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Aintree Festival previews

Aintree is upon us again and after the success of Cheltenham and Dubai World Cup night, it's time to let the bloggers and aspiring writers back onto the site to share their expertise.

First up it's Jon da Silva, also known as @CreamOnTop, covering the Betfair, no, the Totesport, no, it's the um... BetFred Bowl!

The ethos here is that of a Field Size fetishist still getting over Carruthers Hennessy.

Skeptical that with so little in the trainer's title whether every horse is being run because it's a perfect opportunity or more in hope than judgement. It would be difficult to overstate the interests or moral hazard of the UK's top trainers nor their treatment as sacred cows by media and BHA. Sadly the cash machine lay of Denman or Kauto is not on this year and Henderson's main ones are not necessarily out of place but I'd want more than my usual value room.

Aintree so far it sounds like drying soft ground that could be anything. Aintree goes from being a sharp track to actually quite stamina testing with its alluvial soil apparently. This tipping point is sadly hard to decipher. Traditionally the mildmay fences have been as stiff as you get in the UK judged on rates of fallers.

I've assumed no worse than Good to Soft mostly.

Can't Win
========

Carruthers so the old boy won from a big field but not sure what the form is worth. Nonetheless that win was off 146 and he'd need to be 166+ to win this. Probably won't get an easy lead either with Nacarat and arguably one of Hendos 33/1

Follow the Plan has won a weak grade 1 and been thrashed in poor grade 1s. 40/1

Master of The Hall Chasing with 6 or fewer runners 11111 7 or more 56FR 11 run and he's nowhere near good enough unless it got bottomless. 14/1

Nacarat more meriting of respect than Chris Hoy but record in grade 1s is a horror show. Unlikely to get home in the ground or be good enough. 10/1

Roberto Goldback arguments he's unexposed over 3 miles and might like a small field no argument he's not bloody good enough here. Similar chance to Follow the Plan none.

Some Hope, between Bob and No Hope
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Diamond Harry ah 'arry make 'im England manager what a diamond geezer. If you think Occam should shove his razor up his arse then IF you ignore Cheltenham as a chaser P5P and think his Haydock run was OK off a long break even given he goes well fresh and say he muellered Burton Port twice (surely narrowly beaten) on flat tracks you can make a case at 20/1

Burton Port is as solid a yardstick as you get. However has been beaten by most grade 1 horses or near grade 1 he's faced. Won here at a silly price v trees but struggled over the stiffer objects. Slightly disappointing at Cheltenham and not sure this was the plan. 9/2

Hunt Ball managed to win the Pulteney Land Investments Novices' Handicap Chase by battering every fence. It's a race that has produced a 2nd in the Foxhunters so far in its history. Stamina, class etc all guessable but at 6/1 less than he was against trees at Cheltenham. This a bigger step up than that. In the field of the exposed one should not write off the progressive too quickly..... OK... ummmmh... he won't win. 6/1

Merits Respect!!!
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Medermit attempts 3 miles for the first time and has exploded every theory I've had about him except that he is not quite top class. 5s shy as I think this is a last effort to find out if he can be top class at something i.e. 3 miles. No hill to be caught up here. 5s!

Which Leaves
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7/2 says there is a 22.222% chance Riverside Theatre wins which is fair enough if not value. Has tried 3 miles before - 2nd in a King George. Needed every yard and a hill at Cheltenham to get up from Medermit. Might be concerned if this got really really testing but the race is a lottery then. Suspicion he might not be 100% with the down hills at Cheltenham as well and can be expected to run well here. Only reason I don't lump on are ground potentially and fear this is not a plan.

What A Friend who likes these tight turny tracks it seems. This is the first time he's had this circumstances since beating Carruthers and Nacarat here 2 years ago. At a price I am more than prepared to be wrong and likely will be wrong at 12/1. Still only 9 and 2nd fence fall at Cheltenham not actually that discouraging - only fall in 13 chase starts. No excuses and could be written off with a bad'un here IMO. Newbury run sufficient to think he's not far off the multiple grade 1 winner he was.

3pts win What a Friend
1/2pt Riverside to beat WaF
1pt Riverside Theatre (coincidentally at 7/2 cover other bets)

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