan Gainford.

The 10 year old will be very grateful for the weight offset being second top weight in the event and although lacking form of late, he has shown in the past just how special he can be.

Having been running on heavy and soft ground all year, he will be getting back to his preferred good ground on Thursday which will be sure to bring improvement.

The gelding was last seen at Navan finishing fourth of five runners in the Grade Two Webster Cup behind Grand National third favourite Any Second Now, Devenish Chase second Castlegrace Paddy and stablemate Ornua.

Another bonus for this horse is that he is a course and distance winner, taking this event back in 2019 and although higher in the weights, seems to come alive at the track.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
06/03/22HUN16Sft11-37
17/02/22SAN16Hy11-128
30/12/21HAY19Hy11-4PU
27/11/21NBY22.5GS11-5PU
12/11/21CHL16Gd11-6PU
Aintree - April 07 2021
Aintree 15:40
14
Sam Twiston-Davies

Grey Diamond

J:
 
Sam Twiston-Davies
T:
 
Sam Thomas
Age: 7
Weight: 10-11
OR: 134
Days: 27

At a similar price of 11/1 is the Sam Thomas trained Grey Diamond and the seven year old has been in fine form this season and with that is still weighted in this event to go well.

The gelding has been seen three times this term, finishing third of six runners on seasonal debut at Newbury in January, with the second place since coming out and winning a few times.

He then went to Sandown over a similar trip in a tougher race and was a good second behind Belargus, who was very well handicapped.

The seven year old went back over the same course and distance last time out, this time getting his preferred good ground and got off the mark for the season, reversing the form with Dostal Phil and dominating the rest of the field.

He is up 6lb for that run but being a progressive chaser this season can see him go close again.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
25/02/24NAA15.5Sft11-710
03/02/24LEO17Sft10-1010
13/01/24FAI17.5Sft10-117
02/12/23FAI17Sft11-110
13/04/23AIN16GS11-87
Aintree - April 07 2021
Aintree 16:15
15
Harry Cobden

Heartbreaker

J:
 
Harry Cobden
T:
 
Michael Bell
Age: 4
Weight: 10-8
OR: 107
Days: 9

The final selection from us on day one comes in the Grade Two Mares' Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race over 2m1f and Heartbreaker for Michael Bell gets our verdict.

The four year old looks to be a very progressive youngster having shown bundles ability on her debut at the end of March at Fakenham on quick ground.

She got off the mark at the first time of asking and although this is tougher, she will only come on for that first run.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
17/08/21WOL12St9-71
27/07/21WOR16Gd10-101
08/04/21AIN17GS10-812
30/03/21FAK16Gd10-91