Day two of Aintree’s Grand National Meeting features four Grade 1 contests alongside the action packed Topham Handicap Chase over the Grand National Fences. Fakir D’oudairies defends his crown in the day’s feature race, the Melling Chase at 3.30.
Joseph O’Brien’s has something to prove after being hammered by Shiskin in the Ascot Chase last time out and we’ll be looking elsewhere for our best bets of Friday’s card.
Aintree Friday Best Bets
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Davy Russell strike gold with Gerri at likely swansong meeting
Jordan Gainford is a superb young jockey but will likely have given horses better rides than the one he gave Gerri Colombe when going down by a short head to The Real Whacker in the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham.
The Real Whacker won’t be among the opposition at Aintree, leaving Gerri Colombe as the highest rated horse in the contest by a margin of 5lbs. Davy Russell takes over in the saddle and will be keen to savour victory given he’s likely to retire from riding at the end of the meeting.
Bronn and Galia Des Liteaux both finished finished four-and-a-quarter lengths or more behind the selection at the Festival in March and he should have enough of a class edge to land his eighth win in nine runs under rules.
Extra three furlongs can see Tahmuras get back to winning ways
Hermes Allen may not be the only Paul Nicholls runner who can relish a step up in trip after an underwhelming Cheltenham effort. The trainer was asked to explain Tahmuras’ poor run in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle by the stewards and pointed to his charge being outpaced.
Prior to that 10th placed effort the six-year-old had landed the Grade 1 Tolworth Hurdle at Sandown in the kind of stamina-packed fashion that suggests the extra three furlongs here should be right up his street.
The form of that win was franked when third placed Nemean Lion won the Grade 2 Morebattle Hurdle at Kempton in February and at 12/1 Tahmuras looks overpriced to bounce back here.
Bank on the Bowen boys’ brilliant Topham record
The Topham has been a talismanic race for Peter Bowen down the years, with no trainer boasting a better record across the last 20 runnings. During that timeframe Bowen has saddled 21 runners for a return of five wins and a further eight placed efforts.
Yet somehow Equus Dancer, his sole representative in the 2023 edition, is priced up at a handsome each-way price even though son Sean has been jocked up since early in the week.
If the horse’s mere association with the Bowens isn’t enough to convince you he has a live chance, his recent form should do the trick. He’s won five of his last six starts mixing mediums between hurdles and fences, with the sole blot on that record coming when he stepped up to 3m.
Back at 2m5f in the Topham he should sneak in right at the bottom of the weights and looks well worth an each-way play.
Longshot: Equus Dancer to win 4.05 @ 12/1