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Aintree Grand National Festival 2021: Day Two Preview


The action continues at Aintree on day two of the Grand National Festival and there's more Grade 1 action with the Top Novices' Hurdle and the Melling Chase to look forward to, as well as the ultra-competitive Topham Chase. Here we preview the big races... 

14:20 - Top Novices’ Hurdle

Nicky Henderson has won five of the last 10 renewals and he has another live contender this year in the shape of Dusart, who dismantled the subsequent Betfair Hurdle winner Soaring Glory in his only start to date. He’s been off the track for a long while but that wouldn’t be a huge concern for this yard and he’s a deserving favourite. 

Third Time Lucki should have no problem reversing Cheltenham form with Belfast Banter off level weights, but both will have to find some improvement for win purposes. Kim Bailey is yet to get to the bottom of Ajero and he’ll almost certainly be in the shake up, while Supreme third For Pleasure could hang on for a place once again but would probably prefer softer conditions. 

Smarkets 1-2-3

  1. Dusart
  2. Ajero
  3. For Pleasure

14:50 - Mildmay Novices’ Chase

Colin Tizzard and Nicky Henderson have each won two of the last four renewals, and this year they saddle The Big Breakaway, Fiddlerontheroof and Chantry House respectively. The latter is likely to go off a short price here and he’s much the best horse in the field but the step up in trip is a real unknown. The Tizzard pair were both placed behind Monkfish at Cheltenham and it would be no surprise to see The Big Breakaway improve on that over this distance and returned to a flatter track. However, Dan Skelton’s Shan Blue held him off pretty comfortably at Kempton over Christmas and while he disappointed a bit behind Chantry House at the Festival, the stable is in much better form now; he should get a lot closer on Friday. 

Smarkets 1-2-3

  1. Chantry House
  2. Shan Blue
  3. The Big Breakaway

15:25 - Melling Chase

2018 winner Politologue heads the betting but comes here with a somewhat interrupted prep having been withdrawn at the last minute at Cheltenham. He’ll obviously be fresh as a result but it’s a definite question mark. He's also now a 10-year-old and very much vulnerable to ‘the new guard’. Dashel Drasher has enjoyed an incredible season with a hat-trick of victories at Ascot and based on his tendency to jump left, Aintree should suit well. Fakir D’oudairies, the perennial bridesmaid, will almost certainly be there at the finish and he ran well here over hurdles a few years ago but has been held by Notebook on a few previous runnings. Henry De Bromhead’s gelding is off definite interest in a smaller field and on a flatter track. If he stays the trip, he could hold on for a place. 

Smarkets 1-2-3

  1. Dashel Drasher
  2. Notebook
  3. Politologue

Elsewhere on day two…

The Topham at 4.05pm is obviously as competitive as ever but the De Bromhead & Blackmore connection saddle an interesting contender in Visioman, who has clearly been laid out for the race having only had a prep run over hurdles in late Feb. His price has collapsed somewhat in recent days but he may be on a really handy mark.

Others that appeal would be Nicky Henderson’s Caribean Boy who looked very good at Newbury last year, while Alan King’s Senior Citizen has some Aintree experience on his side, will appreciate a sounder surface, and arrives after a good run in the Greatwood Gold Cup.

Bravemansgame is likely to go off a short price for the Sefton Novices’ Hurdle at 4.40pm. If he handles the step up in trip then he’s very much the one to beat, but Gallyhill could be a different proposition on good ground and makes plenty of appeal at a double-figure price. 

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