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The Grand National meeting gets underway at Aintree on Thursday and with the races being shown live on Channel 4, we have found the best bets on the opening day card.

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With three days of quality racing ahead of us we are looking to get off to a strong start with our opening days bets for Aintree 2013.

Schedule

2.00 – Matalan Anniversary 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m110y

2.30 – Betfred Bowl Chase (Grade 1) 3m1f

3.05 – John Smith’s Aintree Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m4f

3.40 – John Smith’s Fox Hunters’ Chase (Class 2) 2m5f110y

4.15 – matalan.co.uk Red Rum Handicap Chase (Grade 3) 2m

4.50Betfred Manifesto Novices’ Chase (Grade 1) 2m4f

5.25 – Silver Cross Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) 3m110y

Televised Races (Channel 4)

2.00 – Matalan Anniversary 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m110y

The first race of the meeting sees the juvenile hurdlers do battle and the Triumph Hurdle favourite ROLLING STAR (5/2 with Betfred) will be out to improve on his 5th placed finish behind Our Conor at Cheltenham. He travelled well for a long way but was a little outpaced and made no real impression up the straight, for all he wasn’t given too hard a time once beaten. He is bred to appreciate this better ground and judged on his comfortable defeat of Irish Saint previously he holds strong claims here. Comfortable Fred Winter winner Flaxen Flare ought to go well again if the blinkers can have the same effect as they did there but out of handicap company he will need to take a further step forward. The Paul Nicholls holds a strong hand with the horse who finished 2nd to Rolling Star before winning the Adonis Hurdle Irish Saint coming into the race fresher than those who raced at Cheltenham. He looks likely to stay further than this but is progressive and may give Rolling Star a closer race this time.

Selection: ROLLING STAR @ 5/2 with Betfred

2.30 – Betfred Bowl Chase (Grade 1) 3m1f

Four horses who lined up in the Gold Cup re-oppose here with The Giant Bolster (4th), Cape Tribulation (5th), Wayward Prince (7th) and Silviniaco Conti (Evens with Betfredall featuring. Silviniaco Conti was travelling well and still held every chance before falling and if that fall has not left his mark he looks the one to beat here. He may be slightly fresher than some having fallen before the race really quickened up and a course and distance winner this test will suit him well. The Giant Bolster ought to appreciate the better ground and he should be able to confirm form with the others, although Cape Tribulation did win here last season and will be staying on at the finish. First Lieutenant failed to cope with the drop back to 2m5f at Cheltenham but will appreciate this 3 mile trip on decent ground.

His form in the Lexus holds up well and although he has not won since November 2011 he should be competitive here. The lack of a win is of concern as is the amount of travelling he has done in recent weeks and so it would perhaps not be a surprise to see the other Gigginstown runner Quito De La Roque show up well. He missed Cheltenham and has been aimed at this race after bouncing back to form in a Grade 2 last time out. He disappointed at Aintree earlier in the season but has won at this festival before and better ground will be no problem for him.

Selection: SILVINIACO CONTI EVENS with Betfred

E/W Alternative: QUITO DE LA ROQUE 10/1 with RaceBets

3.05 – John Smith’s Aintree Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m4f

A highly competitive renewal sees a potential star novice take on established hurdlers in what is a very open race. The New One (10/3 with William Hill) was a winner here last year and his smart turn of foot was very apparent when he won the Neptune at Cheltenham making next years Champion Hurdle a very realistic target. This demands more stepping out of novice company but he has the potential to be a real star and even at this stage of his career this company should hold no fears for him. Oscar Whisky has won this race for the last 2 season but comes into the race on the back of another poor attempt in the World Hurdle. Perhaps significantly Barry Geraghty has chosen to ride Grandouet who fell in the Champion Hurdle last time out when still travelling comfortably enough. The step up to 2m5f is an unknown but he travels so sweetly which will give him every chance of staying the trip and better ground will help him. Zarkandar will wear blinkers which should help to sharpen him up and the step up in trip will suit, for all it may still be inadequate. Countrywide Flame ran a great race when 3rd in the Champion Hurdle and he ran well last year here. He is another who will improve for the step up in trip and there is every reason to think he won’t be far away in what is a very open and intriguing contest.

Selection: THE NEW ONE 10/3 with William Hill

3.40 – John’s Smiths Fox Hunters’ Chase (Class 2) 2m5f110y

Cottage Oak (7/1 with Racebets) has taken well to the hunter chase scene and ran a fair race at Cheltenham when 3rd behind Salsify. A drop back in trip will suit him as will better ground and Waley-Cohen takes over in the saddle. Paul Nicholls saddles two horses with strong chances in Gwanako and Rebel Du Maquis. Gwanako was going well here last year before falling and a clear round of jumping should see him go close. Bold Addition is an assured jumper who is unbeaten in hunter chases so far with 2 wins from 2. He is still lightly raced and has barely come off the bridle so far this season and is ready for this step up in class. Warne comfortably beat the smart Tammys Hill last time out and should be feared if he is able to bring that form over.

E/W Selection: COTTAGE OAK @ 7/1 with RaceBets

4.15 – matalan.co.uk Red Rum Handicap Chase (Grade 3) 2m

Kid Cassidy ran a great race when chasing home Alderwood in the Grand Annual and judged on that evidence a 7lb rise is far from harsh. However he isn’t the most predictable of horses and it is hard to say with any confidence whether he will follow up with a similar effort. Ruby Walsh has chosen to ride Rebel Rebellion and he bounced back to form last time out with a bold jumping display. He is still unexposed and may well try and make all again. Toubab (11/1 with Bet Victorchased home Sprinter Sacre at this festival last year and had struggled on his first 2 starts this year in heavy ground. He was much happier back on better ground last time out at Doncaster and with similar conditions here he is likely to race up with the pace too. Silver Roque ran well here earlier in the season and has remained consistent throughout the season. This will be his toughest test to date but he looks progressive and ought to be competitive

E/W Selection: TOUBAB 11/1 with Bet Victor

Other Races

4.50Betfred Manifesto Novices’ Chase (Grade 1) 2m4f

A tricky contest with question marks over every runner in the field and it may pay to side with the horse who skipped Cheltenham. Fago (9/2 with Sky Bet) had been touted as an Arkle contender but after a fall and a fairly lacklustre display last time out connections skipped Cheltenham. There is no obvious pace angle in the race which means he may well be allowed to dictate in front under Ruby Walsh and the step up in trip should suit; better ground is the unknown quantity. Captain Conan was expected to do big things over fences this year but he has struggled on the whole despite only being beaten once this season. He doesn’t seem at home over 2m5f but the better ground and flatter track will help in that regard. On form is still the one to beat but at a short price and each-way play on a bigger priced runner looks a safer option. Changing Times, His Excellency and Drumshambo all ran respectably at the festival and are likely to run their races again, whilst Tap Night and Carlito Brignate could well run on into a place in a very open race with no standout contender.

Selection: FAGO 9/2 with Sky Bet

5.25 – Silver Cross Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) 3m110y

Wide open race with many unexposed horses taking each other on. Jetson ran a good race in the Pertemps and will appreciate this better ground. Several are stepping up in trip and the likes of Many Clouds and Easter Day look sure to benefit from that and can go well. Nicky Henderson has some interesting contenders with Open Hearted, Sentry Duty and Ericht all running. Geraghty has opted for Ericht and whilst 3 miles is a bit of an unknown he is in good form and good ground should help him too. Near the bottom of the handicap Lienosus (10/1 with Ladbrokes) chased home the smart Clondaw Kaempfer in a Listed race earlier in the season and looks highly progressive. There should be more to come from him on handicap debut and a son of Old Vic, this trip will hold no fears for him.

E/W Selection: LIENOSUS 10/1 with Ladbrokes

Alternative: ERICHT 14/1 with Bet365

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Thatsbettingtips Staff

Thatsbettingtips Staff

Content Contributor at Thatsbettingtips.com
The team behind the betting tips, offers and promotions at tipster website thatsbettingtips.com.