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13th April 2012, 10:47pm

Aintree Betting: Simonsig looks like a banker in opening race for fans of the favourites

Aintree 1.45pm – Grade 2 Novices Hurdle – 2m 4f

On all known form and a very impressive performance this race looks likely to go the way of Simonsig. If it wasn’t already on peoples radar and in their notebooks it would have been after destroying a field of novice hurdlers in the grade 1 Neptune Hurdle at the festival. It is a best priced 1-2 favourite with William Hill and will probably be the banker in most peoples multiples. If you are only concerned about backing a winner at any price then lump on.

There are 10 runners in the race and we are getting paid out on 3 places so there could be some value in the other runners. 4 of the 10 look to have no chance and are priced at between 50-1 and 100-1 so it could pay to concentrate on those likely to throw down a challenge to the fantastic Simonsig.

Colour Squadron was disappointing last time out but was returning from a fall and the stable were out of form. We have seen Menorah and Wishfull Thinking run much better races this week and the same could be said for a lot of Paul Nicholls runners too, his stable also out of form previously, just before Cheltenham. Colour Squadron was travelling strongly when falling in a race won by Montbazon and it had run around very green when losing to Captain Conan. That rival ran a decent race on Friday and franked form.

Aland Islands is ridden by McCoy and is all about potential. It has had 3 career starts and won all 3, one a NHF bumper and 2 class 4 novice hurdle races. It was driven out last time out to win by 7 lengths on another flat track at Doncaster. The 2nd in that race won next time out but only in a class 4 race. While we could expect a good effort it lacks any proven graded form and lacks the experience of a battle in a top class race.

Molotof stepped up from 2m to race in a conditional hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival over 21f and was a disappointing 13th of 24. That form has had a boost with Attaglance winning again on Friday. It won a grade 2 novices hurdle in December but the 3rd that day was Hazy Tom and it was poor at the festival.

Super Duty has 3 wins and a heavy fall this season but came back from that fall to win last time out. It turned over the well fancied Keys last time out and Keys had finished 2nd previously to Cinders and Ashes. It has stayed this trip well at Ascot and Haydock and has a record of 4 wins from 5 races plus the fall, 3 from 4 over hurdles. It has a bright future over fences and looks like it has at least a place chance today.

Baby Shine won a point to point and 2 bumpers but then flopped in 2 bumpers when upped in class to listed level. It was a 4 length winner of a novice hurdle on its debut over these obstacles, beating odds on favourite Tempest River. That one flopped in the mares hurdle at the festival and let that form down. It was 2nd last time out to It’s A Gimme and that rival has a win over Colour Squadron. Form tied in with Swincombe Flame has taken a few knocks since.

Flycorn has been outclassed in grade 2 contests and is 66-1 while Go All The Way was beaten 18 lengths in a maiden hurdle and looked poor and is a 50-1 chance. Maggio has been chasing but is an ordinary hurdler anyway and it is also 66-1. Old Tricks was last of 6 in a maiden hurdle and 2nd in a novice hurdle. It won last time out but over a 2m trip.

Simonsig is impossible to oppose on form and I wouldn’t put anyone off backing it if they want to take the 1-2 on offer. It will also make a nice short price double with Sprinter Sacre later on but that one is long odds on. I’ll opt for smaller stakes on 2 possible value alternatives.


1pt EW – Baby Shine 18-1 Bet365 (1/4 odds first 3)

1pt EW – Colour Squadron 12-1 William Hill (1/5 odds first 3)



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