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  1. #21
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    and one for old What a fraud

    However, it may just be worth taking a chance with What A Friend each-way.

    He's a bit of a rogue but the ability is there, he's had a light season and there are no doubts about the track or the trip.

    He's fairly consistent and it's not beyond the realms of possibility that this race could fall apart if the market leaders either don't stay or have failed to recover from last month's exertions.

  2. #22
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    and one for the unsung Burton Port

    Burton Port returned from even longer on the sidelines when a narrow second to Long Run in the Denman Chase at Newbury in February and backed that up with a fine fourth in the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

    He won a novice chase over the course and distance at this meeting two years ago and with Tony McCoy a more than able deputy for Geraghty, Burton Port can record a deserved success.

  3. #23
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    I raise you another Riverside Theatre Garry Nutting ATR Bet of the week no less.


    RIVERSIDE THEATRE is a strong candidate for bet of the week when he bids to maintain his unbeaten record for the season in the Betfred Bowl at Aintree on Thursday.

    Nicky Henderson's eight-year-old goes into Aintree on a career high, having completed a Grade 1 hat-trick with back-to-back triumphs in Ascot's Betfair Chase followed by a thrilling victory in last month's Ryanair.

    This admirable gelding (he's won ten of his 17 starts and failed to make the frame only three times) had to dig deep to prevail in a pulsating finish at Cheltenham and the manner in which he stormed up the hill augurs well for his prospects stepping back up to three miles, especially given his excellent record on flat tracks.

    The last time Riverside Theatre ran over this sort of trip he finished second to a peak-form Long Run in last season's King George. The fact that he went on to comfortably land the Ascot Chase five weeks later (shorter than usual gap due to Kempton having been rescheduled) suggests there's a good chance the Festival won't have taken the edge off him considering there's a 28-day break between races.

    Furthermore at Cheltenham he was value for more than his winning margin over Albertas Run and Medermit (beaten half a length and the same) as he endured a rough passage due to the right-leaning Captain Chris continually jumping into him.

    "Despite that tough race, he will line up a relatively fresh horse having run just three times in the last 14 months."

    It's testament to Riverside Theatre's courage, as well as his staying power, that he was able to take the buffeting in his stride and still outrun two high-class rivals who had enjoyed an easier time of things up front.

    Despite that tough race, he will line up a relatively fresh horse having run just three times in the last 14 months. The ground won't be an issue either, even if there's plenty of rain, as he's got top-notch form on soft as well as good.

    With the Jonjo O'Neill camp leaning towards the Melling Chase for Albertas Run, it will be interesting to see if this first try at three miles will bring about the necessary improvement from Medermit.

    Alan King has been saying all season that he believes the grey will stay and it was only in the last few days before Cheltenham that he decided to go for the Ryanair rather than the Gold Cup.

    A bigger worry with Medermit though is the prospect of him reproducing his best form post-Festival. At this meeting last year he appeared to run a bit flat despite finishing second to Wishfull Thinking, while in 2009 he followed up his Supreme Novices' Hurdle near-miss with a disappointing fifth (started favourite) behind Noble Alan in the Scottish Champion Hurdle.

    Burton Port, stablemate of the selection, would be a big danger at his best but had a hard race when finishing fourth in the Gold Cup, having been off the bridle from some way out, and a bold show in that race has proved a bit of a death knell where this event is concerned with the likes of Kauto Star, Denman and Imperial Commander all suffering short-priced defeats.

    Nacarat and What A Friend, the two most recent winners of this, retain enough ability to go in again if the top-rated horses run below par, while Hunt Ball is sure to have his supporters after his remarkable romp through the handicap ranks. This is an altogether different level though and horses untested in Graded company don't usually feature on the 'Bowl' roll of hunour.

  4. #24
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    I think Barry prefers the other one

    BURTON HAS A BIG SHOT BUT I'VE GONE WITH THEATRE IN THE BOWL

    Itís the first of three cracking days action up at Aintree where Iíve got a quality book of rides, topped of my a serious chance in the big one on Saturday, Shakalakaboomboom.

    One of the pleasant problems that comes with riding for such a powerful trainer as Nicky Henderson is when the top-class horses clash.

    You can canvass all the opinions going, seek the best advice, but in the final analysis itís down to me, right or wrong.

    And Iíve had that problem in two of the races on this first day, the Betfred Bowl and the Silver Cross Handicap Hurdle.

    It was not an easy decision between RIVERSIDE THEATRE and Burton Port in the Betfred Bowl (3.05).

    Iíve ridden both, know them well and although I was always going to lean towards Riverside Theatre, there was not a lot in it.

    Burton Port might just have had a little ďbounceĒ when he was a solid fourth in the Cheltenham Gold Cup and although Iíve not sat on him since I am getting very good reports of his recent homework.

    The slower ground will definitely play to his strengths and while I know there are nine other runners in the race I have absolutely no doubt that heís my biggest danger Ė thereís only 4lb between them on official ratings and it could be much closer than that.

    As for Riverside Theatre, it was a credit to his courage that he won the Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham.

    Iím not sure people are right when they say that the track might not suit him.

    He didnít jump the first two very quickly and Iím more inclined to think that he could just have ďbouncedĒ slightly on his second run back from a year off having won so well at Ascot previously and was maybe a little flat.

    He certainly didnít travel anywhere as well as he can.
    Medermit was three lengths behind at Ascot and only a length off us at Cheltenham so that tells you something Ė and heís in the mix, too. The step up in trip should help him.

    Although this is my ladís first try at an extended three miles, he stayed on well to be third over three in the King George VI Chase last season.

    My decision on rides in this race was a short head and it wouldnít surprise me if that was the distance between them at the finish.

    It was a tough call with the ground possibly favouring Burton Port.

  5. #25
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    Burton Port might just have had a little “bounce” when he was a solid fourth in the Cheltenham Gold Cup and although I’ve not sat on him since I am getting very good reports of his recent homework.
    National Antepost backers will be in tears.

  6. #26
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    Simon Holt in Burton Port camp.


    The Betfred Bowl is the feature contest on the first day of the John Smith's Grand National meeting at Aintree and Riverside Theatre comes here after coming out on top in a thrilling finish to the Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham.
    He now steps up in distance to three miles and one furlong and has run well over the trip before as he chased home Long Run in the King George back in 2010 but I suppose there is a slight question mark as he has never won at the distance.
    I think this race can be solved on the grounds of stamina and while you are taking a chance with Riverside Theatre, Medermit and the hugely improved Hunt Ball, one horse who is guaranteed to stay is Burton Port with Tony McCoy in the saddle.
    He very rarely runs a bad race and came back from a long lay-off to chase home Long Run at Newbury before finishing fourth in the Cheltenham Gold Cup next time out. That may have come a bit quickly for him after the lay-off and with the month in between Cheltenham and Aintree, that is going to help Burton Port. So if there are any stamina deficiencies in Riverside Theatre and some of the other horses mentioned, then Burton Port could be the one to collect.

  7. #27
    Another Cheltenham winner who appears to have an Aintree prize at his mercy, is Riverside Theatre in the Betfred Bowl. The Nicky Henderson-trained chaser just touched off Albertas Run and Medermit in the Ryanair Chase, in one of the week’s best finishes at Cheltenham.

    There had been fears that Riverside Theatre might have fallen victim to the ‘bounce’ factor, the inexplicable trend for a horse who runs exceptionally well after a long lay-off to flop on his next outing.

    In fact, Riverside Theatre kept finding more and more under Barry Geraghty to consolidate his burgeoning reputation.

  8. #28
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    Sam Turner copies Fat Jockey

    WHAT A FRIEND (3.05)
    Winner of the Betfred Bowl two years ago, WHAT A FRIEND has barely jumped a fence in anger this term after his early exit from the Gold Cup. He is reunited with Ruby Walsh who is 2-4 aboard Sir Alex Ferguson’s chaser.

  9. #29
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    Will Hayler another one copying FJ ...looks like a Charge now

    3.05 Unsighted by early scrimmaging, What A Friend got no further than the second fence in last month's Cheltenham Gold Cup where he took a heavy fall. But caught quickly, he barely had time to break into a gallop and comes into this contest a fresher horse than many of his rivals. His proven stamina will come into play if, as seems likely, the field set off at a decent gallop.

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