It’s Ladies Day at Aintree as day two of the 2019 Grand National Festival gets underway with seven on the race card.
There are four Grade Ones on the Friday of racing’s most famous meet, with plenty of chances for punters to get one over on the bookmakers.
There is also the Topham Chase, which gives professional jockeys the first opportunity to run over the Grand National fences ahead of Saturday’s showpiece.
On ITV Racing’s Opening Show, former jockey Katie Walsh and racing journalists Brian Gleeson and Matt Chapman gave their picks on four of the races at Aintree.
Mildmay Novices’ Chase – 2.50pm, live on ITV
Katie Walsh (KW) – Chris’s Dream
Brian Gleeson (BG) – Topofthegame
“He’s a potentially top class horse. I like him.”
Matt Chapman (MC) – Lostintranslation
“I think he’s an easier ride. The pace in this race should come from Top Ville Ben who has always front run his whole life. I think Lostintranslation will sit second and if Top Ville Ben doesn’t last very long, Lostintranslation can go on. Everything that he has done over two-and-a-half miles suggests a longer race will suit.”
Melling Chase – 3.25om, live on ITV
KW – Min
“I’m a big Min fan. He’s here in good form and I hope he bounces back. You’d like to think he’s going to put his Cheltenham run behind him.
“I think looking at him yesterday he looked fantastic and doesn’t look like a horse who doesn’t want to be here.The way he looks I’d be happy with him.
“Whoever gets into a rhythm and does the running and the galloping – I think you could see a different kind of runner in this race.
“I think Ruby’s (Walsh, Katie’s brother) horse has to improve, I think Waiting Patiently has to improve. If Nicholls’s horse (Politologue) produces his Cheltenham run, that’s going to see him over the line.”
BG – Min
“I’m a Min fan. I think you can draw a line through his Queen Mother Champion Chase. I think Min is the horse to beat.
“I don’t think the Min we know turned up at Cheltenham. The fact that Min is in good form, that gives me confidence.
“This is the moment of truth for Waiting Patiently. He’s obviously been a very fragile horse.
“The handicapper has him as the best horse in the race. Cheekpieces for the first time could be potentially interesting.”
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MC – Politologue
“Of the two I think I prefer Politologue. I think the problem for both – in fact all three leading contenders even though Waiting Patiently appears to quite like heavy ground – is none of them are real sloggers, whereas it’s slogging conditions.
“Min is usually a horse that does his best work on the bridle. Politologue also travels well. Waiting Patiently is a traveller although he does have a kick at the end.
“There’s not a Don Poli in here who likes to grind it out. These are horses who all like to travel away on the bridle and it could be a really ugly finish.”
Topham – 4.05pm, live on ITV
KW – Call It Magic
“He’s here in good form. That was the plan after the Becher (Chase). I think he’ll appreciate the ground. He definitely jumps a little bit left, which suits and helps.
“I think the trip is going to suit him. Over the National fences you need to travel early to get yourself into a good position and this fella is a great early traveller. That’s going to be such a help from the start.”
Call It Magic trainer and Walsh’s husband, Ross O’Sullivan, added: “He ran a blinder in the Becher Chase, took the fences really well. Fence to fence jumped great and ever since that day we’ve been looking forward to the Topham.
“The rain will help. The best of his form is on soft ground so after the rain yesterday we were delighted.
“The trip isn’t a problem, he’s run two mile, six (furlongs) before in Ireland. He’s got plenty of pace early. Excitement and pressure and the whole lot mixed together, I’m looking forward to it.”
BG – Polidam
“I’d be having my pound each way on polidam.”
MC – Adrien Du Pont
“I like Adrien Du Pont who’s improved a lot over three miles. Has dropped back a bit here. Travels. Has a lot of quality.”
Sefton Novices’ Hurdle – 4.40pm, live on ITV
KW – Downtown Getaway
“I actually won a bumper on him in Fairyhouse and he was very impressive. I just think it’s wide open and the yard’s in form.”
BG – Dallas Des Pictons
“He’s going to appreciate the step up in trip. He won nicely at Leopardstown.”
MC – Champ
“He’s the only horse in here with a rating of 150, plus stamina could be a problem. But I’m going for him on the basis that he’s easily the most talented horse in this.”
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