Ante-Post Focus: Aintree 2014

The start of the Aintree Grand National meeting is just three days away so I’m thinking it might be time to show a little bit of initiative in the ante-post markets in the hope of obtaining some value. Entries for all races are now through, but it’s the Betfred Bowl and the Melling Chase runners and markets that have caught my eye.

2.30 Aintree Thursday – Betfred Bowl

Fourteen have been entered up in this, but although no more than a fair price currently, I’m willing to stick up the confirmed runner, DYNASTE. This classy grey has grown on me over the last year or so. He‘s one of the most consistent top horses in training and has been bang there in good races throughout his career, especially over the last two seasons.

His chasing record is impressive, in terms of consistency, despite one blip, which came in this year’s King George. The son of Martaline was too poor to be true and subsequently was found to have pulled muscles in his hind quarters. This setback was a worry coming into the Cheltenham Festival, but he’d still go on to win the Ryanair in great style. It wasn’t a vintage running by any means, but I felt he gave some good horses, who had the race run to suit, a bit too much leeway. It didn’t matter in the end as he bounded up the hill to score convincingly.

Cheltenham is also a track that I feel doesn’t bring out the very best in him so his performance can possibly be marked up further. The eight-year-old has always shown his best for on flat tracks, like Aintree, so a return to a less demanding circuit is another positive.

In summing up the case for him, Dynaste too is a good jumper. A strong ability to travel through races is also another plus. While his price is only fair there is a chance the race may cut up further and current odds of 9/4 may contract.

Silviniaco Conti looks to be the selections biggest danger. He too is a classy horse, but there must be a strong possibility his brutal Cheltenham effort, a good run, has left its mark? Dynaste comes in a fresher horse and Silviniaco Conti was behind him earlier in the season in the Betfair Chase, too.

Another strong challenger is First Lieutenant, the Gigginstown horse that sadly missed the Gold Cup due to not eating up. (Connections possibly leaving a Gold Cup behind – we’ll never know) He’s another good horse, but finds it difficult to win and is highly dependent on good ground and a strong gallop to show his best form. Even that may not be good enough here and Bryan Cooper missing must be another negative.

The rest really don’t look good enough. Cue a boil over.

3.05 Aintree Friday – Melling Chase

The second selection runs on the Friday and like the above race we have a double figure entry, this time 13 runners. Like the Bowl the Melling may also cut up so in acting fast, we may be able to obtain a bit of value while too holding genuine claims of scoring.

To my eye, the market has this wrong at the moment. Only one book have priced up the race, Paddy Power, but it’s a small surprise that MODULE is not favourite. While official ratings can be a touch, well, inaccurate at times, it’s interesting the handicapper has Module six pounds clear of his nearest market rival, Rajdhani Express and a further three pounds clear of the next, Ballynagour.

Tom George’s chaser is still only seven-year-olds although it feels like he’s been around a fair bit longer. Since going over fences the son of Panoramic has taken his form to another level. As a novice he was a staying on fourth in the Jewson at the Cheltenham Festival before being put away for this current campaign. Connections patience may be starting to pay off as this season has seen the bay reach new heights.

An excellent second in the Haldon Gold Cup (just behind Somersby) at Exeter was followed by a disappointing effort next time out at Huntingdon. The nature of the latter track probably didn’t suit. That said, it’s encouraging that his last two runs improved.

A win at Newbury in heavy ground came before another Cheltenham Festival run, in the Queen Mother Champion Chase, behind Sire De Grugy. Having done a lot right he found himself outpaced approaching the straight, fighting a losing battle, before running on to grab third. That was a career best and given how he was finishing the step-up to this intermediate trip should be perfect. He jumped superbly, too so that is another asset to have.

It doesn’t look the strongest of heats and while there is a chance I’m maybe under-rating Rajdhani Express, history shows Ballynagour struggles to put back to back races together. This rest are really all of a muchness and I’d be disappointed if he didn’t go close, if on form.

As you can see, I’ve put up two horses here and there is good reason in this instance. I’m advising an each-way double. As said I feel like Dynaste’s price is fair with the ability to contract while Module’s odds offer a touch of value. Furthermore, one or both races may cut up badly leaving first two placings on the day(s).

Both hold outstanding chances of winning, but I really couldn’t see either out of the frame so an each-way double is the bet I’ll be doing.

Good Luck!


2pts each-way double Dynaste @9/4 and Module @4/1 (Paddy Power)

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