COURSE winner NUTS WELL looks a cracking bet in the Marsh Chase (3.25pm) on day two of Aintree’s Grand National meeting.
This 10-year-old might have reached the veteran stage of his career but he seems to be getting better with age.
He’s been in the form of his life this season. His Kelso defeat of Aye Right, who went on to chase home Grand National favourite Cloth Cap in the Ladbrokes Trophy, was a great start to the campaign.
He stepped up on that performance when swooping late to collar the smart Clondaw Castle in the Old Roan Chase over today’s course and distance in October.
Nuts Well, trained by in-form Ann Hamilton, hasn’t been seen since but he’s got a great record when fresh so fitness shouldn’t be a worry.
Swerving Cheltenham might well be an advantage as it means he doesn’t come into this Grade One contest on the back of a hard race.
Politologue, winner of this race three years ago, was pulled out of the Champion Chase just minutes before the defence of his Cheltenham Festival crown when blood was spotted on his nose.
He does most of his racing over two miles but there’s no doubt he stays this longer distance. If he’s over his troubles, Paul Nicholls’ grey would have to be the main danger.
At the other end of the age scale, the future staying stars will line up in the Doom Bar Sefton Novices’ Hurdle (4.40pm).
OSCAR ELITE has already shown he has what it takes to handle the demands of this Grade One, having finished second behind Irish raider Vanillier in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham.
He had Streets Of Doyen, Alaphilippe, Champagnesuperover, The Cob and Pats Fancy all behind him that day, when he also showed he has no problem with decent ground.
Santini was third in the Albert Bartlett before going on to win this prize three years ago, so the Cheltenham contest is clearly a decent guide.
Trainer Colin Tizzard has endured a troubled season but his team appear to be returning to some sort of form now, so Oscar Elite has plenty going for him at around 9-1.
Likely favourite Bravemansgame was blown away by Bob Olinger in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham.
It was still a fair effort to finish third at the Festival but he needs to prove he can last this longer distance on his first try at three miles.
Nuts Well e/w 3.25pm Aintree
Oscar Elite e/w 4.40pm Aintree