Vautour is the star attraction on Merseyside

As Willie Mullins looks to take the lead in the UK Trainer's Championship

Yesterday was a decent day for Narrow The Field. A couple of the more speculative bets didn’t come off as hoped but Apple’s Jade, Annie Power and Dandridge (each way) at least got some money back in our pocket.

The ability to whittle away some of the field will come in very handy once again on Ladies’ Day at Aintree. It may lack the quality of Thursday, but the quantity of fiercely competitive racing makes up for that. We’ve gone through the card in detail, but the two we’ve put onto our graphs are the novice hurdles – where a couple of interesting bets stand out.

2.15 Aintree – Top Novices’ Hurdle – Bet Now

A lot like what happened yesterday, the majority of the runners land smack bang in the middle of the grid. The trick is to separate who ticks all the boxes at a lower level and who ticks all the boxes in a manner that suggests they’re contenders here.

Three Stars, Petit Mouchoir, North Hill Harvey and Altruism all suggest they’re at the right distance and will handle the ground, but their form has largely been achieved at a lower level to this, so our attention will go elsewhere.

Limini was mightily impressive at Cheltenham but may have been flattered by the level of opposition she faced on the day. Buveur D’Air getting within nine lengths of Altior looks like classy form, but it may be hard to replicate less than a month later. Both of their prices are too short in such a competitive race.

Bleu Et Rouge should be forgiven his fall at Cheltenham, Gwafa looks like an improver and Ball D’Arc comes into the picture more and more if the rain keeps falling, but Agrapart is the bet. He gave the useful Starchitect a beating at Newbury in February, missed Cheltenham and should be plenty fresh for this. Softening ground shouldn’t be a problem at the five year old looks likely to improve, but at tasty odds of Verdict:

4.40 Aintree – Sefton Novices’ Hurdle – Bet Now

In a welcome change of pace, the majority don’t make it into the centre of the grid. That’s mainly because very few of them have tried their hand at a three mile trip and there’s no certainty about them seeing it out. Baoulet Delaroque, Balko Des Flos and Bellshill are three of the leading contenders with that question mark hanging over their heads and although they could well be suited to the trip, they haven’t proven it just yet, so we will look elsewhere.

With the open nature of the race meaning there are some nice prices available and therefore lots of appeal in backing Ballydine, Gangster and Ballyoptic. If one of them is your fancy, there is little evidence to talk you out of backing them, so have at it. The one that I’ll be looking towards is Mystical Knight. On ratings, he has a lot to find on his rivals, but he’s very lightly raced for a seven year old and this is just his fourth appearance at a racetrack. He only won his bumper on the last day of 2015 but has shown some promise since. His win at Navan isn’t of the calibre to get him in the frame hear, but I expect some improvement and he’s a good each way bet.

Verdict:

The other races

Alder Hey Children’s Charity Handicap Hurdle 1.40 – Bet Now

Wide open race. Hard to be overly confident. < gets in with a nice light weight and he’s worth a small bet

Mildmay Novices Chase 2.50 – Bet Now

I like Blaklion a lot but I would think his win at Cheltenham took a lot out of him. Ironically, has run more recently than some of the leading fancies here, but his victory was nowhere near as hard. He looks like an improver and offers a value option here.

JLT Melling Chase 3.25Bet Now

” target=”_blank”>Vautour all day long. if you fancy a bet in the Betting Without Vautour market.

Topham Chase 4.05 – Bet Now

Throw a dart at it. My dart landed on and I’ll have a small bet on him.