Thunder Can Make A Bang At Aintree

There may have been many changes over the years but the sight of the famous Aintree Grand National fences is a highlight for any jump racing fans.

On The Fringe is going to be the warm favourite for the Foxhunters’ Chase on Thursday but there may be one at a big price that is worth taking him on with.

Thunder Can Make A Bang At Aintree
The form book points firmly in the direction of On The Fringe and Pacha Du Polder for the first race of the week over the National fences and if On The Fringe is in anything like the form he was in here 12 months ago, he won’t be beaten.

However, his price is quite short for a horse who didn’t look to have his ‘A’ game with him at Cheltenham and while there’s probably little doubt that Aintree suits him best, there could be value in shopping around for a bigger priced horse in this race.

Pacha Du Polder ran well at Cheltenham last year with Victoria Pendleton and was sent off second favourite for this race on the back of that but was well stuffed and beaten 60-lengths on that occasion.

That said, coming here having won at Cheltenham and beating Grand National runner Wonderful Charm, he has to have a chance this year. But Black Thunder is one at a price that is worth taking a punt on.

The 10-year-old pulled up at Cheltenham in the Foxhunters and prior to that was beaten in a Hunters’ Chase around Kelso. But the hope is that a return to Aintree will light him up.

Black Thunder is owned in partnership by the Waley-Cohens who love to have runners in these races and Sam Waley-Cohen has a tremendous record over these fences.

If he can get this fella into a good rhythm early, he certainly has some decent form over the years, most notably with Many Clouds who he beat at Haydock and wasn’t beaten that far by at Cheltenham a couple of seasons ago.

Black Thunder is falling down the ratings now but was once up in the 150s and if he can find any of that form, he has to be given a chance at big odds.

Elliott To Rule The Empire
The trip, the track and the opposition should all suit Gordon Elliott’s Empire Of Dirt more so than the Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham and he looks set to win the Aintree Bowl tomorrow afternoon.

Free Fall

It looks as though Cue Card is going to go off favourite for the race as he looks to repeat his feat of last year by winning this race after falling at the third last fence in the Gold Cup. Last month though he didn’t look to be travelling with the same zest as last year and his heroic achievements throughout his career might just be beginning to take a toll on the 11-year-old.

Empire Of Dirt is picked to come out on top for Elliott, Bryan Cooper and last year’s Grand National winning owners, Gigginstown House Stud.

Diva Too Big In Finale
The JP McManus pair of Defi Du Seuil and Buveur D’Air look impossible to oppose in the two Grade 1 hurdles but the card concludes with a Grade 2 bumper in which Sassy Diva has to come into the mix.

Still a maiden, the six-year-old had some good runs when finishing third in two Irish bumpers and although second last time, she was simply no match for Fayonagh at Fairyhouse and went down by 20-lengths that day.

However, that could have been Fayonagh at her very best on ground that she relished. She went on to win the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham and had she not given so much ground away at the start, you’d have to wonder how many would have got within 20-lengths of her.

This is a drop in class from the Champion Bumper and that 20-length defeat of Fayonagh may not read too bad as her career goes on.

So Sassy Diva looks too big a price in the last race on day one of the Grand National meeting.

Recommended Bets:
Empire Of Dirt (5/2) – 2.50 Aintree
Black Thunder (25/1) – 4.05 Aintree
Sassy Diva (9/1) – 5.15 Aintree

*Prices correct at time of publication.