We will never know whether or not CUE CARD would have gone on to win last month’s Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup had he not crashed out at the third last.
However, one thing for sure is that Colin Tizzard’s six-time Grade One-winning stable star was travelling ominously well before falling and would have given the front two a serious run for their money.
There is no Don Cossack to contend with in Thursday afternoon’s Betfred Bowl (2.50pm), but Gold Cup second and third Djakadam and Don Poli both re-oppose.
Cue Card can be backed at evens with Betway and should simply have too much speed for the pair on a track where he has never been out of the first two in four career starts to date.
SIZING JOHN has chased home Douvan on five separate occasions, most recently in the Racing Post Arkle at Cheltenham, but he doesn’t have Willie Mullins’ monster to contend with in the Manifesto Novices’ Chase (1.40pm).
The step up in trip looks sure to suit and he is worth supporting at 3/1 with trainer Henry De Bromhead having successfully targeted this meeting in the past.
Annie Power should win the Doom Bar Aintree Hurdle (3.25pm), but at 4/7 I’m prepared to let her run without carrying my money.
The market suggests that the Crabbie’s Fox Hunters’ Chase (4.05pm) is a two horse race between last year’s winner and runner-up On The Fringe and Pacha Du Polder.
At 6/4 and 7/2 respectively, they seem a bit short considering the race is run over the famous Grand National fences.
I prefer to take a chance on the classy MARASONNIEN at 8/1 and CURRENT EVENT at 12/1.
The former is trained by Willie Mullins, who is firing plenty of bullets at this meeting to try to win his first British trainer’s championship.
Marasonnien comfortably beat Salsify at Gowran Park two starts back and then ran away with a point-to-point a couple of weeks ago.
Current Event ran really well for a long way at Cheltenham in the Foxhunters before getting tired and he will relish the drop in trip. Katie Walsh takes the ride and they look sure to go well at a decent each-way price.
Finally, don’t miss FAYETTE COUNTY in the Red Rum Handicap Chase (4.40pm). Tim Vaughan has his horses in much better form now and this nine-year-old was only just pipped at Ludlow last time.
Noche De Reyes, who beat him that day, came out and won again at Ludlow on Tuesday, so my selection looks well-handicapped. Barry Geraghty is in the saddle and the 6/1 generally available looks a fair price.
Sizing John, 1.40pm Aintree
Cue Card, 2.50pm Aintree
Marasonnien e/w, 4.05pm Aintree
Current Event e/w, 4.05pm Aintree
Fayette County e/w, 4.40pm Aintree