Friday is Ladies’ Day at Aintree and despite the colder than seasonal temperatures and the prospect of rain, it will not deter Liverpool’s lasses from donning their finery (a few threads in a few cases) and heading for the track.
1.45 AINTREE – GALIA DES LITEAUX
There is a chance Ladies’ Day could start with a female winner in the shape of GALIA DES LITEAUX (pictured) on the Mildmay Novices Chase.
She does have a few lengths to find on Gerri Colombe and Bronn on the Cheltenham running (where she finished just behind Irish Grand National winner I Am Maximus) but she was bang in contention turning for home and maybe the climb to the line did for her late on.
She has an impeccable record on flat left-handed tracks, recording impressive wins at Bangor and beating Complete Unknown by thirteen lengths at Warwick. The more rain the better too for her chances and I think she has been unfairly overlooked at double figure prices.
3.30 AINTREE – FRENCH DYNAMITE
The Marsh Chase is the feature Grade 1 on Friday's card and I’m taking a chance that FRENCH DYNAMITE can take it for Mouse Morris. The 8yo has had a good season without getting the credit he deserves. He just failed to give 6lbs to Ga Law in the Paddy Power in November before three miles stretched him, albeit not disgraced, at Leopardstown over Christmas. He made a serious error at the final fence when behind Fakir D’Oudairies at Thurles when doing the donkey work on the front end and ran a stormer when fourth in the Ryanair, just behind Hitman.
The fact he ran at the festival and both Pic D’Orhy and Fakir D’Oudairies arrive fresh is a slight concern, but prices around 10/1 underestimate his chances, twice the price of Hitman who he has just two lengths to find with.
Pic D’Orhy and Fakir D’Oudarires were left floundering at Ascot behind Shishkin and although this is the latter’s cup final having won it for the last two years, I think his season has shown he isn’t quite the horse he was, and connections have reached for the cheekpieces.
I am convinced there is a big prize in PHOENIX WAY and was surprised he wasn’t in the Cheltenham entries, but it appears that this may have been the masterplan all along with the first time cheekpieces being applied for the Topham Chase.
He has run solid races in all three of his appearances this season, travelling well but failing to trouble the judge. The consequence is a 6lb drop from the handicapper that puts him 2lb below his last winning mark. He travels and stays well and, if taking to the fences, I think he must have a shout of claiming gold this afternoon.
With the fences and 29 opponents, obviously a lot of luck is required. Gesskille has finished twice over these fences already this season behind Al Dancer in November and Ashtown Lad in the Becher in December. All three of those will have claims but are handicapped accordingly, while Final Orders’ winning run may have come to an end at Cheltenham, but he was far from disgraced when fifth in the Grand Annual and will have no problem going back up in trip.
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