Today's Follow The Money comes from the opening day of 2017's Aintree festival...
We begin with the opening race at 13:45 and our Lay selection. A Grade 1 winner and a fine second in the JLT at Cheltenham, Top Notch is rightly at the head of the market, however he will face stiff competition today and it may not be the procession everyone is anticipating. The ground will be a major factor and with the selection never winning on good ground, which he will encounter today, it leaves question marks over his ability to get the trip without a bit of cut in the ground. The next two market principles, Cloudy Dream and Frodon, both have form on good ground and Cloudy Dream was a staying-on second against the impressive Altior at Cheltenham, suggesting the step up in trip will suit, while Frodon skipped the festival with this engagement in mind so should be in peak condition.
Our back selection today runs in the 14:50. Empire Of Dirt ran a race that was too bad to be true at Cheltenham and we are willing to put this down to the drop back in trip where it appeared that everything happened a little too soon. Prior to this disappointing run he was only ¾ of a length behind subsequent Gold Cup-winner Sizing John over today's distance. Cue Card is currently the favourite here and won very impressively at this meeting last year following a fall at Cheltenham, however having come down at the same fence last month it was evident he wasn't travelling with the same menace as he was before and would most likely have finished down the field. Gordon Elliot is in flying form at the minute and we are hopeful this run can continue.
Our each-way selection comes from the 16:40. Double Ws was unfortunate at Cheltenham Festival as he was hampered at the beginning and found himself further back in the field than ideal, he then travelled supremely well to two out when in serious contention before beginning to fade. The drop back in trip around Aintree's flatter track may be the ideal solution. With three of his four wins coming on good ground over today's distance there is every confidence in a big run.
Lay Top Notch @ [2.3] in the 13:45
Back Empire Of Dirt @ [3.55] in the 14:50
Back Double Ws each-way @ [7.8] in the 16:40
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Follow The Money P&L for February
Points Staked: 84
Points Returned: 106
P/L: +22 pts