The contrarian word on Day 2 at Aintree....

Last Updated: 12.04.2018

Thursday, 12th April 2018

The contrarian word on Day 2 at Aintree….

The Aintree Grand National Festival starts this afternoon....

Access my advice for the Red Rum Handicap Chase here....

Day 2 at Aintree kicks off at 1.45 with the G3 Alder Hey Children's Charity Handicap Hurdle at 1.45....

A field of 20 goes to post over the 2m4f trip on ground expected to ride on the easy side of good – and I want to be two-against-the-field....

First-up is Colin Tizzard’s STORM HOME at 10s....

The 6yo novice is relatively inexperienced with just 5 runs over hurdles under his belt – but he’s done absolutely nothing wrong and won his last two starts in very good style.

He’s up to 138 already in the rankings. But given the manner of his last win at Wincanton – where he had his opponents strung out like bunting – he can progress beyond that mark.

One thing I like is the step up to 2m4f. The horse is likely to improve for it and I think he will relish the underfoot conditions.

This week’s Aintree meeting was earmarked as the next destination for the horse immediately after than Wincanton race. It’s a huge step-up – but a measure of where Tizzard thinks the horse belongs. He could be a big improver tomorrow and the price is nice.

The other one I want to chance at the prices is the Paul-Nicholls trained ZUBAYR at 10s.

Down to 138 in the ratings and with talented 7lb claimer Lorcan Williams in the saddle, the 6yo effectively goes to post almost a stone off his career-high rating....

He earned that career-high perch in the spring of last season when 2nd in the Scottish Champion Hurdle behind Chesterfield....

That one recently beat Zubayr again in an NH flat race at Kempton – with the Nicholls horse having been sent off a well-backed favourite....

But maybe that wasn’t as disappointing a performance as it might have seemed at the time. Chesterfield subsequently ran a crack in the County Hurdle off 140....

Last time Zubayr got beat at Kempton trying wm5f for the first time on soft ground that had been thought not to suit him. He gets another go at a longer trip tomorrow and the ground is expected to be a little better than at Kempton. He’s weighted to go well....

  • Over to the Topham....

Later in the afternoon at 4.05 a huge field of 30-runners will go at it over 2m5f and the Grand National fences in the G3 Topham Chase....

Colin Tizzard’s ULTRAGOLD won this event last season on a mark of 136 – producing what was a big shock at an SP of 50s....

Back here again in December for the Grand Sefton, the 10yo produced another cracking effort in second behind Gas Line Boy – on heavy ground....

Tizzard’s charge clearly relishes these big fences and going over them again tomorrow, on better ground, and just 5lbs higher up the weights than last term, I can see him going better than a price of 20s suggests....

Horses are individuals, they take to some things and not to others. Horses that like these fences frequently produce repeat efforts and I expect Ultragold’s season has been focused very much on defending this title.

At a bigger price Fergal O’Brien’s MYSTIFIABLE can run a big race....

Back in December he was 4th behind Gas Line Boy in that Grand Sefton renewal. He got beaten 24 lengths after fading a little at the death. But the ground was heavy that day, and I expect him to be better on tomorrow’s surface.

He certainly hasn’t been overworked this term. Last time at Newbury – surely a pipe-opener for tomorrow after not racing since the Grand Sefton – he was down the field. But that was over the minimum 2-miles. He needs further, and he’ll be better both for the run and for the extra ground tomorrow.

Low-weights tend to go well in the Topham. Last term 7 of the first 9 home were 15th or bigger on the race card. Mystifiable is number 29 of the 30 runners. He gets to go off a mark of just 126 and carries just 10-00.

There’s plenty with chances and whatever goes well will need luck in-running. Mystifiable – with experience over the fences and on better ground than he got last time – is under-estimated at 33s.

The Contrarian Bet Box….

To recap on where my contrarian money will be going tomorrow afternoon….

In the Alder Hey Children's Charity Handicap Hurdle (1.45 @ Aintree)....

In the Topham Chase (4.05 @ Aintree)....

That is my take on where the value lies – but you will no doubt have your own ideas and that’s exactly as it should be.

  • The last word….

That’s all from me for today.

I’ll be back tomorrow with my take on the action on Day 3 at Aintree....

Until then. Stay tuned.

Nick Pullen

Against the Crowd