Aintree Placepot: Thursday April 4

The New One is fancied to follow up his Cheltenham win.

Timeform's Matt Gardner tackles the Placepot at Aintree on the opening day of the Grand National meeting...

"My gung-ho mind-set with regards to punting has led to me convincing myself that The New One cannot be beaten in this race, such was the impression he created at Cheltenham..."

14:00 - There is no denying that Rolling Star was a touch disappointing when managing to finish only sixth in the Triumph Hurdle but it is well worth bearing in mind the fact that he was sent off favourite to land that event, which displays the regard in which he is clearly held, and there is every chance he could bounce back here. The Paul Nicholls-trained Irish Saint looks to be the main rival but Rolling Star beat him cosily at Cheltenham in January and there is no obvious reason as to why that form ought to be reversed here.
 
14:30 - I expect you watched the Cheltenham Gold Cup but go back and watch it again, purely to view the ease with which Silviniaco Conti was travelling prior to falling three out. The demands by this track ought to suit his fluid style of racing ideally, and he seems likely to prove incredible difficult to beat here. 

15:05 - My gung-ho mind-set with regards to punting has led to me convincing myself that The New One cannot be beaten in this race, such was the impression he created at Cheltenham, but with my Placepot hat on it is probably wise to include Countrywide Flame as a bit of back up, with that one shaping as if this trip will suit when running an excellent race in the Champion Hurdle. 

15:40 - Bold Addition, who was a useful hurdler, has made the perfect start to life in hunters after a lengthy absence and he seems sure to go close in this affair. The eight-year-old has notched wins at both Sandown and Warwick with the minimum of fuss and, with it being unlikely that we've seen the best of him yet, he could take some stopping here. We're also going to stick in Warne, who faces a stiffer task here than when scoring at Fairyhouse on his most recent start. He has improved steadily for this yard however and it is not out of the question that he could progress further still, so he could run a big race. 

16:15 - We're going to swerve the head of the market here and instead include three at slightly larger prices in the hope of landing a bit of a coup. Oiseau De Nuit hasn't been particularly consistent this term but his effort in the Grand Annual last time, when finishing third, was a good one and he races from the same mark here. Anquetta shaped as if he were still in form when finishing a further six places behind that rival at Cheltenham, with the suspicion being that he needs the emphasis more on speed than stamina, whilst Echo Bob is on the same mark as when finishing third in this race 12 months ago and ran as well as could be expected in a Grade 2 last time, so it is possible to make a case for both of them.
 
16:50 - Three places are on offer here so we are quite happy to bank upon the Nicky Henderson-trained Captain Conan, who was a creditable fifth in the Jewson Novices' Chase at Cheltenham last time. Today's rival Changing Times actually finished slightly ahead of him that day but Captain Conan probably paid for attempting to kick on with Dynaste from three out and the expectation is that he will reverse the form today. 

Selections:
14:00 - 5
14:30 - 5
15:05 - 1, 7
15:40 - 2, 24
16:15 - 2, 11, 13
16:50 - 1
= 12 lines 

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