Racing commentator Simon Holt has three selections for Friday's card at Aintree, with Waiting Patiently consider the best bet.
WAITING PATIENTLY can show the benefit of having bypassed Cheltenham by taking the Grade One JLT Chase on the second day of the Grand National meeting at Aintree.
Ruth Jefferson’s talented chaser has had a light season and, while no match for the much-improved Cyrname at Ascot in February, he still finished ahead of the re-opposing Politologue who subsequently chased home Altior in the Queen Mother Champion Chase (Hell’s Kitchen fourth, Min fifth).
Waiting Patiently had previously looked unlucky not to show what he can do when practically brought down with just over a circuit still to go in the King George at Kempton but his highly impressive victories at the latter course and Ascot last season suggest he will take some beating here.
Politologue and Min fought out a fantastic finish in this race last year but the former has improved again this season and certainly looks the chief threat if fully recovered from that fine effort at Cheltenham.
Later on, FOREST DES AIGLES is fancied to run well in the Randox Health Topham Handicap Chase for the Grand National-winning combination of trainer Lucinda Russell and jockey Derek Fox.
The eight-year-old, who was most progressive last season, ran quite an eye-catching race over the course and distance in the Grand Sefton in December when travelling well throughout, going second at the last and finishing a creditable fifth behind Warriors Tale.
With less weight to carry now and seemingly in good form after a recent second over an inadequate two miles at Ayr, I’m expecting a big effort.
In the opening Merseyrail Handicap Hurdle, THREE MUSKETEERS looks interesting on his first run for trainer Gordon Elliott.
Formerly handled by Dan Skelton, the nine-year-old has been none too reliable in the last couple of seasons but he boasts a decent record at Aintree, finishing third at Grade One level behind Nichols Canyon at this meeting in 2015.
There have been a few disappointments since but Three Musketeers is now 10lb lower in the ratings compared to his fifth to Bags Groove over the course and distance again in October 2017 and 13lb lower than the chase mark he ran respectably off behind Aso at Newbury in November.
If a change of scenery has had a reviving effect, he is certainly handicapped to go well.
Posted at 1700 BST on 04/04/19.