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Aintree - Day 2 tips from Otis Brankin Frisby

Aintree 2024 – Day Two

 

1:45 Mildmay Novices Chase 3m

 

This looks a brilliant Mildmay with two Cheltenham winners among a handful of other interesting contenders. Inothewayurthinkin absolutely bolted up in the Kim Muir and has been raised to a mark of 158. He was previously unraced over 3m and only came off the bridle after the last to prevail by 8 lengths. The money which came for him that day was telling and he looks a graded staying chaser in the making, but I have a slight concern over his way of racing – he takes a bit of warming up and his jumping was big and slow at Cheltenham. The pace will likely be strong with a few prominent travellers and jumpers in the field so he won’t want to get too far behind. Chianti Classico is a danger if he jumps as well as he did at Cheltenham but at the prices I like GIOVINCO. He travelled all over Stay Away Fay at Sandown and proved his quality with an excellent third to Fact To File in the Brown Advisory. That form looks as strong as anything on offer here, he has won twice on heavy and as we saw with Ahoy Senor yesterday, Lucinda Russell’s horses seem to light up at this meeting.

 

Bet: Giovinco @ 9/1 1pt Win

 

 

2:20 William Hill Handicap Hurdle 2m4f

 

An incredibly competitive handicap hurdle over the intermediate trip where it is virtually impossible to have a strong opinion. A number of these look dangerously unexposed but who better to have on side than Dan Skelton. Yesterday Langer Dan proved that he is a proper Grade 1 horse who has been hidden and KATEIRA looks to be a similar mould. She was second in a Grade 1 over course and distance this time last year, 3½ lengths behind Irish Point who has proven himself at the very top level and is now rated 159 after his close second in the Champion Hurdle. Some good horses have come out of that race and it looks like she has been laid out for this. Nico de Boinville rode her at Kempton, where she was never really put into the race, and Harry Skelton has jumped off the winner that day, Boombawn, to ride her here. Even if she is well found in the market, it looks strategically planned and I can’t resist. Ocastle Des Mottes is interesting for Willie Mullins if he learns to settle better in a first-time hood and Making Headway has always looked like he’ll improve for the step up in trip but the other one I like towards the top of the market is Inthewaterside for Nicholls and Max McNeill. After he won at Aintree in October the Challow was mentioned as a possible target. He was second at Ascot last time out when misbehaving in the prelims and the winner, racing off 8lb lower that day has franked the form since. Theatre Man may well take advantave of a mark of 133 after falling in the Plate at Cheltenham when sent off favourite. He won his last novice hurdle at Kempton very comfortably and behind him that day was King of Ryhope,

 

Bet: Kateira @ 11/2 1pt Win

Bet: Sonigino @ 28/1 0.5pt EW (6 places)

 

 

2:55 Top Novices Hurdle 2m½f

 

Two discrete form lines prop up the market here. Mystical Power and Firefox come here off fine runs in the Supreme, but they face two very good mares with a 7lb allowance in the form of Golden Ace, the Mares Novice winner at Cheltenham, and Dysart Enos, who beat Golden Ace in the Aintree bumper last year and missed Cheltenham lame. I keep changing my mind on this and have come to the conclusion that it is best to leave this race alone. Mystical Power undoubtedly boasts the strongest performance with his 1½ length second in the Supreme, but it could be argued that Firefox didn’t have the run of the race that day and will get closer this time. As for the mares, Dysart Enos comes here fresh and has the beating of Golden Ace on last year’s form, but you can’t knock what Golden Ace has achieved now and she is arguably a fairer price.  

 

 

3:30 Melling Chase 2m4f

 

It will be fascinating to see how Jonbon fares on his first go at 2½m, which has been in the offing for a while now. He missed Cheltenham, of course, but should relish this step up in trip and I think will benefit from having Nico de Boinville back in the saddle. He is perhaps the most talented horse in this field but also seems short at 7/4 considering how his jumping seems to have disintegrated this season. One could stick him in a double with something tomorrow but a reverse forecast with the two solid horses in this field is how I’m going to play the race. PIC D’ORHY warrants respect as last year’s winner. He has been laid out for the race again and Paul Nicholls even earmarked him as his best chance of the meeting. He hasn’t been out of the first two in eight starts and his form this year is very strong. I can’t let PROTEKTORAT go unbacked after Cheltenham, where the drop in trip seemed to be the making of him. I said at the time that connections had been holding onto the hope that he just might be a Gold Cup horse for too long and they themselves said as much after he won the Ryanair. Removing stamina from the equation, he was allowed to bowl out at his own pace and seemed to settle a lot better.

 

Bet: Reverse Forecast 0.5pt each (1pt total)

            Protektorat 7/2

            Pic D’Orhy 7/2

 

 

4:05 Topham Handicap Chase 2m5f

 

The Friday race over the National fences. I always find the Topham difficult so my approach is to find a couple of horses at a price that look reasonably well handicapped but, more importantly, jump well and are capable of holding their position. FRERO BANBOU is a good jumper who races prominently. He was third over these fences in the Sefton in November. I liked him for the Plate where he ran well if unspectacularly and it’s not clear that he stays 2½m at Cheltenham. Two miles on a flatter track should suit on ground he is sure to relish and he benefits from a swing in the weights with rivals towards the top of the market. My other dart is GRANDADS COTTAGE, who has been steadily progressive with few runs over fences. The combination of a tongue-tie and 2½m seems to bring out the best in him and he is a good jumper. He was beaten last time out but not by much and the form has been franked since by Heltenham. 

 

Bet: Frero Banbou @ 16/1 0.5pt EW (6 places)

Bet: Grandads Cottage @ 33/1 0.5pt EW (6 places)

 

 

4:40 Sefton Novices Hurdle 3m½f

 

The Jukebox Man ran a blinder at Cheltenham and was unfortunate not to hold on from Stellar Story, but the Albert Bartlett is a particularly gruelling race, not least for novices. The last horse to do the double here was At Fishers Cross in 2013 and none of the last three winners ran at Cheltenham at all. This is just the sort of race to look beyond those who ran at the festival. CROKE PARK runs in the same colours as the Bartlett winner and Gordon Elliott actually said that he was the one they had for the race originally before he got a stone bruise. If you excuse his last run at Naas, which looked to bad to be true, he looked very progressive and all stamina, winning his maiden hurdle on heavy ground then a Navan novice when hitting the line hard.

 

Bet: Croke Park @ 8/1 1pt EW (3 places)

 

 

5:15 Lydiate Handicap Hurdle 2m½f

 

Go Dante has to be seriously respected for the in-form Olly Murphy off the back of two excellent runs off 129 in the Betfair Hurdle and the Imperial Cup, but at the top of the market I prefer MAIDENSTREETPRINCE. Charles Byrnes is an excellent plot trainer and he looks very well treated here off a mark of 128. He beat Sa Fureur and Aime Desjy in a maiden hurdle last season, while last time out he cruised past Call Me Lyreen and was looked to be travelling comfortably alongside Sir Gerhard before falling. He seems to cope with the ground and has Philip Byrnes on board. Others on my list include Densworth and Pikar but I am going to take a chance on YOUR HONOR at 66/1. He won a handicap hurdle on heavy ground at Limerick at Christmas off a mark of 114 and is 12lb higher here but it was interesting that he was backed into favourite despite being unplaced in three outings and beaten by a combined 63 lengths, going off at 50/1 in each of the latter two. The second that day, Luminous Light had recently come off a third to Waterford Whispers and Answer to Kayf at Fairyhouse. He wasn’t fancied next time out at Musselburgh and there’s a chance he hasn’t been showing his full hand.

 

Bet: Maidenstreetprince @ 11/2 1pt Win

Bet: Your Honor @ 66/1 0.5pt EW (5 places)

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