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The Mandarin’s Aintree Racecard for Friday 12th April 2024

The Mandarin’s Aintree Racecard for Friday 12th April

Huyton Asphalt Franny Blennerhassett Memorial Mildmay Novices’ Chase (Grade 1) 1.45
Gavin Cromwell’s Walk In The Park gelding stormed home by 8 lengths in the Kim Muir at Cheltenham, and is going to be a hot favourite to repeat that here. More needed here now in a Grade 1, but he lines up off a 7lb lower mark and Mark Walsh takes up the reins. Chianti Classico also scored in style at Cheltenham for Kim Bailey, but he’s up 3lbs for his win in the Ultima. Both this pair will be fine on this ground, but Inothewayurthinkin gets the nudge

William Hill Handicap Hurdle (Premier Handicap) 2.20
The chance is taken on Sonigino, who has saved his best for Aintree in the past. He’s got to overcome a couple of underwhelming runs at Kempton Park and Cheltenham, but if it’s horses for courses here at Aintree, he can run a big race at a huge price. Freddie Gingell takes off a useful 5lbs too for the Premier Handicap, so Sonigino is the gamble as the each-way angle

TrustATrader Top Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) 2.55
Mystical Power (nap)
Superbly bred, Mystical Power is the spitting image of his Dam, Annie Power, and could be just as good. Early days yet, but he’s two from three over the sticks, just finding Slade Steel too good in the Supreme Novices’ at Cheltenham last month, but can take Grade 1 honours here. The progressive Dysart Enos, going to post for Fergal O’Brien, and Gordon Elliott’s Firefox are the pair likely to give him the most bother, but Dysart Enos might want a firmer surface and Firefox has 2 lengths to make up from their clash in the Supreme Novices. Mystical Power to cement his place at the top of the Novice Hurdling division

My Pension Expert Melling Chase (Grade 1) 3.30
Protektorat (nb)
A terrific race in store for the Melling Chase, where the very best from both sides of the Irish sea line up for a cracker. Just a couple of months ago, you couldn’t have got Jonbon at anything better than evens, but that’s all changed since the Seven Barrows yard of Nicky Henderson fell under a cloud at Cheltenham, so much so that plenty of horses were pulled out of their races. Conversely, the return to two and a half miles in the Ryanair was just the ticket for Protektorat who scored by 4 lengths over Envoi Allen. It’s no surprise to see Dan Skelton keep him at this trip after that Grade 1 win. Paul Nicholls’s Pic D’orhy seems to be back to his best this term with a brace of wins at Ascot, while Willie Mullins’s Easy Game looks to be wrongly priced in the ante-post markets and provides a tempting each-way angle. Protektorat to score for the in-form Dan Skelton, with brother Harry picking up more Grade 1 honours

Randox Supports Race Against Dementia Topham Handicap Chase (Premier Handicap) 4.05
Kandoo Kid
Last year’s winner, Bill Baxter makes appeal as proven over these fences, but the gamble is taken on Kandoo Kid. He was runner-up to the progressive Heltenham in the Greatwood Cup at Newbury Park last time out, losing nothing in defeat, and could well be ahead of his handicap mark. Kandoo Kid has only failed to complete once, and has always stayed on his feet, so every chance he’ll get a clear round here. Solid each-way claims

Cavani Sartorial Menswear Sefton Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) 4.40
Dancing City
A good contest for the Sefton, where the Irish hold a strong hand with Dancing City, Readin Tommy Wrong and Croke Park. The preference is for Willie Mullins’s Dancing City, who has been largely progressive his season, winning twice on soft ground before a fine third in the Albert Bartlett at the Cheltenham Festival. Stablemate Readin Tommy Wrong pulled up in that race, and although Paul Townend keeps faith with him, Dancing City arrives here in good form. The Jukebox Man is the obvious danger after taking second in the Albert Bartlett, but Dancing City can make up the seven lengths and reverse those placings

Alder Hey Handicap Hurdle (Conditional Jockeys’ & Amateur Riders’) 5.15
Go Dante
Go Dante gets the vote for the closer after his fine win in the Imperial Cup at Sandown. Olly Murphy’s Kayf Tara gelding left it late in that Class 2 Handicap, and although only eighth in this race last year, has been an improved model this term. Stuart Crawford’s Brucio was on a hat-trick until brought down at the first at Kelso, and rates the main danger to Go Dante

The Mandarin

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