TRAINER Nicky Henderson currently leads the way in the race to be crowned Champion Trainer and has two decent bullets to fire on the opening day of the Grand National meeting.
Champion Hurdle winner Buveur D’Air is odds-on favourite for the Aintree Hurdle (3.25pm) and should prove hard to beat.
However, a better bet could be his TOP NOTCH to kick-off the meeting with a win in the Manifesto Novices’ Chase (1.45pm) at 6/4 with 188BET.
The pint-sized six-year-old most recently finished a gallant second to Yorkhill in the JLT Chase at Cheltenham pressing him all the way to the line having made a terrible blunder two out.
He was a decent hurdler but has proved himself to be even better over fences and is as tough as they come.
Cloudy Dream looks the most obvious danger having chased home my selection’s stablemate Altior in the Arkle Chase.
The step up in trip and decent ground are all in his favour too, but Top Notch will take some passing.
Defi Du Seuil, like Buveur D’Air, is another at an unbackable price in the Anniversary Hurdle (2.20pm), but he too should prove too good.
Finally, Arthur Moore’s DANDRIDGE is back for another go in the Red Rum Chase (4.40pm) having only just failed 12 months ago.
Having also finished runner-up in last season’s Grand Annual at the Cheltenham Festival, the eight-year-old is long overdue a win in one of these big handicaps.
He shaped with promise when fourth at Cheltenham last month and lines up this afternoon off the same mark and just 1lb higher than last year.
There are obviously plenty of dangers lurking at the foot of the weights, but he looks a rock-solid each-way bet at 8/1 with 188BET.
Top Notch 1.45pm Aintree
Dandridge ew 4.40pm Aintree