Flemen can Star at Aintree

  • By: Simon Holt
  • Last Updated: April 5 2013, 17:22 BST

Simon Holt previews Friday's feature action at Aintree and expects two hot favourites to be beaten.

Flemenstar: Can beat the mighty Sprinter Sacre
Flemenstar: Can beat the mighty Sprinter Sacre

The John Smith's Melling Chase at Aintree on Friday looks to be the race of the season with Sprinter Sacre, the champion chaser and unbeaten in seven starts over fences, taking on the best two-and-a-half mile horse in Ireland in Flemenstar and Ryanair Chase winner Cue Card.

Sprinter Sacre beat Cue Card in the Arkle last year but I do feel the current betting is an insult to Flemenstar.

I can't believe you can get 5/1 about the Irish raider and that looks too big to me on ground he's won on and at his optimum trip. Sprinter Sacre has to go out and prove he stays.

Similarly in the opener I'm going to take on another hotpot in My Tent Or Yours. He was second in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham but there's no pace in this race at all and he's a horse who takes a very strong hold.

I fancy his stable companion Forgotten Voice if it turns into a sprint. He was a very good mile handicapper on the flat and showed plenty of speed to win at Kempton last time. This race could really play to his strengths.

The Aintree meeting is often typified by upsets, horses beaten at short odds after hard races at Cheltenham, and I just think we could see a couple on Friday.

The other tip comes in the John Smith's Topham Chase.

Paul Nicholls has four runners in the race. Ruby Walsh has gone for There's No Panic who's been running very well on ground that doesn't really suit him recently. I can understand his decision.

Nick Scholfield rides Cryptonic, a horse who had a rating of 141 when he first came over from France. He's now down to 131 and couldn't be written off but the one I like is Fistral Beach.

He ran well to finish third in this race last year behind Always Waining and while he hasn't run this season, he often runs his very best race when fresh. The lack of an outing doesn't worry me at all and in the hands of Daryl Jacob he could be the pick of the Paul Nicholls quartet in a very open race.

  • Preview posted at 1340 BST on 04/04/2013.