Horse Racing

Aintree – Thursday 7th April

Thursday 7th April 13:45

WhichBookie analyst Will Smith previews a fascinating Day One of Aintree's Grand National meeting on Thursday 7th April

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Bookie Selection Best Odds Market Bet
War Lord 5/25/2 Win
13.45 Aintree
Place BetPlace Bet
Eldorado Allen 6/16/1 Each-Way (3 places 1/5)
14.55 Aintree
Place BetPlace Bet
Saddlers Quest 12/112/1 Each-Way (3 places 1/5)
13.35 Ffos Las
Place BetPlace Bet

Date of Tips: 07/04/2022

Disclaimer The odds for these selections were correct at the time of publishing (07:14 07/04/2022) but may have changed since. Please check the latest price before placing your bet.

Who’d be a weather forecaster? Who’d be a clerk of the course for a highly scrutinised race meeting at one of the biggest tracks in the country? Who’d be a punter/analyst who is relying on both of the above for accuracy and efficiency of information?!

The first two have a thankless task, and are expected to get it right. Anything less is viewed as somewhere between unforeseen mistake and unmitigated disaster, depending on who you ask. While as the punter/analyst, it is a job to dissect all the information, and then still call it right.

Take Aintree today, the ground is currently mainly good to soft, and there are showers forecast which on average could deposit 3-5mm. Will it turn the ground soft? Will these showers materialise, and if not, will the strong wind dry the ground back to near good? Will the forecasters get it spectacularly wrong as they did on the Wednesday of the Cheltenham Festival? When over 10 times the amount of rain that was suggested actually fell.

All of this spiel is to offer up reasons why I have found it incredibly tough to nail down many selections for Day One of a fascinating Aintree Grand National Festival!

The only extra bet at Aintree on Thursday comes in the opener, the Manifesto Novices’ Chase at 1.45, in the shape of the Colin Tizzard-trained Arkle fourth War Lord. At 5/2 with Paddy Power, he is their clear favourite, but looking at prices elsewhere and the early morning exchange prices, you may get bigger if you are prepared to be patient and pick your moment.

In my eyes, War Lord should be close to a 7/4 favourite for this weak Grade 1, after an excellent run in the aforementioned Arkle at the Cheltenham Festival. Jumping and travelling smoothly at a genuine tempo in the first half of the race, he got a little outpaced by Edwardstone and others as they quickened down the hill, but then as War Lord hit the rising ground, he stayed on again strongly.

All season, his form has been rock solid, as too has his jumping prowess, which will stand him in good stead compared to a couple of iffy jumpers here – Pic D’Orhy, Millers Bank and to a lesser degree Erne River.

If you parachuted any of War Lord’s opposition today into the Arkle three weeks ago, then to me you’d have very little hope of any of them faring with the same degree of credit, expect perhaps Pic D’Orhy.

Now obviously, today’s race is over 2m4f, and with that in mind, I can also see a huge chunk of improvement forthcoming from War Lord over that trip, which could reasonably see an even better run today than in the Arkle.

If that is the case, then 5/2 with Paddy Power will hopefully look incredibly generous come the end of the race, and it’s very much worth supporting War Lord to kickstart what I hope will be a good day for the Tizzards.

With that in mind – having recommended Eldorado Allen at 13/2 each-way for the Betway Bowl at 2.55 earlier in the week, it was with the hope that maybe one or two of his rivals wouldn’t be declared – this hasn’t happened, as a competitive field of 9 go to post.

But all the comments in the linked article apply, and I strongly feel that 3m1f around Aintree on good to soft ground could produce a career defining performance from Eldorado Allen, so at 6/1 with Paddy Power this morning, he is definitely worth also backing each-way, if you haven’t already.

If the ground were genuinely close to good, then I would be hopeful of a big run from Knight Salute at 7/1 each-way with Paddy Power in the market ‘without Pied Piper’ in the Anniversary Four-Year-Old Juvenile Hurdle at 2.20. But that may a bet you could have yourselves later, once we know more about the ground. Old

While, in the Red Rum Handicap Chase at 4.40, if it stayed dry then Before Midnight would be a solid pick, however if it went soft then Gunsight Ridge and Frero Banbou also come right into it. Best to leave alone right now.

Aware that one extra bet may leave followers feeling short-changed, I am willing to put up one I fancy elsewhere today too. In the Ship Around – Dinas Mares’ Handicap Hurdle at 1.35 at Ffos Las, I can see a big run from the bottom weight Saddlers Quest at 12/1 each-way with Paddy Power.

Debra Hamer’s mare very much caught the eye at Newton Abbot last time as one to note, not getting the cleanest run through, and then not being subjected to too hard a race in the closing stages, it is wise to expect improvement at a track where she has run well previously.

The impressive conditional Joe Anderson takes the ride, and plenty suggests a big run from Saddlers Quest at 12/1 each-way with Paddy Power.

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