Sportsmail’s racing expert Robin Goodfellow dishes out his tips for day two of the Aintree Festival featuring the Mildmay Novices’ Chase.
Topofthegame has improved since impressive win in the RSA Chase at the Cheltenham Festival
1.45 Brio Conti (nb)
2.20 Itchy Feet
3.25 Waiting Patiently
4.05 Born Survivor (nap)
5.15 Ebony Jewel
1.45 Brio Conti
2.20 Sofia’s Rock
2.50 Lostintranslation (nap)
3.25 Waiting Patiently
4.40 Lisnagar Oscar (nb)
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2.20: BETWAY TOP NOVICES’ HURDLE
The Supreme Novices’ Hurdle form is well represented here with third-home ITCHY FEET renewing rivalries with Felix Desjy (5th) and Aramon (6th) — and each of the trio appear to have excellent claims to land this Grade One prize.
The former narrowly gains the nod as the recent rain may make this more of a stamina test and the Cheltenham form was handed a boost when Fakir D’oudairies was narrowly beaten in the juvenile Grade One. Southfield Stone was purposely kept away from the Cheltenham undulations as he has proved his effectiveness on flat tracks this winter. A cosy defeat of Angels Breath at Kempton gives him a huge chance, with conditions likely to play to his strengths.
Sofia’s Rock has a little to find after a Ludlow romp, but it would be unwise to write him off given he is a battlehardened handicapper off the Flat.
BEST BET: ITCHY FEET
MAIN DANGER: SOUTHFIELD STONE
2.50: BETWAY MILDMAY NOVICES’ CHASE
TOPOFTHEGAME could barely have been more impressive in winning a strong RSA Chase at the Cheltenham Festival and, with connections suggesting he has improved since then, he ought to take plenty of beating.
A switch to more patient tactics paid off handsomely last time as the selection swooped to defeat Santini and Delta Work in one of the best times of the week. Even a repeat of that level would be more than good enough to secure another Grade One and it would be disappointing if he can’t enhance next year’s Gold Cup claims with an authoritative performance.
Lostintranslation would be a huge threat judged on his fine second in the JLT Chase, but his yard have been a little quiet this spring, so the forecast berth may go the way of Drovers Lane, who was 20 lengths behind Topofthegame at Cheltenham but may find today’s conditions more to his liking.
BEST BET: TOPOFTHEGAME
MAIN DANGER: DROVERS LANE
3.25: JLT MELLING CHASE
Connections reach for the cheekpieces for WAITING PATIENTLY and that may prove a shrewd move as he looked to weave around a little when trying to chase down the classy Cyrname at Ascot last time.
The selection sustained a 17-length defeat that day, but that was his first completed start of the season after suffering an early exit in the King George through no fault of his own. He should be sharper mentally and physically and has only been beaten once in fields of eight or less runners.
Politologue was a further three lengths adrift that day, but he too had an excuse as the hood he had worn for his previous three starts wasn’t employed. The headgear returned for his trip to Cheltenham last time as he excelled in troubling Altior before failing by less than two lengths to beat the champion.
Politologue is sure to go well at a track where he would be unbeaten but for an unfortunate stumble after the final fence two seasons ago.
BEST BET: WAITING PATIENTLY
MAIN DANGER: POLITOLOGUE
4.05: RANDOX HEALTH TOPHAM H’CAP CHASE
Janika , Ballyhill and Cadmium look live contenders for this event, while Adrien Du Pont should find it to his liking. However, BORN SURVIVOR boasts an excellent record fresh and hails from a yard which have enjoyed a great time at spring festivals in recent years.
Nominated as a contender for this race following a game Wetherby win last November, the selection appears to save his best efforts for flat, left-handed tracks, so his effort behind subsequent Ryanair Chase runner-up Aso (Ballyhill 3rd) at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day looks decent form, especially as the track does not play to his strengths.
Call It Magic led his field a merry gallop in the Becher Chase (3m2f) despite one or two hairy leaps and it was perhaps no surprise he ran out of petrol late on. That still appears a decent pointer to this race, though, and he could be a danger to all if finding some rhythm at the head of affairs.
BEST BET: BORN SURVIVOR
MAIN DANGER: CALL IT MAGIC
4.40: DOOMBAR SEFTON NOVICES’ HURDLE
Stats followers were vindicated in opposing CHAMP in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham, but only by a couple of lengths as City Island proved too strong on the climb to the line. Winners of Newbury’s Challow Hurdle have never won the staying event at the Festival, while seven-year-olds also have a poor record, so Champ didn’t have a lot to recommend him.
It was to his credit that he ran so well on his first Prestbury Park outing and he should find the switch back to the contours of Liverpool much more suitable. Like stablemate La Bague Au Roi, Emitom sidestepped Cheltenham and connections will be hopeful that decision is slightly more successful. His performances this season have been a mixture of class and staying power and yesterday’s rain should make under-foot conditions perfect. Of those at bigger prices, Arthur Mac may outrun his odds as he stays well and loves soft ground.
BEST BET: CHAMP
MAIN DANGER: EMITOM
PETER SCUDAMORE – EIGHT TIMES CHAMPION JOCKEY
PRECIOUS CARGO (2.20) is a horse of massive potential and can take today’s big step up in his stride.
I was involved in training this gelding last season before he was moved to Nicky Henderson’s stable and he always looked like he had a big future.
He is a massive horse and has needed time to mature. The rain that fell on the track yesterday will not have done his chances any harm.
CHAMP (4.40) was runnerup in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. He remains a horse of massive potential and should be capable of bouncing back to winning ways.
PETER SCUDAMORE’S SELECTIONS
2.20 PRECIOUS CARGO (NAP)
3.20 WAITING PATIENTLY
4.05 VOIX D’EAUX
5.15 EBONY JEWEL
CAPTAIN HEATH’S SELECTIONS
1.45 THREE MUSKETEERS
2.20 FELIX DESJY
2.50 TOPOFTHEGAME (NAP)
3.20 WAITING PATIENTLY
4.05 FLYING ANGEL
TOPOFTHEGAME is rated as a
future Gold Cup winner by his
camp after an impressive RSA
Chase win. Lightly raced, he
should have plenty in the tank.