Trainers are beginning to firm up their plans for the Crabbie’s Grand National meeting at Aintree next month and I am particularly looking forward to seeing Dynaste back up to 3m in the Aintree Bowl and The New One in the Aintree Hurdle.
It would be some race if Annie Power made another journey across the Irish Sea although she may well wait for Punchestown.
Note we at BetVictor are now betting each way 6 places on the National with Teaforthree our 10/1 favourite to go two places better than last year when he led over the last.
Having advised Teaforthree at 20/1 when the weights were announced I suggest we add Burton Port (20/1 ew) to our portfolio as I thought he ran a cracker at Newbury on ground softer than ideal last time.
Today’s feature meeting comes from Haydock Park and we start with a terrific 3m Handicap Chase where I hope Presented (2.10) can score for Brian Ellison and AP McCoy who returns to the saddle having taken a short-break post Cheltenham with his son Archie still in hospital following cardiac surgery.
Presented should enjoy the forecast good ground and, as long as he is over his Newcastle exertions, he must run well in a fascinating seven-runner race.
Top Gamble (2.40) can defy top-weight for David Pipe in the valuable handicap hurdle; lightly raced he has been a disappointing beaten favourite in both starts so far this term but he remains an exciting long term prospect and today’s better ground ought to suit.
The progressive grey Bincombe (3.10) is clearly going the right way and can defy a 9lb rise for winning at Newbury on heavy ground last month.
Tom O’Brien takes over from Richard Johnson on the 6-y-o for the first time and do watch out for a market move for Ballymacahillcross trained by Evan Williams.
The son of Presenting has been off the track for over 12 months but he would have beaten Mullaghanoe River in a p-t-p in his native Ireland a couple of years ago and that is very good form for a horse rated 110.
Gansey is reaching the veteran stage but has been given a chance by the handicapper and today’s better ground will suit but Rudemeister (4.15) will love the better ground, goes well fresh and is sure to be a big price.
Trained by Lucinda Russell the selection certainly has scope and is expected to have a good spring; the same sentiment applies to the yrad’s other runner Reaping The Reward although the handicapper may have his measure at present. Watch out for him running at Ayr or Perth this spring.
At Warwick The Nephew (5.00) is a confident selection for Jonjo O’Neill and Richie McLernon as long as the rains stay away.
A winner at Worcester and Uttoxeter back in September the horse has run well in two Bumpers in recent weeks and although 7lbs higher than when beaten at Carlisle last time he remains potentially well handicapped off his current mark of 115.
For all your racing odds check out BetVictor.com