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11th April 2012, 11:39pm

Aintree Betting: Pearl Swan can improve on softer ground but Triumph winner expected to go close too

Aintree Betting: Pearl Swan can improve on softer ground but Triumph winner expected to go close too

Aintree 2.30pm – Juvenile Hurdle – Grade 1 – 2m 110yds

Another top class grade 1 hurdles race on the opening day of the 3 day Aintree meeting sees the juveniles race over 2m (or thereabouts) and many from the Triumph hurdle reoppose. The winner of that race was Countrywide Flame and it is a 5-1 chance with Paddypower to complete the Cheltenham/Aintree double.

It was quite unfancied a month ago when allowed to go off at 33-1 but is no outsider with a 1st, a 2nd and a 3rd at grade 1 level over hurdles and wins on soft, good to soft and good in its career. It was an average handicapper on the flat but this track often suits flat types as the course is very standard without any undualtions.

Dodging Bullets was 4th in the Triumph and that was a fine effort for only its 2nd ever career start. It was 2nd on debut to Grumeti, thrown straight in at grade 2 level and then looked well held in the triumph and was beaten 4 lengths. It had 9 starts on the flat and recorded 2 wins, 2 seconds and 2 thirds. Daryl Jacob takes the ride with Ruby Walsh on Pearl Swan again.

Pearl Swan really impressed me when chasing home Grumeti at Cheltenham in January, disqualified and placed 2nd that day. It looked a smart sort that day and hung on under pressure but was found to have leaned into Grumeti. That was on good to soft and when turned out in the triumph I noticed early on that it was never travelling.

I felt it was due to the ground rather than the pace of the race and this cut should be ideal and bring about improvement. It looked to have a very rounded knee action that would suit a softer surface and it ran on well at Cheltenham before falling late on. It is still lightly raced with 5 starts on the flat but 0 wins so far in that sphere.

Grumeti opposes again and was 3rd in the triumph but well held by the winner and I felt it was down to class rather than anything else. It has the beating of a few of these already (Pearl Swan and Dodging Bullets). I can see it being better suited to this track and ready to run a big race. Alan King seems to suggest it has come out of the triumph in good order and fancies it to go close here.

Sadlers Risk seems to have a good reputation and is expected to be a decent sort but it was beaten 9 ¼ lengths at Cheltenham. It made all that day and then faded but is likely to get away with those tactics more here than there. It had lost to Baby Mix at Kempton and didn’t really deliver at Cheltenham with many expecting a big run. It has not run on ground with soft in the description since September and October 2010 and is now an 8-1 chance for this race.

Bradbury is a 66-1 chance that was beaten 20 lengths by Hinterland and looks outclassed. Hinterland had a huge reputation that it has failed to live up to and is now 10-1 for this race. Eagle Rock was beaten 8 lengths by Countrywide Flame in a class 4 hurdles race and was 2nd of 7 at grade 2 level at Doncaster. May be suited by this flat track but is 50-1 to win this race.

Gottany O’s was pulled up on soft ground in a class 5 maiden hurdle but was a 9 length winner on good to soft at Newbury in an ordinary race. It has won on soft and good to soft on the flat but is out of form and was well beaten last time out. Kapga De Cerisy was 11th of 24 in a grade 3 handicap hurdle at the festival and previously won by a neck in February at Sandown over 17f on good to soft. That race was a class 4 hurdle but when tried at grade 1 and grade 2 level it has been well beaten on heavy and very soft ground. It is a 40-1 chance today.

Lyvius has had 3 races but was beaten 9 lengths by Gottany O’s at Newbury in between 2 novice hurdle victories by 2 lengths and 5 lengths. We are yet to see how it will cope with grade 1 company but the Henderson/Geraghty partnership is respected and this horse is a 14-1 chance. Zarzal has raced once when 3rd and beaten a distance by Grumeti at Kempton. 8-1 to win this race and no reason it should based on that effort. Beyeh beat Bradbury by 2 lengths last time out but in a class 3 hurdles race. It was beaten 7 lengths by Eagle Rock when sent off at 100-1 and it is those odds to win here today.


2pts WIN – Pearl Swan 5-1 Ladbrokes

1pt WIN – Countrywide Flame 5-1 William Hill

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