Horse Racing

Aintree Thursday 8th April

Thursday 8th April 13:50

WhichBookie racing analyst Will Smith provides a preview and betting tips for the races at Aintree on Thursday 8th April.

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Bookie Selection Best Odds Market Bet
Clondaw Castle 13/2 E/W
2.50 Betway Bowl
Place Bet
Heartbreaker 40/1 E/W
5.15 Goffs UK Nickel Coin Mares’ Bumper
Place Bet
Step To The Top 40/1 E/W
5.15 Goffs UK Nickel Coin Mares’ Bumper
Place Bet

Date of Tips: 07/04/2021

Disclaimer The odds for these selections were correct at the time of publishing (18:33 07/04/2021) but may have changed since. Please check the latest price before placing your bet.

The opener on Thursday is the first of four Grade 1’s which welcome us and owners back to Aintree, and the Manifesto Novices’ Chase looks super competitive. I wouldn’t be surprised if any of the top 6 in the market win, so no bet.

The following Anniversary 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle features the reappearance of the highly-touted Monmiral, who is up against the tough and consistent Adagio, who was a cracking second in the Triumph Hurdle of course. I would just prefer Adagio at the prices, but will his busier campaign catch up with him?

The first bet of the day comes in the Betway Bowl at 2.50, and it is a fascinating race. So many different profiles are clashing, and it is quite hard to be hugely dogmatic about most of these, but I do think Clondaw Castle is well worth an each-way bet at 13/2 with Sky Bet, who are offering 4 places.

It is eye-catching that only now has Tom George stepped this horse up to 3m, as last time out he romped home in a quality handicap chase over that trip at Kempton. That was the same race that Tom George’s Nacarat used to always run well in before coming here – indeed the flying grey won the Bowl in 2011.

Taking a deeper look at Clondaw Castle’s form, and I had to rub my eyes when discovering that he had run in 2 Grade 1’s, 4 Grade 2’s and 2 Grade 3’s in his 20-race rules career. He has only finished worse than 4th in two of those Graded races, with excuses possible for both. So, it is with quiet confidence that I can put aside my initial assumption that Clondaw Castle was not inherently classy enough for this race.

A cracking second in the Old Roan on his seasonal reappearance this season, Clondaw Castle has progressed with each run, and on his two starts before the Kempton romp, he was mightily unlucky to be hampered by fallers at various stages on both occasions. It hid his light under a bushel somewhat, and he very much burnt that bushel down when winning at Kempton in a good time.

At 13/2 each-way with Sky Bet for four places, Clondaw Castle is the bet of the day in the Betway Bowl at 2.50.

The Aintree Hurdle is tricky, as I can’t be sure which of the plethora of two milers in opposition will suit this trip the most, while I have never been an expert of hunter chases, so will also pass over the Fox Hunters. The Red Rum Handicap Chase is always a race I like, and would be very keen on Henry De Bromhead’s Moon Over Germany, who won the race in 2019 and has Cheltenham Festival-winning crack claimer Jordan Gainford to assist. But I’d just be worried the ground isn’t quite soft enough for him.

So, the last betting opportunity of the day comes in the Goffs UK Nickel Coin Mares’ Bumper at 5.15, and with plenty of firms offering 4 places, I am going to take on the front of the market with Michael Bell’s recent Fakenham winner Heartbreaker at 40/1 with Paddy Power, and also Laura Morgan’s Step To The Top at 40/1 with Bet365.

The world and his wife will want to be on Pam Sly’s Eileendover for this, and she does look above average, but speed figures suggest that a few of her rivals have achieved as much to date. Elle Est Belle is another horse I like a lot, and I think she could be a live one for the Mares’ Novice Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival next year, but she shapes like a stayer, and might be vulnerable to something with a little more pace here.

Heartbreaker was impressive at Fakenham just nine days ago, and is a big enough mare to suggest that whatever she did that day, she will be much better on a more conventional track. While Step To The Top – having her first start for Morgan and with Jack Kennedy interestingly booked – she will love the better ground than she encountered the last twice. She is better than she has looked on both occasions.

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