Timeform take you through the card at Aintree on the first day of the Grand National Festival
"Some of his best efforts over fences have come at Newbury and Haydock, both flat, right-handed tracks, similar to what he will face here..."
Timeform on Clan des Obeaux
13:45 - Paul Nicholls saddles both CYRNAME (3) and Modus here, but it is the first-named that makes most appeal. He has quickly made up into a very smart chaser this season, winning three of his five starts, including the Grade 2 Pendil Novices' Chase at Kempton last time by 11 lengths. He will likely be pestered for the lead by Rene's Girl here, but this will be the toughest test she has faced thus far, and Cyrname is expected to win that battle. One slight concern would be that he seems much better going right-handed, but given he is much the best prospect in this field, he is worth chancing.
14:20 - Nicky Henderson holds a strong hand here, saddling the first two in the market in the shape of Apple's Shakira and WE HAVE A DREAM (7). Apple's Shakira was disappointing in the Triumph Hurdle last time given the market strength behind her, crucially caught flat-footed turning in, and ultimately shaping more like a stayer. This speedier track isn't sure to play to her strengths, but that shouldn't be a problem for We Have A Dream, who won a listed event at Musselburgh last time. That form has worked out well, and he arrives here fresher having had to swerve Cheltenham, so a bold bid is expected.
14:50 - MIGHT BITE (5) sets a high standard here and will likely prove hard to beat if in the same form as when finishing runner-up to Native River at Cheltenham last time, but he endured a gruelling race that day, and it could have left its mark. However, given this is a lesser race, and connections have been positive about his chances, it would be folly not to include him. One who could cause a surprise is CLAN DES OBEAUX (2), who has always been well regarded by Paul Nicholls, and he arrives here fresh. Some of his best efforts over fences have come at Newbury and Haydock, both flat, right-handed tracks, similar to what he will face here. Furthermore, this will be his first crack at three miles, a trip he should be suited by, and Nicholls has a great record in this race.
15:25 - On paper this looks a more or less straightforward task for SUPASUNDAE (8), who brings the best form to the table and is fully effective at this trip. As his odds suggest, he is fully expected to go one place better than he did in the Stayers' Hurdle at Cheltenham last time, and is well worth including in the Placepot. However, at bigger odds, CYRUS DARIUS (3) also needs keeping on side. He bounced back to form returned to hurdles when winning the Timeform Morebattle Hurdle at Kelso last time, and though this will require a career best, he could well have more to offer in this sphere. He has always been well regarded by connections and, at a double-figure price, is worth chancing.
16:05 - This looks a typically open renewal and, though GRAND VISION (9) is yet to tackle the Grand National fences, his bold-jumping, front-running style should be ideal for this track, and he's expected to produce a big effort under one of the most astute amateur riders around. Balnaslow would be a big threat with a repeat of last year's performance and the relatively unexposed Barrakilla is another who should be suited by this sort of test.
16:40 - KINGS' SOCKS (8) promised more for most of the way when finishing fifth in the Brown Advisory Plate at Cheltenham last time, and could have more to offer. That was his first start in a handicap, and he races off the same mark here, so it's no surprise to see him prominent in the betting. Another who could have more to offer is TOMMY SILVER (3) who admittedly has been expensive to follow this season. Despite being turned over at short odds in a jumper's bumper last time, he showed enough to suggest he is in good heart, and he could come into his own now handicapping from what seems a workable mark.
17:15 - GETAWAY KATIE MAI (5) chased home subsequent Champion Bumper heroine Relegate in a Leopardstown Grade 2 in February and that form sets the standard here, so is preferred to Dissavril, Duhallow Gesture and Posh Trish, who have all tasted success in listed events this winter and look sure to make their presence felt. Cedar Valley looked a nice prospect when making a winning start at Taunton last month and is also considered.