The Aintree festival is almost upon us and it is worth looking at which Trainers have the most success at this famous venue to hopefully give us some pointers for the three days ahead. Colin Tizzard was the Leading Trainer at last year’s festival with five winners. We also failed to have a single Irish trained winner over the twenty-one races last year, below we see if that is likely to change, you can also check out our Aintree Festival tips for more content.
Considering Ireland were comfortable winners in the BetBright Cup at Cheltenham last month with 17 winners to 11 it is perhaps surprising that they failed to gain a single winner at this festival last season. This was mostly down to the Irish Trainers Championship and with Gordon Elliott and Willie Mullins both battling it out for that prize again this season it is unlikely that we will be seeing too many of their leading lights over the next few days, with races at the Punchestown festival their likely targets. With the aforementioned Elliott producing a record-equalling eight winners at this year’s festival, it is surprising that his last winner at this meeting was subsequent Gold Cup winner Don Cossack in the 2015 renewal of the Melling Chase. Both yards best chance of a winner may come in the same race with Total Recall and Tiger Roll both featuring prominently in the market for the Grand National a race both have won in the past with Hedgehunter (Willie Mullins, 2005) and Silver Birch (Gordon Elliott, 2007).
Colin Tizzard was the Leading Trainer at last year’s festival with five winners, three of which came in Grade 1 races. He has a strong chance to kickstart the meeting with Finian’s Oscar who is entered in the Manifesto Novices’ Chase. Elegant Escape was last seen finishing 3rd in this year’s renewal of the RSA Chase, he is one of the main market fancies in the Grade 1 Mildmay Novices’ Chase. He is also well represented in the Grand National (a race he is yet to win) with The Dutchman.
Nicky Henderson is operating at a 40% strike-rate with his runners at Aintree this season. Whilst it is highly unlikely he will have the same record when this meeting is over he has major claims in the majority of the Graded races here. Apples Shakira/We Have A Dream/Style De Garde all give him good claims in the Doom Bar Juvenile Hurdle. Perhaps his best chance of a winner comes from Might Bite who is a warm order in the Aintree Bowl having shown no signs of his quirkiness when a gallant 2nd in the Cheltenham Gold Cup last month. Nicky also has strong claims in the Aintree Hurdle a race he won last year with Buveur D’Air, with the dual Champion Hurdle winner ruled out of this contest after a bad scope he is represented by the enigmatic L’Ami Serge and My Tent Or Yours, a horse who has finished 2nd in this race in the past two renewals.
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Whilst it is likely that the Tizzard/Nicholls/Henderson yards will all have big chances in the Grade 1 races it is worth noting that the Tom George and Nigel Twiston-Davies stables have both won a Grade 1 race here in the last 2 festivals. Tom George has the King George 2nd Double Shuffle entered in the Aintree Bowl and he comes into this race a fresh horse having been a late omission from the Cheltenham Gold Cup. He also has perhaps the most exciting British Novice hurdler in Black Op who is currently the favourite for the Mersey Novices’ Hurdle on Saturday. Nigel Twiston-Davies also has some strong claims here with Betfair Chase winner Bristol De Mai a solid contender for the Bowl and The New One dropping back to 2m4f for the Aintree Hurdle, a race he won back in 2014.