Day two at Aintree sees the likes of Vautour and Limini in action but Tony Calvin doesn't play the shorties and he's found three to back at big prices elsewhere on the card...
"It could be that this race has been the long-term plan for him. He has run some of his best races at this track - he has form figures of 1-7-2-F-4-6 here - and the most recent saw him finish a seven-length sixth of 21 to Theinval in this very race last season. He is 7lb lower today, and he has soft ground form, too, so he is well worth chancing at the price. And his stable has struck form with a vengeance of late, with four winners in the last fortnight."
At least three of the star attractions at Aintree this week are for probably off-limits for most punters, and that is certainly how I view Vautour at odds of 1.292/7 in the Melling Chase at 15:25.
If Vautour wasn't 100% when routing the opposition in the Ryanair at Cheltenham, then he is going to be some horse when we see him on his A-game, but there is nothing much to be gained about analysing this race in too much depth.
If he is and fit and well, and jumps round OK, then he will win. And the money-buyers will be celebrating. But for most this race is one to savour as a racehorse out of the top drawer struts his stuff.
In truth, this meeting features a lot of horses you are happy to watch without a financial interest - others that spring to mind are Douvan and Thistlecrack on Saturday - and it is pretty hard to dig out punting angles in the other races.
Party can Rock the handicap hurdle
I'll attack Friday's card in chronological order and at least the handicap hurdle at 13:40 and I am going to take a complete flier with Party Rock at 30.029/1.
He was returning from a long break when pulled up at Uttoxeter last time, though he was badly hampered there, so I can forgive him that effort, being the charitable soul that I am.
And it could be that this race has been the long-term plan for him. He has run some of his best races at this track - he has form figures of 1-7-2-F-4-6 here - and the most recent saw him finish a seven-length sixth of 21 to Theinval in this very race last season.
He is 7lb lower today, and he has soft ground form, too, so he is well worth chancing at the price. And his stable has struck form with a vengeance of late, with four winners in the last fortnight.
It will interesting to see what Limini can do against the boys in the Grade 1 at 14:15 but it is certainly no surprise to see her trading at around the 5/4 mark to put them in their place given how visually impressive she was at Cheltenham. She appears held in some regard by the Willie Mullins stable, for all that her form is not as solid as some of her rivals.
But I have a lot of time for the likes of Supreme third Buveur D'Air and Betfair Hurdle winner Agrapart, so I won't be having a bet in the race.
Bet of the day in the Novice Chase
I think Henri Parry Morgan could be worth a fair interest at 17.016/1 in the Novice Chase at 14:50. In fact, I make him the bet of the day at the prices.
He takes on RSA winner Blaklion and other horses who excelled at the Cheltenham Festival but he certainly looked worth trying in this company after defying a 13lb hike in the weights when winning by 15 lengths from an in-form horse off a mark of 135 over 3m in the mud at Uttoxeter last time.
The time of that victory was very impressive too, and he simply looks a different horse since the application of a tongue tie.
Take the Bishops Road in the Topham
Connections of Bishops Road will be hoping that he is a non-runner in the Topham at 16:05 as that will probably mean a horse has come out the Grand National and, as first reserve, that he has got a run in the big one.
If he does run here instead, then he races off a 10lb higher mark than he would in early-closing National, but that doesn't put me off at all and I think he rates a decent punt at 17.016/1.
He has improved at all recognition since joining his new stable, most notably in the National trial at Haydock last time, but he had plenty of form over this trip in Ireland - indeed he won over 2m4f at Sandown in January - and I can see him running a massive race here.
However, expect to see connections experiencing a mixture of pleasure and pain if he does, as they will be wondering what may have been off a 10lb lower mark 24 hours later.
Minella Reception at around the 20/1 mark would be my alternative if Bishops Road doesn't run, for whatever reason, as he is simply an in-form horse who should be suited by the conditions and is fairly-priced.
I am happy to leave bumpers to others even though the 17:15 looks a high-class affair for the type of race and I am also struggling in the super-competitive Grade 1 Sefton Hurdle at 16:40.
Marginal preference would be for Ballydine, who ran a career-best when second to Barters Hill on good ground at Doncaster last time and had earlier showed his liking for a softer surface, but everywhere you look there are potential dangers.
It looks a bit of a minefield to be honest, and Ballydine looks short enough.
Back Party Rock at 30.029/1 in the 13:40
Back Henri Parry Morgan at 19.018/1 in the 14:50
Back Bishops Road at 17.016/1 in the 16:05
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Qualifying races: Aintree 14:15, 14:50, 15:25, 16:05, 16:40