Aintree Festival day two preview

Sub Lieutenant odds appeal alongside Djakadam as Coral experts give their John Durkan Memorial Chase tips from Punchestown.

A selection in every race on Friday

With day one of the Aintree Festival now in the books, punters look towards another round of top quality horse racing when we go back in on Friday’s attraction, and there looks to be plenty of value on offer, if you can find those winners.

Click here to have your say on every race at the Grand National meeting, and beyond, or read on as we give our best bet in each of the seven legs, getting underway at 1.40pm.

1.40pm – Handicap Hurdle

Starting with a grade three contest, there’s plenty to get through as the curtain goes up on the weekend. 22-runners are expected to post, and of the pack we are taking a chance on Sky Khan, currently a 14/1 shot at Coral. Lucinda Russell’s rep hasn’t got near winning for a while now, but he was fourth in this race last year and appears to have been targeted at improving that. Last out at Uttoxeter in March when finishing fifth, but made a mistake and battled on gamely to get back into the race. Has been too easily written off for me at the price.

2.20pm – Novices’ Hurdle

A fantastic grade one contest over two-miles, River Wylde is the pick of Coral traders, who make him a 9/4 favourite at the time of writing, and I am happy to follow their lead there. Henderson’s six-year-old arrives in great form, having won three of his last four, placing third in the Supreme Novices at Cheltenham in the spare last time. He wasn’t ever involved in winning the race, but did come out of it with plenty of credit and we expect he has more improving in him. Another effort like that will see him home and hosed with plenty to spare.

2.50pm – Novices’ Chase

Another grade one, and we have an odds-on favourite for this one in Might Bite, who’s goes 8/15. Punters can’t really be too surprised by traders taking that stance either, and if he has his mind on the job then nothing will get near him. Won each of his last two, but will be best remembered for that heart-in-mouth finish in the RSA Novices Chase at Cheltenham last time, seen trying to give the prize money away, heading for home before the finish. We’ll have no more of that – hopefully.

3.25pm – Melling Chase

Sub Lieutenant is taken to win the Melling Chase on Friday off an 11/4 tag. That has him as the shortest price in the race, but he looks more than capable of living up to the hype. Granted, the eight-year-old still has a bit of learning to do, and has finished second in each of his last two, including behind Un De Sceaux in the Ryanair, but he’s getting better with every run at the minute. He will give you no worries over his stamina, fitness, or stomach for a fight, and this race looks perfect for him.

4.05pm – Topham Chase

Taking an each-way pop on Clarcam here at 28/1, and he is a horse that has shown some of his best form around Aintree in the past. Placed in the Melling Chase here last year, again off a big price, and Gordon Elliott’s six-year-old will arrive fit as a fiddle. He has been sent out seven times already this year, and deserves a play at interest stakes. Bigger price than he should be, by my calculations.

4.40pm – Novices Hurdle

The penultimate race on the card and we will be cheering home Constantine Bay, who opened up at 10/3 with us. Went to Cheltenham on the back of three wins from three, but had to settle for a fourth that day in the Albert Bartlett. Excuses can be made for the bare result however as he was badly hampered by a faller at the business end, when holding every chance. I’m having him to get his revenge over The Worlds End and return to winning ways.

5.15pm – NH Flat Race

The final race on the card before we turn our attentions to Saturday, and your last chance to boost up the betting balance going into Grand National day. We pin our hopes on Black Op at 10/3, and are hopeful that should see a return. The early betting sides with us on that one, after he won on debut at Doncaster in some style. Now, he’ll need to come on plenty for that to get the job done here, but connections travel in high spirits.

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