Friday 22 February 2019

Whole new ball game without Penhill running

Treat Yourself: Petit Mouchoir can do the trick
Treat Yourself: Petit Mouchoir can do the trick

Racing today will centre around the Grand National at 5.15pm but the support card isn't without some interesting races and, while the Ryanair Stayers Hurdle is without some of the big names from the Cheltenham equivalent, Wholestone (4.20) can keep up a good week for his connections.

Daryl Jacob had a forgettable Cheltenham - even before it began - with some big names ruled out from that meeting but he has made up for it here this week with some big winners already and he won't be without a chance on Ucello Conti in the National, although Wholestone would look his best chance on the card.

Third at Cheltenham behind Penhill and Supasundae, Wholestone is fairly consistent on that front as he was beaten a similar distance behind Penhill last year.

He looks the standard setter in that division so hopefully Wholestone can take advantage now that there's no Penhill to contend with.

Certainly he won't be lacking from the saddle as Jacob is riding full of confidence.

Henry de Bromhead brought a decent team to Aintree and he'll be hopeful that Petit Mouchoir (3.00) reaches his potential over fences in what looks a good opportunity.


A massive positive for backers of Petit Mouchoir will be the absence of Footpad, who Petit Mouchoir was widely expected to reverse form with at Cheltenham but he actually finished further behind him.

That said, Petit Mouchoir missed the middle of this National Hunt season with a setback and Aintree should be expected to suit him better - he could be hard to peg back in the hands of Ireland's champion jockey-elect, Davy Russell.

Cheltenham form has been mixed at Aintree so far over the two days and, while Black Op is the standard setter in the Grade One Mersey Novices' Hurdle having finished just over two lengths behind Samcro last month, a chance is taken that Western Ryder (2.25)can find his best form before the season ends.

Always highly regarded by Warren Greatrex, Western Ryder actually beat yesterday's impressive Aintree winner, Lalor, by two lengths earlier in the season and while he was only sixth at Cheltenham, that was in the Supreme and this step up in trip could be ideal.

Barry Geraghty is tipped to get National day off to a flying start for Jonjo O'Neill on Dream Berry (1.45).

A runner-up in a competitive handicap at Punchestown last season, Dream Berry has ran just once this term and wasn't disgraced behind Blow By Blow in the Martin Pipe at Cheltenham and if coming on a bit from that run he should be bang there in the opener.


1.45 Dream Berry

2.25 Western Ryder

3.00 Petit Mouchoir

3.40 Casse Tete

4.20 Wholestone

5.15 Baie Des Iles

6.20 Chesterfield

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