Aintree Day 2: Nicholls on Topofthegame with star novice

Kemboy stole the show on day one at Aintree. He looked the real deal in disdainfully pulling clear of Clan Des Obeaux and is already one of my main horses to follow next season. Another of those has to be Paul Nicholls’ Topofthegame, who returns in the Mildmay Novices Chase. Lostintranslation opposes, but Nicholls appears to have a superstar on his hands. Selections for day two, including Topofthegame, below.

Merseyrail Handicap:

Brio Conti is in excellent form having taken a handicap at Ascot en route to fourth in the Coral Cup at Cheltenham. He’s near the top of the weights today though as he’s been raised another 2lb. Mohaayed returns at the top of the handicap and was a creditable seventh in in the County Hurdle off this mark. Tedham got off the mark at Wincanton in January and gave the impression more was to come while Admiral Barratry is slightly overlooked in the market as he was only beaten six lengths on his most recent start in a fiercely competitive novice handicap. Esprit Du Large is two from four and won by ten lengths last time out so garners a great deal of respect, but KNIGHT IN DUBAI was leading into the straight in the Coral Cup before fading late on. Once beaten, Harry Skelton took it relatively easy aboard his brother’s charge and the drop in trip of a furlong alongside Aintree’s easier-going track should enable him to last much longer here. Three Musketeers isn’t a prolific winner but will have appreciated the rain as will Joke Dancer though he was disappointing latest. Wait For Me travelled very strongly until late in the day in the Pertemps and can make the frame.

1. Knight In Dubai
2. Tedham
3. Wait For Me

Top Novices:

The Supreme form of Klassical Dream gets a run out with the third, ITCHY FEET, fifth, Felix Desjy and sixth, Aramon all running here. The last named is fancied to improve most with the Aintree course likely to play to his strengths, but the rain should ultimately see the selection, who has been supremely consistent for Olly Murphy, maintain the form as he ran a big race at Cheltenham. Felix Desjy has improved with every one of his last three starts so can’t be completely discounted while Precious Cargo is unexposed for Nicky Henderson and was a ready winner at Sandown last month. Southfield Stone defeated Angels breath in February though was receiving weight and that horse didn’t do the form many favours in the Supreme, but Rouge Vif stormed clear at Kelso and is value compared to a number of others.

1. Itchy Feet
2. Aramon
3. Rouge Vif


Lostintranslation shaped like a horse ready to go further when runner-up in the JLT. He’ll handle the conditions, but there’s no tougher opponent he could be facing than TOPOFTHEGAME as he bids to prove his stamina. Paul Nicholls’ giant gelding won the RSA a shade cosily under a canny Harry Cobden ride and the sky is the limit for this monster of a horse. The race for third may be of more interest with Chris’s Dream boasting the best form after a Navan Grade Two triumph. Mr Whipped has shown potential over both hurdles and fences while Crucial Role may prove slightly superior to Top Ville Ben and Drovers Lane.

1. Topofthegame
2. Lostinitranslation
3. Chris’s Dream


Waiting Patiently will have his ground and though the candle burned less brightly when trounced by Cyrname at Ascot, he still had POLITOLOGUE (nap) in behind. That said, Paul Nicholls’ grey ran a screamer when second to Altior in the Champion Chase and repelled the challenge of Min to win this last year. He’s versatile enough ground wise and the suggestion is that Waiting Patiently may not be in love with going left-handed. Min was a shadow of himself at Cheltenham and prefers the minimum distance. Of the others, there is a chance that Woodland Opera can outrun his huge odds as he racked up a fair winning streak in the Autumn. He’ll be better for his comeback run and will appreciate every drop of rain. All of Top Notch, Hells Kitchen and Gods Own have a bit to prove at this level in terms of form and age.

1. Politologue
2. Waiting Patiently
3. Min


The form of BALLYHILL this season has been rock solid. He won on the mildmay course earlier in the season before a pair of thirds at Cheltenham. The two winners of those races (Aso and Siruh Du Lac) franked the form significantly at the festival and Nigel Twiston-Davies’ horse arrives on a 2lb lower mark. If he takes to the fences, he has a lot going for him. Janika beat the selection in the second Cheltenham handicap, but was raised another 6lb for filling the runner-up spot in the Byrne Group Plate and this looks like too tough an ask. Born Survivor was also involved in those mid-season hadndicaps and was a winner on his penultimate start while Polidam was not disgraced in open company latest and will enjoy the heavens having opened. Both Activial and Flying Angel ran well in the Ultima with slight preference for the latter who continues to shape as though a win is in sight. Forest Des Aigles was fifth in the Grand Sefton earlier in the season and that experience will stand him in good stead while all of Cadmium, Indian Temple and San Benedeto are worth a second look.

1. Ballyhill
2. Flying Angel
3. Polidam


As with the Albert Bartlett at the Festival, this looks wide open. Champ didn’t shape like three miles is exactly what he wants although his second in the Ballymore rates the best form in this. Dallas Des Pictons was second in the Martin Pipe and has been improving with every start and Emitom is unbeaten though faces by far his toughest test to date in this. Lisnagar Oscar is a proven stayer though was soundly enough beaten at Cheltenham and with this division throwing up a few surprises, preference is for the unexposed WALK AWAY. He won with room to spare on his debut and though he features in the “could be anything” category, Henry de Bromhead and Robbie Power represent a fearsome combination. Go Another One has been in the top two on his last six starts and saved his best until last as far as his form thus far is concerned. Downtonw Getaway is likely better than his short-head margin of victory latest while Ardlethen represents the in-form Skeltons.

1. Walk Away
2. Go Another One
3. Champ


Another bumper and thus, another devilishly difficult race to call. Mcfabulous looked useful on his most recent start, as did Master Debonair although the latter was well beaten in the Champion Bumper. Santa Rossa reverts from taking on her own sex, whom she beat in a Grade Two at Leopardstown in February. Ebony Jewel won easily on his only bumper start for Nick Alexander as did Hazm for Alan Johns, but preference at a big price is for ADJOURNED. A chance is taken on the four-year-old, having his first run for Kim Bailey, as he won at Southwell in good style on his only previous start. In an impossible contest, he could prove very nice value against the field.

1. Adjourned
2. Mcfabulous
3. Ebony Jewel

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