11th April 2012
Grand National Meeting Betting: Another pay day for Nicholls as Big Bucks goes for record win at Aintree
2.00 Aintree: BGC Partners Liverpool Hurdle (Grade 1) (3m110yds)
The first race of the three day Grand National meeting at Aintree is a Grade 1 Hurdle over three miles and features the champion of the staying division over the last four years Big Bucks who is going for his seventeenth win on the trot which will break the all time record for a National Hunt horse and surpass the mark set by Sir Ken back in the 1950’s. Bookmakers Stan James are taking no chances and have him at 1/4 to land the Liverpool Hurdle for the fourth year in succession.
The 9yo trained by Paul Nicholls looked as good as ever when winning at the Cheltenham Festival last month and has only seven rivals here including two stable companions in Tidal Bay and Poungach. The former is now an 11yo and has had three runs since being switched from the Howard Johnson yard at the end of last season. He’s an enigmatic character and is capable of running a good race on his day. The younger Poungach is interesting being relatively unexposed with only four runs over hurdles in his career. He won over 2m6f at Sandown in December and then followed that up with a fair second to Oscar Whisky at Cheltenham. He could well improve for the step up in trip but still has 20lbs to find with Big Bucks on official ratings.
The bookies make Smad Place of Alan King’s the main danger after his cracking third in the World Hurdle, he was beaten over 8 lengths that day and was attempting the trip for the first time so could improve for the experience but was running on past tired rivals that day and this quicker track may not suit him as much and it’s unlikely he will be good enough to topple the champion on these terms. The reliable Restless Harry has another crack at a Grade 1 race, he’s finished behind Big Bucks four times now and looks like doing so again although he has never ran at Aintree. He was a disappointing 11th behind Cape Tribulation at The Festival and is running for a bit of place money here.
Crack Away Jack has his first outing for Tom George having moved from the Nicholls camp recently and interesting that they have immediately switched back to hurdles after a failed attempt over fences. He will need to find the form of three years ago to get involved in this company. The final two in the line up are Across The Bay and Won In The Dark; they have no chance on form although the latter was third here last year so likes the track.
It’s near impossible to oppose the favourite and a little each way on Tidal Bay could be the answer for a sporting bet. Some bookies are betting without Big Bucks and Poungach at 4/1 looks generous enough for an interest.
1pt EW Tidal Bay 18/1 Skybet
1pt Poungach ‘W/O Big Bucks’ 4/1 Bet365
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Author: Ray Singpost