Paul Ferguson has three more tips for Friday’s Aintree Grand National meeting, hoping to follow up on yesterday’s successes.
Paul Nicholls and Ruby Walsh got off to the best start possible at the Grand National meeting yesterday, winning the first two races, and the pair can strike again today with the extremely exciting young chaser Mon Parrain (3:40) in the John Smith’s Topham Chase.
The five-year-old has been hiked up 16lbs for winning on his British debut at Sandown last month, but that may not be enough to stop him as he looked a graded performer in waiting at the Esher track.
His French form is smart and Nicholls reported he wasn’t near peak fitness for that debut. With improvement expected, he will take plenty of beating if taking to the unique Grand National fences.
The way he jumped round Sandown makes you believe he will take to them and the fact that connections gave him an entry in yesterday’s Totesport Bowl suggests that he is held in the highest regard.
As with all the races on today’s card, the Grade 1 Sefton Novices’ Hurdle looks particularly competitive, but if Mossley (4:15) reproduces his Cheltenham Festival second he ought to gain compensation.
Nicky Henderson’s charge chased home stable-mate Bobs Worth in the Albert Bartlett, showing much improved form returning to better ground.
Conditions should be ideal for the five-year-old here as he stays well but has the pace to cope with sharp tracks, having won his bumper at Worcester and on his hurdles debut at Huntingdon.
The opening Top Novices’ Hurdle is competitive too, but arguably not as strong a renewal as is often the case, so I’m siding with Topolski (2:00) despite him needing to take a big step forward.
A smart performer on the Flat, he is two from two over hurdles and this has been his end of season target ever since he moved to the David Arbuthnot stable.
Having won a slowly run race at Sandown and a decent contest by Newton Abbot standards, he looks tailor-made for this track and must go close for Daryl Jacob.
I do, however, fear A Media Luz as she was high-class on the Flat in France and could easily be a different proposition on this ground and speed track.
If Barry Geraghty settles her, she has the pace to beat this lot and, at 8/1, I wouldn’t put anyone off having a saver on Nicky Henderson’s smart filly.
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Last year’s selections included:
Hurricane Fly: 3/1 winner of the G1 Rabobank Champion Hurdle
Copper Bleu: 12/1 winner of the Jewson at Cheltenham
Great Endeavour: 18/1 winner of the Festival Plate
Tranguil Sea: 11/2 winner of the Paddy Power Gold Cup
Sizing Europe: 6/1 winner of the Arkle
Weapon’s Amnesty: 10/1 winner of the RSA Chase