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Aintree Grand National Day One
Fri, Mar 28th, 2014

28th March 2014 - The three-day Crabbie's Grand National Festival begins with a bang on Grand Opening Day, Thursday, April 3, with a terrific seven-race card featuring four Grade One contests.

The highlight of the day for chasers is the £150,000 Betfred Bowl (2.30pm) over three miles and a furlong, which could see last year's winner First Lieutenant (Mouse Morris, 7/2 with Betfred) lock horns with impressive Ryanair Chase scorer Dynaste (David Pipe, 3/1) and King George VI Chase hero Silviniaco Conti (Paul Nicholls, 7/4 favourite).

Also among the 14 entries is improving six-year-old Argocat (16/1), who returned to form with a battling three-quarters of a length victory over Turban in the Grade Two Red Mills Chase over two and a half miles at Gowran Park on February 15.

The Tom Taaffe-trained six-year-old captured a pair of Grade Two events last season, including over three miles at Limerick in April, but took a heavy fall at the final fence on his seasonal return at Down Royal on November 2. He was only seen once prior to his victory at Gowran Park, coming home sixth in a Grade Two at Thurles on January 16.

Taaffe reported: "Argocat's preparation has gone very well and he definitely runs in the Betfred Bowl.

"I have to be pleased with his performance at Gowran because, on ground too heavy for him, he put up a very brave performance in what was effectively his second run of the season.

"He had a very bad fall at Down Royal in November and it took him a long time to get over that as he broke a number of ribs and different things.

"It was our preferred choice to skip Cheltenham and go straight to Aintree with him. He's only six so I would be hoping there is a bit of improvement in him. He won over three miles at Limerick, so the trip should be OK, and better ground will definitely help."

Other notable entries include the Philip Hobbs-trained pair of Menorah (12/1), who was second last year, and Wishfull Thinking (16/1), plus Grade One scorer Roi Du Mee (Gordon Elliott, 33/1).

Betfred Bowl -Betfred bet: 7/4 Silviniaco Conti, 3/1 Dynaste, 7/2 First Lieutenant, 12/1 Menorah, 14/1 Unioniste, 16/1 Argocat, Boston Bob, Wishfull Thinking, 25/1 Toner d'Oudaries, 33/1 Houblon Des Obeaux, Medermit, Rathlin, Roi Du Mee, 66/1 Carruthers

Each-Way 1/5 1-2-3

2.00pm £100,000 Injured Jockeys Fund 50th Anniversary 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle (Grade 1), 2m 1f

Tiger Roll (Gordon Elliott) headlines 22 entries following a decisive three and a quarter length success in the JCB Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.

The son of Authorized could renew rivalry with Kentucky Hyden (Nicky Henderson) and Guitar Pete (Dessie Hughes), who finished second and third at Cheltenham, while Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle winner Hawk High (Tim Easterby) and the impressive Activial (Harry Fry), who skipped Cheltenham following his victory at Kempton Park in February, are also engaged.

3.05pm £200,000 Doom Bar Aintree Hurdle (Grade 1), 2m 4f

This year's Grade One Doom Bar Aintree Hurdle looks set to be a superb renewal, with Ladbrokes World Hurdle runner-up Annie Power (Willie Mullins) and The New One (Nigel Twiston-Davies), who was an unlucky third in the Stan James Champion Hurdle, heading 12 entries.

Dual Stan James Champion Hurdle winner Hurricane Fly (Willie Mullins), who has 19 Grade One victories to his name, has also been entered along with Rock On Ruby (Harry Fry), who captured the Cheltenham showpiece in 2012.

Grandouet (Nicky Henderson), Melodic Rendezvous (Jeremy Scott), Diakali (Willie Mullins), Ptit Zig (Paul Nicholls) and Grumeti (Alan King) have all been successful in Grade One company, while Whisper (Nicky Henderson) landed the Coral Cup on his latest appearance. Ladbrokes World Hurdle sixth Rule The World (Mouse Morris) and Grade Two scorer Irish Saint (Paul Nicholls) complete those engaged.

3.40pm £40,000 Crabbie's Fox Hunters' Chase, 2m 5f 110y

Tartan Snow sprung a 100/1 shock in last year's Crabbie's Fox Hunters' Chase and the Stuart Coltherd-trained 14-year-old features among 26 six-day confirmations for this year's race, which is run over the Grand National fences.

Mossey Joe (Enda Bolger) captured the Champion Foxhunters at Stratford in June, and a strong Irish challenge may also include Warne (Brian Hamilton), who was recently purchased by Robert Waley-Cohen.

4.15pm £80,000 Silver Cross Red Rum Handicap Chase (Grade 3), 2m

A total of 29 entries in the Silver Cross Red Rum Handicap Chase include the first three home from 12 months ago - Oiseau De Nuit (Colin Tizzard), Tanks For That (Nicky Henderson) and Kie (Donald McCain).

Kid Cassidy (Nicky Henderson) beat subsequent BetVictor Queen Mother Champion Chase victor Sire De Grugy in a Listed Chase at Cheltenham in November, while promising novice Arnaud (Charles Byrnes) was just touched off in Grade Two company at Doncaster in January.

4.50pm £90,000 Pinsent Masons Manifesto Novices' Chase (Grade 1), 2m 4f

Western Warhorse (David Pipe), who stormed to victory in the Racing Post Arkle Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, could bid for more Grade One glory in the Pinsent Masons Manifesto Novices' Chase, which has attracted 18 entries.

Oscar Whisky (Nicky Henderson) fell at the first in the JLT Novices' Chase at The Festival but the nine-year-old has posted a pair of Grade One victories at Aintree in the Doom Bar Aintree Hurdle.

Uxizandre (Alan King), Double Ross (Nigel Twiston-Davies), Felix Yonger (Willie Mullins) and Wonderful Charm (Paul Nicholls), who were second, third, fourth and fifth respectively in the JLT Novices' Chase, could all re-oppose while talented performers Dodging Bullets (Paul Nicholls) and Eduard (Nicky Richards) could also line up.

5.25pm £50,000 Dominican Republic Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3), 3m 110y

Grade One runner-up Salubrious (Paul Nicholls) and Battle Group (Johnny Farrelly), a dual winner at the Crabbie's Grand National Festival in 2013, head 60 contenders for the Grade Three Dominican Republic Handicap Hurdle.

Other notable entries include Meister Eckhart (Alan King), Trustan Times (Tim Easterby) and Riverside Theatre (Nicky Henderson), who has three Grade One victories to his name including the Ryanair Chase at the 2012 Cheltenham Festival.

Going

The going at Aintree is currently:

Mildmay Course - Good, Good to Soft in places.

Hurdle Course - Good to Soft, Good in places

Grand National Course - Good to Soft

Andrew Tulloch, Regional Head of Racing North West and Clerk of the Course, reported today: "The forecast is for conditions to warm up over the weekend.

"Moving into next week, conditions are predicted with a mixture of sunshine and showers expected.

"Conditions are where we went to be at the moment and the forecast conditions should enable us to maintain that."

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