Paul Nicholls ended the Cheltenham Festival with a final-day double, and the Betfair Ambassador is looking for more success with his eight runners on day one of the Aintree Grand National meeting...
"Cyrname has matured into a smart chaser, wants two and a half miles, missed Cheltenham to wait for this and must have a leading chance."
Cyrname must have a leading chance
I'm thrilled with the way he has taken to fences this season and his narrow defeat by Terrefort at Sandown looks even better after that horse finished runner up in the JLT at Cheltenham.
Cyrname has matured into a smart chaser, wants two and a half miles, missed Cheltenham to wait for this and must have a leading chance.
One slight concern is that he began to jump right-handed when he was second at Newbury in December but I suspect he wasn't quite himself that day. While I've kept Cyrname to right-handed tracks since then I am expecting him to keep straight at Aintree.
Modus can bounce back
Didn't run up to expectations in the JLT at Cheltenham where he was soon on the back foot and couldn't get into a rhythm in a big field of runners on ground that was softer than he wants.
We know Modus is better than that and he should be much happier this time on drier going against only five opponents, he is well capable of a decent show here.
Malaya improving with experience
Side-stepped Cheltenham before winning very well last time at Ascot under top weight in clear cut fashion. She has become more settled and professional with experience, jumps slickly, is improving and has the benefit of the seven pounds Mares allowance.
I'd say she has a great chance in an open looking race.
Keep an eye on Clan as he goes well fresh
Threw a sprint shortly after his fine run into second place behind Guitar Pete in the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup at Cheltenham in December so last month's Festival was always going to come too soon for him.
I then had to let that problem settle down before cracking on with him. Clan Des Obeaux is an interesting runner as he has always gone very well fresh and I've been wanting to run him over three miles for a while.
In an ideal world I wish had another fortnight with him. But he has been back in full work for something like eight weeks, has done a lot of graft and is taking on some opponents here who have had a hard season.
Blinkers could be a Wonderful Charm
In contrast the more it dries up at Aintree the more it will suit Wonderful Charm who has done well to win so many races considering he always has issues with his breathing.
He struggled at Cheltenham on ground that had gone against him so I am hoping that blinkers will sharpen him up. The flat track at Aintree should also be in his favour.
Hoping the heavens open for Unioniste
The more it rains at Aintree the better for Unioniste who has struck up a useful partnership with his enthusiastic owner rider David Maxwell. The horse jumps well, is at his best in testing conditions and was staying on again at the finish of the Foxhunters' at Cheltenham.
We haven't seen the best of Tommy Silver yet
I've kept Tommy Silver away from the worst of the ground this winter since he finished third to his stable companion Cyrname at Kempton over Xmas.
He showed he was in good heart with a close and unlucky second to Sir Ivan in a jumpers bumper at a Kempton five weeks ago. With a clear run he would have won that day. Although we haven't seen the best of Timmy Silver yet over fences I'm hoping he can take a step forward here if the ground dries out.
Trish should come on from Sandown
Is a talented mare who tries hard and is going to make a smart hurdler. She was a bit too keen last time at Sandown up on the pace yet still galloped on willingly once headed.
The plan is for Sam Twiston-Davies to try to get some cover on Posh Trish and get her settled before the race comes to the boil. She is one that handles the ground and she won over the course in October. The bonus is that she had to carry a four pound penalty at Sandown but not here.
Hopeful Cavalier can be another winner for Lorcan
Isn't the easiest to train but has improved for each run and gained a deserved first success recently in the mud at Wincanton. That wasn't the strongest of races and now Blu Cavalier has to shoulder a six pound penalty so the seven pound claim of Lorcan Williams comes in handy here.
I will be giving Lorcan more chances over the next two and a half weeks as he is great value for his claim He is only a couple of winners behind the leaders in the race for the amateur riders' championship and I'd love to help him land the title.
Risk And Roll likely to come on for the run
Has been off all winter after an operation since he last ran five months ago to sort out his breathing. I've waited so long to run him but he's ready to go now though I am nervous about the ground for his comeback.
While I am hoping he runs tidily he is sure to come on for the outing.