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Five horses to look out for on day one of the Randox Grand National meeting

By Harry Allwood@H_Allwood1
Thu 8 Apr 2021

Harry Allwood marks your card for the racing action at Aintree on Thursday, live on Racing TV, and our man likes the chances of one chalked up at 16-1 in the 4.40pm.

HITMAN

Race: SSS Super Alloys Manifesto Novices’ Chase (1.45pm)

General odds: 11-4.

Hitman made the most of a good opportunity last time out at Newbury

A youngster who has created a big impression since joining Paul Nicholls and is held in high regard by the 11-times champion trainer who has said this race has been the plan for a while.

Having bolted up on his British, and chasing, debut at Ffos Las, the four-year-old found only Allmankind too good in the Henry VIII Novices’ Chase next time out, which was a hugely creditable run given his lack of experience over the larger obstacles.

It was too far out to say how he would have fared, but he had jumped and travelled well up until falling in the Scilly Isles in December and would have surely played a part in the finish.

On the evidence so far, he looks potentially top class, and made the most of a good opportunity at Newbury last time out, which was a good confidence booster following his fall.

Fusil Raffles is the one to beat on his Cheltenham run, and also on the ratings, but Nicky Henderson’s charge would have had a hard race in the Marsh Novices’ Chase, and Hitman arrives here a fresh horse having bypassed the Festival.

The Shunter has improved again this year, but needs to prove he is up to this level, and this is a big step up in grade. Eldorado Allen was slightly flattered when second to Shishkin in the Arkle, and finished behind Hitman at Sandown in December.

MONMIRAL

Race: Doom Bar Anniversary 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle (2.20pm)

General odds: Evens.

Monmiral impressed at Haydock last time out

Adagio is the one to beat in this contest on the form of his effort in the Triumph Hurdle last time out where he found only Quilixios too good. However, a couple of the leading players disappointed in that contest, and Monmiral defeated Gary Moore’s Nassalam with more authority in February than Adagio did at Chepstow the previous month.

It is hard not to have been impressed with Monmiral this season, and although he is yet to prove himself at this level, he has looked a Grade One performer in the making on his three starts over hurdles in Britain.

Paul Nicholls has had this race in mind for a while for his potential star who does not have a hard race at Cheltenham next to his name, unlike Adagio, and Aintree is sure to play to his strengths.

WAITING PATIENTLY

Race: Betway Bowl Chase (2.50pm)

General odds: 4-1.

Waiting Patiently went close in the King George on Boxing Day

High-class chaser who has proved frustrating over the past couple of seasons, and although he has not recorded a victory since the 2018 Ascot Chase, he has finished in the first three at Grade One level on his past five starts plus three miles appears his optimum trip these days.

Ruth Jefferson’s stable star was given too much to do when a fast-finishing second in the King George on his return this season, and the drop back to two miles last time out was against him.

He has been kept fresh for this contest, the trip and ground are in his favour, and it will be disappointing if he is not capable of going close.

Clan Des Obeaux was a shade disappointing in the King George, and last time out when defeated at Newbury, so needs to bounce back, and Native River had a hard race in the Gold Cup last month having been off the bridle for most of the way.

Tiger Roll silenced his doubters when returning to form in style in the Glenfarclas Chase, but I am not convinced he is up to this class over fences, and the rest need to improve to lower the colours of the leading protagonists.

ABACADABRAS

Race: Betway Aintree Hurdle (3.25pm)

General odds: 4-1.

Abacadabras finished second behind Honeysuckle at the Dublin Racing Festival

This looks a good opportunity for Abacadabras to bounce back to form after suffering an early fall in the Champion Hurdle last time out.

The Morgiana Hurdle winner disappointed in the Matheson Hurdle over Christmas but was found to have mucus in his lungs afterwards, and his second behind Honeysuckle in the Irish Champion Hurdle was a decent effort given the performance Henry de Bromhead’s star mare produced at the Cheltenham Festival.

It is, of course, not ideal Abacadabras comes here off the back of a fall, but at least he didn’t have a hard race at Cheltenham, and I don’t think this new trip will pose a problem to him.

We surely haven’t seen the best from Abacadabras, and he is preferred over McFabulous who was no match for Brewin’upastorm at Fontwell in February, but this track should suit him better.

SULLY D’OC AA

Race:Close Brothers Red Rum Handicap Chase (4.40pm)

General odds: 16-1.

Sully D'oc Aa was not beaten far by Clondaw Castle at Newbury in November

This is a wide-open contest on paper, but one who looks a shade overpriced is Sully D’oc Aa, and a chance is taken on Anthony Honeyball’s charge at 16-1.

The seven-year-old failed to land a blow in the Paddy Power Plate at the Cheltenham Festival, but he still ran creditably to finish eight having travelled well and got caught behind horses at a crucial stage.

Although he has only had 21 days to recover from those exertions, he was given a break ahead of Cheltenham, and the lack of a recent run may have taken its toll in the closing stages.

The JP McManus-owned gelding looks attractively handicapped on the form of his Newbury run in November where he finished third off a rating of 135 behind Clondaw Castle, who has since won a Grade Three handicap.

Sully D’oc Aa is now just a 1lb higher than that run, and would have finished closer to the winner had he not sprawled on landing after the last.

Provided he has recovered from his Cheltenham exertions, he is an each-way player here.

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