Cue the Melling shock
Man On The Spot previews day two of the Aintree Grand National Meeting and he's taking on Sprinter Sacre.
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14:00: Rose Appeal Supports Alder Hey Top Novices' Hurdle (Grade 2)
MY TENT OR YOURS should gain some compensation for his narrow defeat in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle by landing this Grade 2. Nicky Henderson's six-year-old couldn't quite peg back Champagne Fever at Cheltenham but this flatter course looks to be in his favour and he's rated at least 14lb superior to today's four rivals. Stablemate Forgotten Voice beat Brick Red in a Grade 2 at Kempton last time, though was receiving 3lb and it should be a little closer today. Art Of Logistics won at Fairyhouse on his latest start but had his limitations exposed at Naas earlier while this is a huge leap in class for Ayr winner Zuider Zee, though he was a decent stayer on the Flat and is unexposed over timber.
14:30 : John Smith's Mildmay Novices' Chase (Grade 2)
On the back of three wins over fences, including victory in the Grade 1 Feltham Chase at Kempton, Dynaste started a hot favourite for the Jewson at Cheltenham but never looked like overhauling game winner Benefficient. He did finish ahead of Third Intention, however, and the return to 3m might help but ROCKY CREEK has done nothing but impress since being beaten by Harry Topper on his chasing bow at Exeter. The chase course here is stiffer than it looks and his stamina could see him home in front. A few of Donald McCain's runners at The Festival were below-par but Super Duty ran well in the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir under a big weight and is back in novice company here. Vino Griego was also second at Cheltenham, in the Byrne Group Plate, but Irish raider Sea Of Thunder looks up against it.
15:05 : John Smith's Melling Chase (Grade 1)
This is Sprinter Sacre's first try over 2m4f over fences and he suffered his one and only defeat under Rules over the longer trip over hurdles. He's in a league of his own over 2m but CUE CARD, whom he beat by seven lengths in last year's Arkle, will test his stamina here and we fancy Colin Tizzard's classy Ryanair Chase winner to upset the apple cart. Flemenstar is Ireland's best chaser over this trip and beat Gold Cup runner-up Sir Des Champs in a Grade 1 at Punchestown in December. The placings were reversed over 3m last time but Peter Casey's charge can't be ignored. Former champion chaser and last year's winner Finian's Rainbow has been a big disappointment this season, however, and For Non Stop was well behind the selection in the Ryanair. Mad Moose is a bit of a character and refused to race at Cheltenham having earlier being well beaten by Sprinter Sacre at the same track.
15:40 : John Smith's Topham Chase (Grade 3 Handicap) (National Course)
There's no Always Waining this year but Peter Bowen runs the once-useful Gullible Gordon and course winner Sizing Santiago. Little Josh has a good record here and it would be no surprise to see Nigel Twiston-Davies' gelding bounce back to form while Walkon has a touch of class and has been dropped a couple of pounds since finishing fifth at Cheltenham. Pacha Du Polder won a valuable handicap at Newbury last month and Chance Du Roy is 2lb lower than when second in this race 12 months ago and could be ready to run a big race again. Ruby Walsh has chosen There's No Panic from four Paul Nicholls' entries and Venetia Williams saddles Renard and Newbury scorer Bennys Mist, though the latter's jumping will face a stiff examination over these fences. TARTAK has never had any problems in the jumping department and, after a couple of barren years, is now 19lb lower than his last win. He had a few of these behind when third at Cheltenham last month and should give supporters a run for their money at decent odds. At bigger prices, Gansey could also reward each-way support.
16:15 : John Smith's Sefton Novices' Hurdle (Grade 1)
It has to be a bit of a worry that impressive Cheltenham winner AT FISHERS CROSS is racing for the first time on good ground but just because he's never raced on quicker going before doesn't mean he won't handle it. Rebecca Curtis' charge looks the best staying novice around and can maintain this season's unbeaten record. Road To Riches is two from two over timber and landed a Grade 3 at Cork last time. But Noel Meade's yard has been struggling for winners lately and his six-year-old has been off the track since December. Master Of The Sea lost nothing in defeat in the Coral Cup and could make the frame but Gevrey Chambertin has a lot to prove after a shocking run at The Festival and Just A Par needs to improve on what he's shown so far. Our Vinnie was brought down at Cheltenham but isn't out of this on his best form while Yesyoucan was impressive at Carlisle and should appreciate 3m - he may be best of the rest.
16:50 : John Smith's Daily Mirror Punters Club Handicap Hurdle (Listed)
Harry Derham rode Salubrious to victory at Cheltenham and keeps the ride here. Ruby Walsh rides Funny Star but he returns from a break, as do Native Gallery, Grandads Horse and Bar De Ligne. COTTON MILL has been tried twice at Cheltenham but has got rid of Denis O'Reagan on both occasions. But he showed what he was capable of when chasing home My Tent Or Yours in the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury on his reappearance and has won twice over this distance on good ground. He could recoup losses here though the improving pair Broadway Buffalo and Minella Forfitness are much respected and Meister Eckhart appears to have the beating of Barbatos and Sadler's Risk on his second in the Coral Cup. Get Me Out Of Here and Khyber Kim both have a touch of class and could go well while Manyriverstocross was third in the County Hurdle and is another who should be suited by the step back up in distance.
17:25 : John Smith's Mares' Standard Open NH Flat Race (Listed)
Eleven Fifty Nine won this 12 months ago for Anthony Honeyball having being placed previously in a Listed race at Sandown. That same contest could hold the key to this year's renewal as Molly's A Diva beat Carole's Spirit, Free Thinking, CENTASIA, Midnight Minx and Our Pollyanna. The winner was game in victory but David Pipe's mare could be the one to take out of the race as she was still a little green on only her third start but stayed on strongly inside the final furlong. If racing closer to the pace today, she could come out on top. Abigail Lynch and Legacy Gold are possible improvers while Keshi Pearl, Kayfleur and Taradrewe were all behind Carole's Spirit at Warwick in February and this may be too much too soon for Rathvawn Belle and The Pirate's Queen.