Top commentator Simon Holt previews day two of the Grand National meeting at Aintree.
1pt e.w. Kateson in 1.45 Aintree at 25/1 (Unibet 1/5 1,2,3,4,5)
1pt win Senior Citizen in 4.05 Aintree at 12/1 (General)
1pt e.w. Goobinator in 5.15 Aintree at 16/1 (General 1/5 1,2,3,4,5)
The 'Aintree factor' should never be under-estimated whether on the Grand National or Mildmay courses, and KATESON can prove a solid each-way play in the opening Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle on Friday.
The Tom Lacey-trained grey has a good course record in three visits, finishing second (to Portrush Ted) in the bumper at this meeting in 2018, seventh at Grade One level 12 months later and then winning over this course and distance in early December.
Raised 5lb for that success, Kateson ran well again at Ascot on his next start to chase home Craigneiche and Arrivederci, but was then quickly beaten on a return visit to the Berkshire course a month later.
Given a break since, and with a record of going best when fresh, this return to the Mildmay Course could result in another prominent showing in the hands of Tom Scudamore.
SENIOR CITIZEN is another horse who appears to like Aintree judged on his excellent round of jumping over the big fences in the Grand Sefton Chase back in December when he had every chance between the last two fences before fading in unsuitably soft ground.
Alan King's gelding has since finished a very solid fourth behind Umbrigado, Killer Clown and The Big Bite at Newbury (good) and, providing conditions remain no worse than good to soft, he must have every chance of going close in the Randox Topham Handicap Chase.
Apart from being impressed with his jumping ability, I thought Senior Citizen ran a terrific race at Huntingdon in November when failing by just two-and-a-half lengths to give 10lb to the potentially smart Espoir De Romay, who is disputing second favouritism behind Chantry House in the earlier Grade One Betway Mildmay Novices' Chase.
In the concluding Pinsent Masons Handicap Hurdle for conditional and amateur riders, GOOBINATOR is fancied to provide trainer Donald McCain with a trademark victory at this meeting.
Of course, the McCain family name will forever be associated with Red Rum (along with other National winners Amberleigh House and Ballabriggs), and this meeting remains a big target.
Goobinator's chance here hinges not just on a game victory at Ayr in October but, more pertinently, an unlucky last flight fall at Musselburgh in January when he was set to fight out the finish with Tommy's Oscar.
The latter has gone up 14lb since that race whereas Goobinator can run here off just a 3lb higher mark with stable conditional Theo Gillard taking off 5lb. Kept warm in a jumpers-bumper at Newcastle in February, the selection can prove well handicapped.
Published at 1730 BST on 08/04/21
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