Fifth in the race last year Rocky Creek (4:15) is fancied to land the 2015 Grand National for Paul Nicholls and Sam Twiston-Davies.
The imposing nine-year-old relished the big fences last year and, now he appears to be seeing out his races more strongly, he can last home under a slightly less aggressive ride. Read my full Grand National preview here (posted earlier in the week) - www.betrescue.com/2015/04/grand-national-tips-2015/
With Arkle winner Un De Sceaux not travelling over from Ireland, the Maghull Novices’ Chase can go the way of Court Minstrel (2:05) who won the handicap hurdle on this card 12 months ago.
Evan Williams’ eight-year-old will relish the conditions at Aintree on Saturday and the former Scottish Champion Hurdle winner should have too much pace for his rivals.
Court Minstrel’s stable-mate Buywise (3:25) has proven expensive to follow in handicaps this season and again ran on all too late at Cheltenham last month. Stepping up in trip could help the son of Tikkanen, however, who has had his jumping problems of late.
The selection has tons of natural ability and can certainly win a nice prize off his current mark. A winner over 2m7½f at Taunton last January, it is hoped that everything clicks this afternoon, with the longer trip likely to put slightly less emphasis on his jumping.
World Hurdle winner Cole Harden is another who should appreciate the prevailing ground and he is likely to make a bold bid to follow up in the Silver Cross Stayers’ Hurdle. Zarkandar (2:50) has 6½ lengths to make up with the winner, but he made a serious error two out and he has gone well at this track in the past.
A winner of the four-year-old hurdle back in 2011, he went on to beat The New One in the Aintree Hurdle two years later and he is taken to reverse form.
Another hampered by that mistake in the World Hurdle was Blue Fashion, who is capable of going well at bigger odds for Nicky Henderson and David Bass – he certainly shouldn’t be overlooked from an each-way perspective at around 20-1.
Later on the card One For The Guv’nr (5:10) is fancied to land the conditional and amateur jockeys’ handicap hurdle, under Gold Cup winning rider, Nico de Boinville.
Two from three over hurdles, he looks just the type for a speed track like Aintree (raced exclusively on tight flat tracks) and he ought to relish a strongly run handicap. An opening mark of 135 looks fair and Racing Ahead readers will know that I have had this race in mind for him, since he won as he liked at Kempton in mid-March.
I’ve got a day off tomorrow, but will be back on Monday.
2:05 Aintree: Court Minstrel
2:50 Aintree: Zarkandar
3:25 Aintree: Buywise
4:15 Aintree: Rocky Creek
5:10 Aintree: One For The Guv’nr
Paul Ferguson’s Jumpers To Follow 2014-15
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