Jump racing’s superstar Sprinter Sacre will be looking to maintain his unbeaten records over fences in Friday’s John Smith’s Melling Chase at Aintree.
Nicky Henderson’s seven year old was imperious when taking the Queen Mother Champion Chase at last month’s Cheltenham Festival by a bruising 19 lengths.
Though this will be a much stiffer task, stepping up to two and a half miles for the first time where he will meet the Ryanair winner Cue Card and the talented Flemenstar.
Aintree’s three day Grand National Festival meeting attracts plenty of high quality horses, with the Aintree Hurdle taking centre stage tomorrow.
It looks a very open renewal, with any of the first six horses having strong claims. The New One, having won comprehensively in novice company at Cheltenham currently heads the market at 3/1 and will take a lot of beating.
Elsewhere tomorrow, Paul Nicholls saddles Silviniaco Conti in the Grade One Betfred Bowl. Waited under a patient ride from Ruby Walsh in the Gold Cup, he was travelling strongly before hitting the deck three out. The 10/11 on offer though may be a bit short.
Mouse Morris’ First Lieutenant has been running well all season against high quality opposition and will put it up to the favourite.
With the weather remaining cold but dry, and watering under way, the National course remains good to soft, good in places. Willie Mullins’ On His Own remains the market leader at 15/2 for Saturday’s Grand National.