Rides For The Top Jockeys – Aintree Day 1

Mr Big Shot winning at the Aintree Festival

The eagerly anticipated Aintree Festival kicks off today with no less than four Grade 1 contests, headlined by both the Aintree Bowl and the Aintree Hurdle. With top horses aplenty and a mouthwatering day in prospect, we’ve gone through the top jockeys’ book of rides and analysed their chances for Day 1. Our Aintree Festival tips for Day 1 are on site to view now!

Richard Johnson

  • La Bague Au Roi (Manifesto Novices’ Chase– Beating subsequent RSA winner Topofthegame at Kempton to land the first of her Grade 1 success over fences, she put in a top-class display to score at Leopardstown when we last saw her. She sets the form standard in this contest and should take all the beating, with her bold-jumping, exuberant style, very tricky to collar.
  • Whitehotchillifili (Nickel Coin Mares’ Bumper– A very cosy winner of her debut at Southwell in December, she subsequently placed at Warwick under a penalty when keeping her elevated reputation. Her stock lowered after a disappointing run in Listed company last time, however, and she has lengths to find with two reopposing rivals today.

Nico De Boinville

  • Pentland Hills (Anniversary 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle– Winner of a seemingly ordinary Plumpton novices’ race in February, he was friendless in the market for the Triumph but landed the contest by a cosy three lengths. That perhaps wasn’t the strongest renewal of the race, but that form has to merit him consideration and he needs respect.
  • Verdana Blue (Aintree Hurdle– Had her moment in the sun when downing Buveur D’Air to win the Christmas Hurdle on her favoured firmer ground. Ran perhaps better than expected in a soft ground Champion Hurdle last time, with the surface currently in her favour at Good to Soft. Potential outside chance of placing if the rain stays clear.
  • Whatswrongwithyou (Red Rum Handicap Chase– Has proven himself to be a useful novice chaser this season, scooping two small-field events in the winter months. He finished a respectable seventh in the Grand Annual when last seen and remains unexposed, though that run didn’t suggest he was overly well handicapped.

Ruby Walsh

  • Kemboy (Aintree Bowl Chase– Has made staggering progress this term, gaining his fourth win in succession when enterprisingly ridden to win the Savills Chase in December. Unseated early when unsighted in the Gold Cup subsequently, but his priorly progressive profile merits him plenty of respect here.
  • Faugheen (Aintree Hurdle– Former Champion Hurdle winner who had disappointed over shorter trips his term prior to a good third in the Stayers’ Hurdle at the Festival. Dropping to 2m 4f at a sharper venue isn’t sure to help at this stage of his career, judging by his two earlier runs this term, and he remains vulnerable to younger legs.

Barry Geraghty

  • Buveur D’Air (Aintree Hurdle– Looking to have a very good chance of retaining his crown back at the Festival, he fell at the fourth flight when still travelling in hand. He did win this race last year, but it was undoubtedly a weaker renewal and he looks to have a battle on his hands this time around.
  • Brelan D’As (Red Rum Handicap Chase– Has run consistently all season and filled out third in the Grand Annual on his most recent start when a shade keen early on. He’s edged up two pounds for that run, however, and a career-best is needed in an equally competitive event.
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