The 3m 1f totesport Bowl Chase is the highlight of the opening day of Aintree’s Grand National meeting, with the Paul Nicholls’ trained favourite Denman hoping to go one better than when finding only Long Run too good in last month’s Cheltenham Gold Cup.
The eleven year-old took a heavy fall in last years’ contest when challenging eventual winner Madison Du Berlais at the second-last.
While Ruby Walsh’s mount is sure to be hard to beat he will face two tough rivals in the shape of Nacarat and Punchestowns.
Both horses bypassed the festival and are lightly raced this season, but the last named has failed to impress with his jumping this season and with conditions very much in his favour the Tom George trained Nacarat is certain to make a bold bid from the front.
Winner of the Charlie Hall Chase back in October, Paddy Brennan’s mount will appreciate Aintree’s better ground and is value at odds of 9/2 with totesport to show his rival’s a clean pair of heels.
Festival winners’ Big Buck’s and Zarkandar will both go off at short odds to follow up in the opening two contests, but unlucky Christie’s Foxhunters Chase faller Baby Run looks a better betting proposition in the John Smith’s Fox Hunters’ at 3.40.
Willie Twiston-Davies’ mount looked to have the race in safe keeping before blundering and unseating his pilot two from home at Cheltenham, and the 7/2 shot can gain well deserved compensation in the 2m 5 1/2f event over the Grand National fences.
Cheltenham’s Jewson runner-up Wishfull Thinking has Medermit to beat in the totepool Manifesto Novices’ Chase, while the matalan.co.uk Red Rum Handicap Chase can go to the David Pipe trained Leo’s Lucky Star racing off a featherwight 10s, in the 2m event.
The meeting ends with a hugely competitive 2m 4f handicap hurdle, and provides the promising novice Megastar with a perfect opportunity to take advantage of a potentially lenient handicap mark for trainer Gary Moore. The 8/1 currently available with both Bet365 and William Hill looks decent value in the twenty two runner contest.