Aintree Placepot: Friday April 4
Matt Gardner tackles the Placepot on day two of the Grand National meeting...
"Big Fella Thanks has perennially been targeted at the Grand National, often running with credit but simply failing for stamina, but he is clearly effective over these fences..."
14:00 - Josses Hill is very much the one to beat judged on his second in the Supreme at Cheltenham but he's likely to take up a fair chunk of the Placepot pool and it will pay a deal more if he misses out, so it's best to side with Baltimore Rock and Sgt Reckless. The first mentioned is taking a step up in grade after an impressive success in the Imperial Cup but is well worth a chance at this level and remains open to further improvement, whilst Sgt Reckless caught the eye when fourth in the Supreme, left with far too much ground to make up, and it is of note that A. P. McCoy takes over in the saddle.
14:30 - With just two places on offer the ideal scenario would be to take a couple of selections, but there are no opportunities for bankers on the rest of the card so a risk is taken on Wonderful Charm. On the face of it he was a bit disappointing in the JLT but the suspicion is that the race simply didn't get to the bottom of him, with the six-year-old being unsuited by the tactics employed on the day. Hopefully a more positive approach is taken today, and he is expected to go very close.
15:05 - This is a substandard renewal of the Melling Chase but should be fairly straightforward from a Placepot perspective, with both Wishfull Thinking and Rajdhani Express holding sound claims on form. The first mentioned is usually vulnerable at this level but, given the lack of strength to this contest, actually heads the Timeform ratings and will be bang there with a repeat of his Cheltenham effort, whilst Rajdhani Express is fresher than most of these and ran a cracker in the Ryanair last time. That effort puts him right in the mix.
15:40 - Big Fella Thanks has perennially been targeted at the Grand National, often running with credit but simply failing for stamina, but he is clearly effective over these fences and is likely to find this distance more in his favour after running well enough at Doncaster last time. The second selection is Tahiti Pearl, a sound jumper who has enjoyed a consistent season, gaining reward for his reliability with a win at Sedgefield last time. He is now 9 lb higher but that has been franked since, and he should go well.
16:15 - It's difficult to see why Seeyouatmidnight is such a big price, presumably because of his unfashionable connections as he has done nothing but improve since being sent over hurdles, completing the hat-trick in the Rendlesham Hurdle at Haydock last time. He sets the standard so goes into the permutation alongside Tagrita, who took a marked step forward when scoring at Wincanton last time and receives a handy mares' allowance here.
16:50 - A tricky handicap hurdle awaits in the final leg, with the two selections being Caid du Berlais and Cash And Go. The first mentioned ran a cracker when third in the Martin Pipe and seems sure to go close if able to back that up, with Harry Derham taking off a hand 3 lb, whilst Cash And Go hasn't been the easiest to predict recently but is almost certainly on a good mark, shaped pretty well in the County Hurdle and has the assistance of Paul Carberry in the saddle.
14:00 - 3, 9
14:30 - 6
15:05 - 6, 10
15:40 - 14, 19
16:15 - 12, 17
16:50 - 2, 9
= 32 lines