The grass on the track will be cut as preparations are made on Preview day of the 2021 Randox Health Grand National Festival at Aintree Racecourse
– Credit: PA
The opening day of the 2021 Randox Health Grand National Festival begins today (Thursday) in Aintree, a year after the meeting was canceled amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
This year’s event is behind closed doors and that Best of the action on the first day of the meeting was picked for the followers.
The highlight on the menu is the Grade One Betway Bowl (3:25 pm) with a purse of £ 150,000.
The headline is Tiger Roll (5/1) following the success of the three mile event for the first time. The two-time Grand National hero returned with a breathtaking victory in the Cross Country Chase at the Cheltenham Festival in March and will be suited to this event due to drying soil conditions.
Among his main competitors is Clan Des Obeaux (5/2 favorite ), who finished second in the Denman Chase in his last start but will likely enjoy this flat and better course as well.
Native River (7/2) took a good fourth place in the Gold Cup last month and is a former Winner of this race feared, along with Waiting Patiently (4/1), who will enjoy a flat course in Aintree and has been kept fresh for the task.
The Grade One Betway Aintree Hurdle (3:25 p.m.) is another highlight, which features the progressive McFabulous (3/1) who was a smart winner at Kempton before finding Brewin’upastorm (11/2) too strong at the Fontwell Proving Grounds last start.
Abacadabras (7/2) was almost a faller in the champion hurdle, but he’s another one with a live chance as he’s sure to enjoy this step in the journey.
Buveur D’Air (10/1) is a past winner of this event and a danger when he gets back to his best, as does Jason The Militant (7/2) who has enlisted the services of Rachael Blackmore and warmed up for the task with an easy win at Fairyhouse last time.
To another Spot on Thursday’s card, the first class Manifesto Novices opening hunt (1:45 p.m.) appears to be a fight between Fusil Raffles (5/2 favorite) and Hitman (11/4).
Fusil Raffles has at the Marsh Chase at Cheltenham Festival last month hunted down local fellow Chantry House and will enjoy better soil conditions here as Hitman progresses with each run for Paul Nicholls and looks like a worthy opponent. The Cheltenham Festival’s youngest hero, The Shunter (4/1), deserves a mention as well.
Monmiral (4/5 favorite) will attempt to score five out of five wins in the 4-YO Juvenile Hurdle at 2:20 pm . He drove to success on his last start at Haydock and was kept fresh by Nicholls for this outing. Adagio (7/4), a solid runner-up on the Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham in March, was likely a challenger ahead of the unexposed John Locke (14/1), who formed with promise in February debut for Dan Skelton at Kempton.
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