Aintree return can see Balder claim another big prize

Bill Esdaile
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TODAY’S Melling Chase (3.25pm) is highly competitive but practically every horse in the line-up has something to prove.

Champagne Fever is the one to beat if he’s over the lip-biting from stablemate Un Atout that forced him to miss the Betway Champion Chase. However, he’s always been inconsistent and I wouldn’t put total faith in him.

Don Cossack was a bit disappointing in the Ryanair, while Sire De Grugy, Al Ferof and Cue Card all have question marks against them.

BALDER SUCCES ran poorly at Cheltenham last time, but that clearly isn’t his track and a return to Aintree, where he comfortably won the Maghull Novices’ Chase last year, can see him bounce back. Take the 7/1 with Betway and buy him in a Sporting Index match bet against Cue Card or Sire De Grugy.

Nicky Henderson has won the last two editions of the Topham Chase (4.05pm) and I fancy him to notch the hat-trick with RAJDHANI EXPRESS.

The eight-year-old was sent off just 7/2 for the Grade One Melling Chase 12 months ago and, although he disappointed there, he is definitely up to graded class. He has dropped six pounds since then and might just be coming back into form.

Sam Waley-Cohen is brilliant over the National fences and the 9/1 with Betway is worth snapping up.

Finally, I’m going to be backing Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh to land the Sefton Novices’ Hurdle (4.40pm) with ROI DES FRANCS. The six-year-old was the favourite for last month’s Martin Pipe Hurdle, but he could only finish third and looked as though he needed a step up in trip.

This should be the perfect test for him and he is taken to give Walsh another win in the Gigginstown colours after yesterday’s success on Clarcam in the opener.

■ Pointers…
BALDER SUCCES e/w 3.25pm Aintree (today)
RAJDHANI EXPRESS e/w 4.05pm Aintree (today)
ROI DES FRANCS e/w 4.40pm Aintree (today)

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