Nathan Joyes steps up to the plate for Friday's double, with his eye on a course and distance specialist at Aintree and a Willie Mullins runner at Kilbeggan...
"His performance over C&D back in October was outstanding. He won eased down by 15 lengths, under a positive ride from Ben Poste. That was a strong race, too, with the likes of Dan Skelton's Don Poli and Sue Smith's Cheltenham Ultima winner, Vintage Clouds, miles behind."
Aintree lover hoping for more celebrations
Minellacelebration is a cracking horse, who absolutely loves it here at Aintree. In fact, three of his last four wins have come over course and distance but the market hasn't missed him this morning. Although that takes away any kind of each-way opportunity, he's still worth a punt.
His performance over C&D back in October was outstanding. He won eased down by 15 lengths, under a positive ride from Ben Poste. That was a strong race, too, with the likes of Dan Skelton's Don Poli and Sue Smith's Cheltenham Ultima winner, Vintage Clouds, miles behind.
He unseated next time out at Aintree, but Poste lost his iron fairly early on in the race and that performance can be dismissed. As can his next at Sandown, when he was travelling well before being badly hampered by a faller.
This race is much weaker than those two races, and after a solid third at Uttoxeter after returning from a hard race in the Grand National, Minellacelebration can return to winning ways this evening.
Mullins sends four to Kilbeggan
Having opened up around 8.07/1, there's no real surprise to see support for Willie Mullins' Blazer, who's trainer heads to Kilbeggan with four horses, three of which are very strong favourites.
The other, Blazer, is clearly being fancied by punters and will surely be even shorter if Mullins has success with his other runners before Blazer heads down to the track.
Jack Holiday heads the market, having won two out of his last three races, who has been hit with another 3lb penalty. That takes him to a mark 11lb higher than his last victory, and adding a couple of extra furlongs, he may well be vulnerable of this career high mark.
Demain Des L'Aube sits next in the market for Henry De Bromhead, who has yet to win in Ireland, and although a decent second last time out at Tramore over 2m6f, and factoring the booking of Rachel Blackmore, I think the market has overreacted with his price.
Mullins, on the other hand, has had 25 winners from his last 73 runners at today's track, returning a highly impressive 34% strike rate. But that's not the only reason for my selection.
Blazer's handicap mark is slowly beginning to drop to a far more realistic level, and although his losing run stretches back to 2017, his course win did come at this venue.
Mullins is trying blinkers with his ten-year-old this evening, and if everything clicks, his veteran may be able to take advantage in what appears to be a very weak looking field.
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