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Preview 05 April 2008

Aintree Day 3

1.45 Listed Handicap Hurdle

The final day of the Aintree showpiece and it all heads to the Grand National from now until 4 o'clock and my first tip is to mute the TV in between races as the over hyping etc from the BBC is sure to drive the most sane punter mad.

The big yards have enjoyed the best of meetings with a large % of the winners taken care of and today could well continue that trend. This isn't a easy start to the card today and Paul Nichols Poquelin could well hold the key to this race with alight campaign this season and a very good run to Kings Quay to call on in the early stage of the season. Song OF Songs travelled superbly well in the coral cup before not getting up the hill and is very unexposed and should handle this sharper test well and could take all the beating from the middle of the handicap.

Hide The Evidence, Heathcote and Kings Quay all have form at the higher levels of hurdling and set the standards, while Tarlac has always been regarded as a bit special but has never progressed to show the talent they thought he had, while Forthright is a decent spring horse and looks handicapped to go well with the ground turning into his favour, while Mon Michel should return to form with good form this time of year and with a interesting booking in Timmy Murphy.

Verdict - 1st Forthright 2nd Mon Michel 3rd Songs of Song 4th Poquelin

Advised bet - Forthright 1pt win @ 25-1 (BF30-1)

2.15 Maghull Novice chase grade 1

A lot have been speculated about Tidal Bay race next season and after seeing Master Minded in the champion chase and then over further and step up in trip is likely in the future for this horse who has been impressive at both Aintree and Cheltenham and even though a stiffer track seems to get him jumping better he should take all the beating in this race on a track that has seen favourites at this meeting hard to win with.

Odds against is a surprise and many must believe he didn't beat much in the arkle and wont enjoy this sharper test of stamina having beaten the Royal Sun Alliance winner here over further earlier in the season. The 2nd in the Arkle may cause more problems front running at this track as it has proven so far this week that in chase races those up with the pace haven't been stopping. While Takeroc has been well talked up since winning at Sandown and is rivalling Tidal bay at the head of the market, unexposed and from a yard flying in form at present he could well take the scalp of Tidal Bay here. Overall it's not a great race and Tidal bay at odds against looks to be good value.

Verdict - 1st Tidal Bay 2nd Krugutorva 3rd Takeroc 4th Pearce Rock

Advised bet - Tidal Bay 3pts win @ 6-4 (BF13-8)

2.50 Aintree Hurdle Grade 1

Over half a mile further then the champion hurdle and has played a second home to Al Ellie in recent years as he has continually dominated this race, however he isn't as young as he was and is up against some improvers in Osana who finished 2nd in the Champion hurdle and shaped as if this extended trip should suit. A strong traveller on the bit he finds a lot of the bridle and cant be called a sole bridle horse anymore and should go close in this race and holds Straw Bear I feel on form. The danger could well be Afsoun who finished well in the champion hurdle twice now and is another who travels strongly in his races.

Kept to hurdles he is sure to be a chaser next season and will no doubly be favourite for the Arkle at some point I would feel with Kicks for Free Hemming RSA horse next year. Lounaos has been found out since improving last season and needs turn around his form, while Mephistio is a lesser light these days. My Way De Solzan has yet another code to run under here has been linked with the Ryanair chase, Gold Cup, Queen mother champion chase and then running in the World Hurdle. Doesn't seem to stay the trip well enough it is no surprise to see him dropped in trip here having travelled so strongly at Cheltenham last time and given the yard form could well surprise.

Verdict - 1st Afsoun 2nd Osana 3rd Al Allie 4th My Way De Solzan

Advised Bet - Afsoun 3pts win @ 8-1 (9'sBF)

3.25 Listed handicap hurdle 3M

The staying version of the handicap hurdle and is headed in the market by the Nichols yard who are currently leading the way in the trainer and jockey titles at this meeting. Don't Push it has had enough of chasing for the time being and is reverting to hurdles again in which he won over at the start of the season and could well still be handicapped to go well as they try to find the key to this horse and get the best out of him. Dream Alliance is another to catch the eye having been a decent hurdler who has lost his way over fences since being broken by Denman in the Hennessy Gold Cup and is well weighted near the foot of weights and has to be regarded as value at 22-1.

Fresh Winter would be a surprising winner if he was to be good enough to win this, while Hennessy has been hit and miss since making a decent impression earlier in his career. Superior Wisdom stayed on well at Chelteham but doesn't look totally straight forward while chase Copsale Lad just adds further complications to this hurdle race having been better over hurdles then has sometimes shown over fences and Mendo should be well suited to this track and is another who caught the eye in the coral cup.

Reel charmer and Backboard both go well this season and Gustavo is interesting turned out quickly for a shrewd yard, but it is a trappy handicap made up of what if and isn't the ideal warm up race for the national.

Verdict - 1st Dream Alliance 2nd Mendo 3rd Don't Push it 4th Backboard

Advised bet - Dream Alliance 1pt win @ 20-1 (BF24's)

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