Peter Bowen could yet retain the John Smith’s Topham Chase today. He saddles two fresh horses, ready to contribute to their stable’s return to form.
Gullible Gordon looks especially interesting after shaping well in unsuitable ground over these fences in December. But marginal preference is instead for Last Time D’Albain (3.40).
The rising star of Irish racing, Bryan Cooper, is an eye-catching booking and his mount seems to have been given a highly purposeful break since his excellent staying-on third to Colbert Station, who figures among the National favourites, in one of Ireland’s top handicap chases at Christmas. Even for a horse otherwise unexposed at this kind of distance, 25-1 looks far too big.
Sprinter Sacre’s trainer, Nicky Henderson, will be hoping to tee up the big race of the day by winning the opener with My Tent Or Yours (2.0). He seems certain to relish this sharper track and the only caveat is that he did have a searching race at Cheltenham.
With that in mind Sea of Thunder (2.30) could be value returning from a long break on conditions that very much play to his strengths. But the ground could now be a little too lively for At Fishers Cross, who seeks to follow up his Festival success in the Sefton Novices’ Hurdle. His jumping may lose fluency on this faster going and Road To Riches (4.15) is another Gigginstown horse who arrives fresh from Ireland. It would be great to see Noel Meade come up with a smart prospect again, and this one could not have shaped better in learning the ropes.
Chris McGrath’s Nap
Barbatos (4.50 Aintree) Looks well treated on his novice form, when he won here, and progressed well at the Festival.
My Son Max (7.30 W’hampton) Unlucky in consecutive starts before narrow defeat last time. A good apprentice can make the difference with his claim.
Ones to watch
Style Vendome (Nicolas Clement) and What A Name (Mikel Delzangles) look a colt and filly to respect in the Classics judged on their trials in France yesterday.
Where the money’s going
Colbert Station, the National mount of Tony McCoy, is 9-1 from 10-1 with Ladbroke