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Grand National Festival: Grand Opening Day Betting Preview

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Grand National Festival: Grand Opening Day Betting Preview

The Randox Health Grand National Festival gets underway at Aintree tomorrow, with day one, Grand Opening Day, seeing the track play host to a number of Cheltenham Festival winners seeking to also light up Liverpool.

We had a very solid week at Cheltenham, picking out some well-priced winners, so let's hope for more of the same this week.

Here are the race-by-race selections for the first of the three-day meeting.

1.45pm G1 Manifesto Novices' Chase - Cloudy Dream 3/1

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Ran a cracker to finish six lengths behind Altior in the Arkle at Cheltenham last month. He stayed on really well that day under Brian Hughes and jumped superbly. The step up in trip should suit as he was doing his best work at the finish that day. I remember talking to both his jockey and trainer Malcolm Jefferson after that event and they were confident Aintree would play to his strengths.

Top Notch is a massive danger but he had a tough race when finishing a superb length to Yorkhill in the JLT Novices' Chase. I just think Cloudy Dream might have a touch of class and win the first race of the meeting.

2.20pm G1 Doom Bar Anniversary 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle - Defi Du Seuil 1/3.

Difficult to oppose the four-year-old son of Voix Du Nord here. Very impressive in all six of his starts in Britain, which culminated with a facile five length success in the JCB Triumph Hurdle last time, he rates as the one to beat and looks to be getting better with every race.

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He jumped and travelled like a top-class horse at Cheltenham last time and he can win this race before setting his sights on some major targets next season.

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2.50pm G1 Betway Bowl Chase - Cue Card 15/8

I just have a feeling this could be the son of King's Theatre's swansong. Arguably beaten when falling at the third-last fence in the Cheltenham Gold Cup for the second year in a row last time out, you could say he again didn't have a massively hard race there despite being under pressure as the race had not reached the business end. He won this race easily last year and whilst he is a year older, I still think he is capable of winning this quite renewal of the event.

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3.25pm G1 Betway Aintree Hurdle - Buveur D'Air 2/5

Tough to oppose the Champion Hurdle winner. Won well at Cheltenham and also won at this meeting last year after finishing third in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle. He has to prove as effective over this trip of two miles and four furlongs but I still think he takes all the beating in a race that sees him take on horses in My Tent Or Yours and The New One which he beat at Prestbury Park last time.

4.05pm Randox Health Foxhunters' Chase - On The Fringe 2/1 NAP

Did not run his best race in the Foxhunters at Cheltenham where he was only fourth, unable to quicken with the horses in front of him. He loves these fences and I think he will take a lot of beating despite being 12-years-old. Foxhunters winner Pacha Du Polder should arguably enjoy this trip more but the same notion can also be applied to Enda Bolger's son of Exit To Nowhere - he gets my support.

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4.40pm G3 Betway Red Rum Handicap Chase - Bun Doran 12/1 and Foxtail Hill 11/1.

I gave Tom George's charge for a novices' handicap chase at Cheltenham and he ran a belter to finish sixth. He jumped pretty well that day and the drop back in trip to two miles should really suit him.

I also gave Foxtail Hill for that event and he made a clumsy error and fell. If he has suffered no ill effects from that fall, he should arguably be pretty fresh, having not really had a tough race. Has a decent claimer on board and I would be disappointed if he could not attack his fences and make all over two miles which should allow him to get his rivals on the stretch in a race like this.

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5.15pm G2 Goffs Nickel Coin Mares' Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race - Shearling 6/1

Brian Ellison does well with his bumper horses and this four-year-old daughter of Rail Link has done nothing wrong in four starts, winning three and only just being unable to give weight all around at Wetherby in January when losing by a neck. She has the assistance of Richard Johnson today and she looks a real player.

3.15/1 Short Odds Fourfold

Defi Du Seuil (Win), Cue Card (Top 2 Finish), Buveur D'air (Win) and On The Fringe (Top 4 Finish)

84/1 Each Way Double

4.40pm - Foxtail Hill 11/1

5.15pm - Shearling 6/1

Words By: Danny Archer

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