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Exclusive Aintree day one preview from Tom Scudamore

13 Apr 2023
Coral Racing Ambassador, Tom Scudamore, gives us his expert verdict in every race on day one of this year's Aintree Festival.

13:45 Novices' Chase

Stage Star deserves enormous respect for what he did at Cheltenham because that was a fantastic performance, but Cheltenham takes so much out of a horse, so for that reason I’ll be siding with BANBRIDGE who comes here fresh.

I thought he’d run a big race at the festival, but they took him out on account of the ground, but as long as it doesn’t get too testing tomorrow at Aintree, then I think he’ll go very close indeed.

14:20 Juvenile Hurdle

This looks a cracking race, and although Zenta sets the standard on his 3rd in the triumph, he’s another who had a tough old race at Cheltenham, so at the prices it might be worth looking elsewhere.

One at a big price I do like is SARSONS RISK of Ben Brookhouse’s. He won really well at Doncaster on his first start, then he was travelling well when coming down at Kempton in the Adonis, but providing he’s none the worse for that fall, then I have a sneaky suspicion he could run a big race.

14:55 Aintree Bowl Chase

This really is a tough one, as it’s a case of trying to predict who’s come out of Cheltenham the best.

At the prices, AHOY SENOR makes the most appeal for me. He was still going well when coming down in the Gold Cup, and although I don’t think he’d have finished in front of Bravemansgame, he’d have been there or thereabouts with a clear round.

Bravemansgame ran a cracker in the Gold Cup, but it certainly appeared that he had a hard race, and connections have campaigned him sparingly this season, so you’d have to have your doubts whether he can back that up this quickly.

Shiskin is another who you have to consider, as if he hadn’t made that mistake coming down the hill, then it might have been a different story at Cheltenham, but Ahoy Senor is a tentative selection, and hopefully he can give Lucinda another big day here.

15:30 Aintree Hurdle

Probably a race to just watch and enjoy if I’m honest, and I just hope CONSTITUTION HILL can put in another fantastic performance.

He’s a horse that’s going the right way to being named in the same breath as the likes of Istabraq, and what he did in the Champion Hurdle really was spine-tingling, so I just hope he can do it again and provide a real treat for everybody at the course on Thursday afternoon.

16:05 Open Hunters' Chase 

I don’t have a strong opinion on the Foxhunters’, but WINGED LEADER does look very solid to me at the head of the market. He was just touched off by Billaway at Cheltenham last year, and he’s unbeaten so far this season and has had a very good campaign. He’s always looked a solid jumper when I’ve seen him, and he looks like the best horse in the race, so he certainly sets the standard for me.

16:40 Red Rum Handicap Chase

I think this could be a good day for Dad and Lucinda, because I was really taken with DOUGLAS TALKING at Sandown last time, and I think the wind-op he had this winter has really improved him. A few of these ran at Cheltenham, and although he skipped the Grand Annual, I suspect he’d have gone off favourite for it if he had gone there.

The handicapper has had his say for that Sandown win, but he’s an improving horse, and he’d probably be one of my best bets of the day.

17:15 National Hunt Flat Race

I was mightily impressed with Paul’s horse SEEYOUINMYDREAMS when she won at Newbury last month. She did it with the minimum of effort that day, so while this is a much tougher race, Aintree would be a similar track to Newbury in a bumper, and I think she’s the one they all have to beat.

One at a bigger price I would give an honourable mention to each way is Warren Greatrex’s mare Ici La Reine. She wasn’t that impressive at Newcastle last time, but she’s tough and has a likeable attitude, and as a half-sister to the high-class La Bague Au Roi, I can see her going well at a big price.

Tom Scudamore, Coral Racing Ambassador
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