London Racing Club Aintree Preview 2014

Chris Cook, Ed Quigley and Rory Jiwani at LRC

Chris Cook, Ed Quigley and Rory Jiwani at LRC

It was Aintree preview night at the London Racing Club last night, and the esteemed panel was comprised of Racing Post's longshot pundit, Ed Quigley (EQ); The Guardian's Chris Cook (CC), deputy racing editor; and, Rory Jiwani (RJ), Stan James' bookie rep and top banana.

Here follows their potted wisdom on the three days of Aintree, mindful that many of the races have yet to take final shape...


Betfred Bowl

RJ - Silviniaco Conti is the lay of the meeting. Had hard race at Cheltenham and didn't like his attitude especially. Hard to split Dynaste and First Lieutenant, but Rory's layed Silviniaco Conti, and that'll do for him.

CC - Discouraged by the way Silviniaco Conti finished at Cheltenham, whereas Dynaste seemed better for the wind operation he'd had when winning at the Festival, and 2/1 is a fair price all things considered.

EQ - Menorah is one of only a couple of Aintree bets Ed has struck, and he thinks 11/1 is a fair each way bet despite there only being six runners and, therefore, two places to go at.

Aintree Hurdle

RJ - The New One is too short. He's still clearly the one to beat but long odds on offers no value. Rock On Ruby has plenty to find to reverse early season form with TNO.

CC - Respects the Twiston-Davies team's current 28% strike rate with reference to TNO's chance. But Chris liked Diakali as a possible dark horse in the race at 12/1 or so.

EQ - No view

4yo Hurdle

RJ - This has been the target for Activial, and he swerved the Triumph specifically to come here. Rain helps his case and he must have a solid chance. Fox Norton and Katgary could be interesting if lining up.

EQ - Spoke to John Ferguson, and he's lined Commissioned up for this. His second to Activial puts him in the frame and he might be a nice price against higher profile rivals.

CC - Really likes Activial, even though eight of the last nine winners had run well in the Triumph [editor's note: L'Unique, last year's winner, skipped the Triumph]

Manifesto Novices' Chase

CC - Oscar Whisky could be the sort of price to be taken on, especially after that early tumble at Cheltenham. Western Warhorse a dangerous and potentially under-rated opponent. Uxizandre could be ignored in the betting again. It's "not a race for confident betting".

EQ - Fox Appeal is of minor interest, specifically trained for the race.

RJ - No view

Red Rum Handicap Chase

CC - Keep an eye on the Tizzard horses now the virus has passed. With that in mind, Oiseau de Nuit could run well (finished 3rd, 2nd and 1st in the last three renewals!)

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EQ - Oiseau de Nuit is a spring horse, and his form earlier in the year can be ignored.

RJ - Astracad might be interesting at a price.

Grade 3 Handicap Hurdle

EQ - Two Rockers has really struggled with a virus this term and, if back from that, he could run well. Stable [Alan King] really likes him.

CC - Crowning Jewel and Josie's Orders could be worth noting, especially the latter who is trained by Jonjo O'Neill [won this three times since 2006]



Top Novices' Hurdle

RJ - Clever Cookie is apparently the best horse Peter Niven has ever had and, if he can improve marginally, could win this.

Melling Chase

RJ - A bad race with lots of rogues, and as weak a Grade 1 as you're likely to see. Wishfull Thinking has a standout chance if he turns up, at 6/1

CC - Agrees that Wishfull Thinking is the most obvious play and if 6/1 was available on the day it would be well worth taking.

Topham Chase

CC - A couple of 25/1 shots each way: Eastlake for Jonjo, where the step up in trip could help; and Minella For Value - still entered in the National and trainer John Butler is one of the shrewdest operators around. Chris felt the horse has a "fascinating profile".


Sefton Novices' Hurdle

RJ - Seeyouatmidnight could be the best bet of the day if overlooked by the betting public again, due to unfashionable connections. He's the clear top rated horse in the race.

Mares' Bumper

EQ - Has been told The Govaness is expected to run very well for Fergal O'Brien.



Liverpool Hurdle

CC -  More Of That has to prove he's as adept on a speed track, but with his highly progressive profile, it's far too early to be trying to get him beaten.

Maghull Novices' Chase

CC - Tempted to give Trifolium another chance. He was a good third in the Supreme before being a good third in the Arkle, and it looks as though McCoy has been booked for the ride. Balder Succes might need more of a test than this.

EQ - Has a strong fancy for Balder Succes!

Grand National

RJ - Does Teaforthree actually stay the trip? With the race changing to favour potentially better horses, Rory likes Long Run. At bigger prices, he's throwing his darts at Chance du Roy, Shakalakaboomboom, and Pineau de Re.

Monbeg Dude could go off favourite, as the story horse. Prince de Beauchene and The Package are big losers for Stan James.

CC - Chris feels that the softening of the fences may place a greater emphasis on stamina and, in that context, he thinks higher weighted horses will struggle more due to the sustained level of pace in the early to middle part of the race. [Editor's note: I thought that was probably the single most interesting comment of the night, and as a theory I like it].

Long Run looks regressive and has plenty of weight in any case. Triolo d'Alene may have a breathing issue, and Teaforthree hasn't won for two years.

Chris really likes Big Shu, and feels we still don't know how good he is because he's been running in hunter chases and cross country races, which hasn't necessarily allowed the handicapper to get his measure. He might still be nicely treated and 33/1 is a bet.

Rory's 1-2-3:

1. Long Run 2. Pineau De Re 3. Burton Port

Chris's 1-2-3:

1. Big Shu 2. The Rainbow Hunter 3. The Package

Ed's 1-2-3:

1. Long Run 2. Walkon [Editor's note: seriously?!!!] 3. Teaforthree


Charity Bets

EQ - £25 e/w Walkon at 50/1 [Editor: sigh]

CC - £25 e/w Big Shu at 33/1


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10 replies
  1. Avatar
    ynwajim says:

    Did EQ give any reasons for Walkon? – cant see how any student of the game, whether you use form, stats/trends, profile etc or combination of the lots could pick him out?? was is ‘punters instinct’! 1 chase win in C2 Novice, doubtful stayer, never won beyond 20f, likes to hit the deck every now and then. This is a game of opinions, but that is just ridiculous! famous last words, but if he wins on all known evidence, may as well give up!

  2. Avatar
    Matt Bisogno says:

    Below are Andy Wright’s notes from the same meeting, which are more comprehensive than mine in places!

    General view re Cheltenham horses

    – The gap between Cheltenham and Aintree this year is the same as most years

    – Always hard to determine if a horse is about to go “over the cliff”. No hard pointers however the panel had the view if you felt the horse had a hard race at Cheltenham then that would be a negative

    – MattB however showed me a stat that if you wagered level stakes to horses that finished 1,2,3 at Cheltenham then you would be up

    On all days usual caveat, need final declarations to be sure who runs where.


    14:00 – 4yo Juvenile hurdle
    RJ – Likes Activial. Rain is good, this race always the target. Triumph would have come too soon. Harry Fry blogs with StanJames, so info is probably accurate ??
    RJ – Also likes Fox Norton, obvious chance from the form book, if you rate Royal Irish Hussar.

    RJ – Calipto may not be suited by Aintree – may happen all too fast for him

    CC – Also likes Activial however in the PJ book it does state that 8 out of the last 9 winners of this race were placed at the Festival.

    EQ – Also likes Activial! Of the JP Ferguson pair, he stated that he would prefer Commisioned as this was always going to be his target, where as Broughton is an after thought.

    14:30 Betfair Bowl

    RJ – Lay Silviniaco Conti
    CC – Was negative about Silviniaco Conti. Did not like how he finished in the Gold Cup. First time in 50 years the horse that jumped the last fence first/in the lead did not place. However positive about Dynaste the wind op seem to have worked.
    EQ – Menorah loves Aintree. Accepts ‘hot & cold’

    15:05 Aintree Hurdle
    All – Very weak renewal. A no bet race because of seven runners. If The New One runs to form and stays upright he will win. However no price.
    CC tried to make a case for Diakali however MattB showed me the Mullins stats no winners or places at this meeting in the last 31 attempt s (or something like that!)

    15:40 The Foxhunters

    All – Thought Mossey Joe will be head and shoulders above the rest of the field

    EQ stated that this race has always be the target for Rebel Du Maquis (P Nichols trained)

    AndyW likes Warne!

    16:15 Red Rum handicap

    CC: If Next Sensation runs here, will be interesting. Got spooked at Cheltenham and went off waaaaay too fast. Still very much well in.

    CC: Outsider Oiseau De Nuit. Won this race last year, only 1lb higher. Loves spring ground and comes alive around Aintree. Negatives were Tizzard trained but the virus seems to be out of the yard now with some winners recently. He won when he was 11 however has he still got the appetite / fire in his belly. When he won last year he did run well at Cheltenham which is not the case this year.

    RJ: Oppose Claret Cloak, no exposed his rating is high enough and prefers better side of good, so the rain is not for him

    RJ: Likes Arnaud, only just gets 2 miles and Aintree may well suit. Usual cliché re a graded quality horse in a handicap. Would be a back and lay in running. Will be prominent.

    RJ: Likes Astracad, still on a good mark / well weighted. Has good Aintree form.

    DeclanRix: After the preview mentioned he fancies Anay Turge to run a big race

    16:50 Manifesto Novice Chase

    CC: Oscar Whisky must be fresh but would still oppose

    CC: Western Warhorse, no fluke in winning the Arkle and still unbeaten (albeit only two starts). Still lightly raced, stays rather than pure speed and could easily win this.

    CC: Also Uxizandre has a similar profile to WesternW. JP came over to Plumpton to see this horse run and A.King has always spoken highly of it.

    CC: Does not like Felix Younger

    RJ: A longshot Eduard

    EQ: Fancies Fox Appeal. Been targeting this race. Good form even in defeats. Will be taking on ‘tired’ horses

    17:25 Handicap Hurdle

    Lots of horses mentioned with a chance

    -> Battle Group

    -> Riverside Theatre (could be well in off his hurdle rating)

    -> Salubrious (not too stretched in the World Hurdle)

    -> Two Rockers (if he is back to his best he is well in)

    -> Return Spring (Hobbs is in fine form)

    If they get in

    -> Josies Orders (jonjo trained excellent record in this race)

    -> Caroles Destrier


    14:00 Novices Hurdle

    RJ: Really likes Clever Cookie, deliberately missed Cheltenham for this race. Peter Niven states this is the “best horse he has ever trained”. Still unexposed. Only caveat is this could be a strong in depth race.

    RJ: Mijhaar – D O’Regan after contemplation has stated he rates this horse very highly. Normally a good judge.

    MattB: Likes Kilcooley. Check out the Market Rasen form.

    14:30 Mildmay Chase

    RJ: Likes Many Clouds. Worth another chance. Could reverse form with O’Faolains Boy

    15:05 Melling Chase

    All – agreed a very weak renewal

    All – agreed Wishful Thinking is the class horse in the race, has good Aintree form

    RJ: Cannot be with Ballynagour, only ever runs well first time out

    15:40 Topham

    RJ: Standing Ovation has been well backed. 20 -> 12
    CC: Eastlake & Minella For Value, the latter has the potential and will surely show it soon.
    MattB: Ballybough Gorta A P.Bowen horse (trained Always Waning) and will like the going/ground

    16:15 Sefton Novices

    EQ: Worried Apache Jack is “done” now for the season

    CC: Likes Killala Quay

    RJ: Really likes Seeyouatmidnight. All the form there to see, top rated, so should go off favourite however not from a big yard so may be overlooked

    17:25 Mares Bumper

    EQ stated The Governess tearing up the gallops and this race always the target.


    14:05 Maghull Chase

    RJ: Good reason why Balder Succes missed Cheltenham (ask me if interested!). Could just run from pillar to post

    CC: Will Trifolium like the perceived faster ground on Saturday ?

    EQ: Also likes Balder Succes

    14:50 Stayers Hurdle

    All: More Of That will win, only worry is very young horse, so can he take his racing?

    Grand National

    Many better reviews, content on this race then you will get from me. So will mention a few horses that I noted comments about.

    General: As more horses stay in the running i.e. not falling, then the strong pace is sustained for much longer these days so stamina really matters and stamina does get zapped by lugging weight around, so top weight need to have stamina form in the book before considering.

    Teaforthree: Very poor value, not sure he stays at a quicker enough pace. Has not won for two years. Also horses running the second time tend not to perform up to their first run.

    Long Run: good jockey, maybe does not stay?? However a regressive type and has too much weight surely.

    Shakalakaboomboom: is over priced,

    Triolo D’Alene: Surely the Gold Cup was a terrible prep

    Chance Du Roy: Has form over these fences

    Big Shu: CC loves the profile of this horse. Unexposed as only really raced in Cross Country races, point-to-points and hunter chases, therefore hard to handicap. Has 4m form. National has always been his priority, X-Ctry at Cheltenham would have been a bonus. Will be a big price

    Colbart Station: All negative, AP will not ride. After last years performance hard to find favour with

    Balthazar King: Phil Smith says this is the best handicapped horse.

    Monbeg dude: may well go off favourite. When people read about the ZaraP and MikeT connections on the saturday. Back to lay for a free bet now?

    Goonyella: Interesting

    Rainbow Hunter: CC says the breathing op has brought this horse on

    Across The Bay: if held up could be coming strong at the end of the race

    All gave 123s however only noted CC’s he stated

    1. Big Shu

    2. The Package

    3. The Rainbow Hunter

    That is all folks!

  3. Avatar
    malcolm pendrey says:

    read nick mordin in weekender. has binned old national system. NOT relevant now fences too system gave first 4 ( what a tricast!) from just 6 qualifiers. what he says makes sense.
    only 2 fell last year, a record.

    • Avatar
      Matt Bisogno says:

      You’ll note from my preview, Malcolm, that for the first time ever I make no reference to jumping ability as a criterion. I wish I’d done that last year, as Aurora was disqualified on that basis. Of course, he walked through a couple and still won. I’m expecting more of the same this year.


  4. Avatar
    nigelkeeling says:

    Walkon 2nd in the Topham finishing strongly. Touch of class. Great EW value. Teaforthree has to go close, doesn’t he?

    • Avatar
      Matt Bisogno says:

      Always Waining won the Topham three times and died on his arse in the National. It’s one mile and six furlongs further. That’s rather a long way…

  5. Avatar
    Man says:

    Hi Matt.
    Am on Monbeg Dude at 33s ew and Teaforthree 25s ew. So hoping for the best.


  6. Avatar
    Eric Dixon says:

    .HAWK HIGH carrying 11-1 in the 4 yo h`cap at Cheltenham ran 9 seconds faster than the Triumph winner with 11-0…..?

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