Grand National 2016 jockey

Aintree Grand National Festival 2016 – Day One Preview

The opening day of Aintree’s Grand National meeting feature’s some high-class racing as the best horses from Britain and Ireland look to add to their Cheltenham Festival victories or gain compensation for losses.

We have previewed the big race action which includes the Grade One Doom Bar Aintree Hurdle and the Betfred Bowl Chase.

1.40pm – Merseyrail Manifesto Novices´ Chase (Grade 1)

The opening race of the Grand National meeting see’s several runners-up from the Cheltenham Festival line-up in a bid for a big race win before the end of the season.

The market is headed by the talented and consistent Sizing John for trainer Henry De Bromhead. The six-year-old has an unfortunate habit of running into Douvan and if it weren’t for the Willie Mullins superstar he would be unbeaten over fences. If he stays the extra half a mile he will be right there at the end of the race.

Eventmasters Horse Racing Ambassador, Richard Johnson, takes the ride on Garde La Victoire. The seven-year-old was sent off as the 4-1 co-favourite in the JLT Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham and looked to be coming with a challenge before falling four out. Has to be considered on form.

Bouvreuil was another who was unable to register his first success at The Festival, after finishing second to Ballyalton in the Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase. The Paul Nicholls five-year-old is unexposed over fences and could run a big race on this flatter track.

Verdict: A tough race to decipher given so many run with credit at Cheltenham, but Sizing John is a horse who is all-class and on this flat track he could register a maiden Grade One victory.

2.50pm – Betfred Bowl Chase (Grade 1)

The Betfred Bowl is always a strong race and has been won for the last two seasons by Silviniaco Conti, the champion doesn’t return to defend his crown and will instead run in the Grand National, but it is still a high quality renewal.

Cue Card has been in phenomenal form this season and his return to glory has been one of the success stories of the season. He looked in the process of running a big race when falling in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, if he has recovered well from that tumble he will be hard to beat.

Djakadam finished runner-up in the Gold Cup for the second time last month and will be looking to make amends here. He is a high-class jumper and has bumped into some good horses at Cheltenham, if that effort hasn’t taken too much out of him he could get his first Grade One win in the UK.

Don Poli was another who was placed in the Gold Cup as he ran on for third behind Djakadam and Don Cossack. The seven-year-old is a course and distance winner after beating Grand National favourite Many Clouds in December. Question marks remain about his ability at this level, but he was well fancied for the Gold Cup and could gain some compensation here for Willie Mullins.

Saphir Du Rheu won at this meeting last season, but has looked a shadow of himself this year. Dynaste is another performer who has failed to meet expectations this season. While Taquin Du Seuil run well at Cheltenham but it is difficult to see him being involved here.

Verdict: This race looks to be between the first three in the market. Cue Card’s crashing fall could have left a mark, while Djakadam ran well again but it was another hard race. Don Poli made some really eye catching progress in that race and with Bryan Cooper back in the saddle he could be the one to side with.

3.25pm – Doom Bar Aintree Hurdle (Grade 1)    

The feature race of the day is the Aintree Hurdle and the 2016 renewal see’s the first four from last month’s Champion Hurdle return to battle it out.

Annie Power finally reigned supreme at the Cheltenham Festival last month after failing to win on her previous two runs there. She broke the track record under Ruby Walsh and was simply magnificent, this step up in trip won’t bother her and her seven pound allowance makes her hard to beat.

Annie Power’s stablemate Nichols Canyon finished a creditable third in the Champion Hurdle, but after some really tough races this season can he be at 100% for this? The step up in trip will suit but has a lot to find with Annie Power.

My Tent Or Yours ran a tremendous race to finish second at Cheltenham after two-years out with injury, however he is unproven at this trip. The New One won this race in 2014 and was decent fourth in the Champion Hurdle, he has high class form at this trip and the Nigel Twiston-Davies yard are flying.

Verdict: This race revolves around Annie Power, if she reproduces the same level of performance which saw her destroy the Champion Hurdle field she will not be passed. The New One may be the one to chase her home on a track he loves.

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