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A busy Saturday ahead, Watty has joined the ranks today along with Charlie, Jamie & Rich..
Sandown 2.20 Class 2 Handicap Hurdle over 2m
Selection – Homme Public 5 yr old Gelding out of Cokoriko and Uddy. Has had 10 runs over hurdles winning 3 times. The wins have came at Market Rasen, Newcastle and Wetherby over 2m. Won on most recent outing at Wetherby on the 12th November when beating Too Friendly by 5 and 1/2 lengths. If reproducing that here should have too much for this field, biggest threat to the selection comes in the shape of Love Envoi who has won 5 times from 6 starts over hurdles.
Aintree 2.40 Class 2 Handicap Chase over 2m 4f
Selection – Riders On The Storm 9 yr old Gelding out of Scorpion and Endless Moments. Has had 25 career starts winning 6 times, had 1 win from 6 starts over hurdles before embarking on chase career, has 5 wins from 17 starts over fences including 2 wins and a 2nd place at this venue. Won on most recent outing here on the 23rd October when beating Hitman by a head over 2m 4f. if reproducing that kind of effort again should be enough to gain another victory, biggest danger to the selection comes in the shape of Gunsight Ridge who also won here on last start on the 5th of November when beating Galop De Chasse by 2 and 1/4 lengths over 2m.
2:20 – Handicap Hurdle (Class 2)
Selection: Love Envoi
There is doubting that this will take a big performance once again from Love Envoi off 11st-10lbs, but I think her class will tell this afternoon. The classy 6yo Mare brings in the best form after a terrific novice hurdling campaign last season which saw her win five of her six races. The pick of those victories came in the Mares Novices Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, where Love Envoi’s high cruising speed came in very handy. She is undoubtedly the class act in this field and if she is anywhere near her best then she will be tough to beat. Love Envoi also holds a win over C&D already when taking a Grade 2 here in February. This is a Mare I like a lot and I will be watching her closely this season.
2:27 – Close Brothers Novices Hurdle
Selection: The Four Sixes
This looks to be a competitive and open looking Novice Hurdle over 2m 4f as the market would suggest. Gordon Elliott’s The Four Sixes is among the least exposed of the 13 declared runners and looks to be in with every chance. Having shown some promise when third in his only bumper in the spring, The Four Sixes made a winning debut over hurdles at Clonmel a fortnight ago. The son of Westerner kept on well for pressure that day over two miles and I am hopeful that the step up in trip to 2m 4f will bring out more improvement in The Four Sixes. He doesn’t appear harshly treated off 11st-7lbs either for what will essentially be his handicap debut. Yielding ground should also be okay as Davy Russell retains the partnership from Clonmel.
1.30, 3m1f Many Clouds Chase G2.
On paper a very nice looking contest featuring the Grand National winner from April and a few Cheltenham Festival winners to add a bit of festive spice to this race.
Favourite at the moment is top novice from last season Ahoy Senior, he bagged some big prizes including the Mildmay Novices’ Chase here in April and finished second behind last Saturday’s Rehearsal Chase victor L’Homme Presse in the big 3m Novice at Cheltenham too.
For me I think he is worth taking on after his poor reappearance at Wetherby in the Charlie Hall and I’m going for the Nicky Henderson trained Chantry House to do the biz instead.
He is a course and distance winner as he won the 2021 Mildmay when it was behind closed doors and bagged the Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham back in January, although he was pulled up in the Gold Cup this is a race very much for the taking and i think he is the one to be on.
2.05, Becher Chase, Premier Handicap, 3m2f.
The last race of the year at Aintree over the big green fences sees a field of twenty three face the starter in what will be a truly run race and expect the usual thrills and spills.
Course form always counts for extra here, last months Grand Sefton runner up Gesskile bids to go one better and although he does shape like he will stay no 6yo has ever won has ever won it although three 7yo have.
In recent years the trainers at the more lower end who don’t have the Gold Cup horses tend to do well in a race like this and one of quite a few who stand out for me is Dr Kananga from Ben Clarke’s stable in Dorset.
His seven starts over fences has yielded three wins including the famous Heart Of All England Hunter Chase at Hexham, just the one start this season saw him run second in a 2m7f novice hurdle at Bangor last month behind the useful Maximillian, back in fourth was Fortescue who also runs but i think Dr Kananaga has been laid out to scoop a big pot.
2.05 Beecher Handicap Chase – Class 1 – 6yo+ – 3m 1f 188yds
Rapid Flight – Midnight Legend X Spring Flight 6yo gelding.
Winner of chase races between May 2021 & August 2022, including 4 on the bounce at Cartmel in C4, C3 & C2 company. He unseated his Jockey on seasonal return in a 3m 2f Class 2 handicap chase at Kelso in October, at the first fence before finishing a 20 length runner up to Crystal Glory in a Hexham Class 3 3m handicap chase on November 16th. This is a big step up in class but with up to 7 places available, i think at around 33s is a decent EW shout – EACH WAY
2.33 Novice Handicap Chase – Class 4 – 4yo+ – 3m 45yds…
Harry Du Berlais – Shirocco X Theatre Mole 5yo gelding.
Inexperienced chaser, who has only made 5 starts in total, 2 over chase fences. He made 3 hurdle starts having moved from Colin Bowe.
he finished a 1/2 length 2nd on Chase debut last April before being put away for the summer & making his seasonal return on November 10th in a 2m 7f Market Rasen Class 4 Novice Handicap Chase, winning by a short head. Race’s from a mark of 100, which could underestimate his ability despite his lack of experience! WIN
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Good Luck – The AOLR Team