Horse Racing Tips: Matt Hulmes’ best bets for Day 1 at Aintree

 | 10th April | 

6 mins read

Shishkin Aintree

Three brilliant days on Merseyside await us horse racing fans, with the Grand National on Saturday the centrepiece.

Before that, however, we have some top-class action to enjoy with four Grade 1s on Thursday afternoon - and I've got some horse racing tips for Day 1 at Aintree.

Horse Racing Tips for Day 1 at Aintree

  • 13:45 - Grey Dawning @ 10/11
  • 14:20 - Kargese @ 10/3
  • 14:55 - Shishkin @ 11/4
  • 15:30 - Marie's Rock e/w @ 14/1
  • 16:05 - Benny's King @ 8/1

13:45 - Grey Dawning @ 10/11

Just five line up for the meeting's opener which sees the Turners 1-2 - Grey Dawning and Ginny’s Destiny - clash for the third time this season, with the score currently tied at 1-1.

It also represents the side story to this week, being the trainers' title race between Paul Nicholls and Dan Skelton.

There's an argument that GREY DAWNING is unlucky not to be two-for-two having made a bad mistake late on when they met in December, but he put that right by winning at the Festival, running down Ginny's Destiny in the home straight.

The assured stamina of the grey will be a big positive here and he can get favourite backers and the Skeltons off to the best start.

Il Etait Temps probably had an easier race when not knocked about to finish third in the Arkle behind Gaelic Warrior. He was a good second to that rival in heavy ground over Christmas and is respected for the dominant Mullins/Townend combo.

Grey Dawning to win the 13.45 Aintree at 10-11

14:20 - Kargese @ 10/3

The Triumph Hurdle was marred by the absence of Sir Gino, with the Nicky Henderson yard under a huge cloud, but their loss could be Aintree’s gain if he turns up in the same form as when destroying some good juveniles on Trials Day at Cheltenham.

He could be special and he won on heavy ground on his French debut, but at the likely odds and with a small question mark about well-being, the call has to be KARGESE.

She is such a likeable filly. Tough as teak as she showed when winning at the Dublin Racing Festival before an excellent second in the Triumph, looking the winner heading to the last but idling late on. The speedier track here will suit and she gets a valuable 7lbs off the favourite.

Kalif Du Berlais is another with a chance, but his Kempton form was let down by the runner-up who was well beat at Fairyhouse - but he's another who will handle conditions.

14:55 - Shishkin @ 11/4

Although I have gone against Nicky Henderson and the Donnellys in the previous race, I'm siding with SHISHKIN to retain his Aintree Bowl crown.

His record fresh is excellent and he's impressed at the last two Grand National Festivals. He will be fine on the ground, is the top-rated horse in the field and when on-song he's Britain’s best staying chaser. He can fend off the Irish challenge of Gold Cup runner-up Gerri Colombe and National Hunt Chase hero Corbetts Cross.

The former bounced back to form in the Blue Riband to give Galopin Des Champs the most to think about and he won at this meeting last season and will appreciate underfoot conditions, but I’m not sure his chance is much better than Shishkin's as reflected by the prices.

Corbetts Cross loved the marathon trip in the Festival's longest race but that was just his second win in five attempts over fences and this is the novice's toughest test to date.

Shishkin to win the 14.55 Aintree at 11-4

15:30 - Marie's Rock e/w @ 14/1

This is not a vintage renewal of the Aintree Hurdle in my book.

The Irish have a strong hand with Bob Olinger and Impaire Et Passe at the head of the market, but neither are bombproof and they take up a huge chunk of the market.

Bob Olinger looked a star in the making three years ago but didn’t really kick on. He has been better this season but this will be his toughest test, while Impaire Et Passe maybe seen to better effect upped in trip again here after seeing the rear end of State Man this season. He also finished five lengths behind Bob Olinger recently so has work to do.

Nicky Henderson has saddled four of the last six winners and runs two against the field. Luccia ran a career-best to finish third in the Champion Hurdle after being supplemented and was a small highlight for the team during a torrid period. She should handle conditions but stepping up to this trip is the question mark. James Bowen keeps that ride, but I’ll chance an each way play on MARIE’S ROCK.

Marie's Rock winning the 2022 Mares' Hurdle

She has Nico De Boinville in the plate and despite finishing seven lengths behind Bob Olinger on New Years Day, she bounced back against her own sex at Doncaster and you can put a line through Cheltenham.

She was second in the Liverpool Hurdle last year, will handle conditions and stays well, so she looks a big price at a double-figure price to hit the frame in the hope all eight face the starter.

The enigma that is Langer Dan has always found Graded level beyond him, but it is interesting connections have a go in the hunt for prize money and he is undoubtedly a spring horse.

Marie's Rock each-way for the 15.30 Aintree at 14-1

16:05 - Benny's King @ 8/1

Considering all the top-class PTP action over in Ireland, 2016 was the last time this prize left on a ferry.

The visitors are once again well represented, with Cheltenham runner-up Its On The Line (fell at Becher’s in this last year), stablemate Romeo Magico (two from three under rules in Ireland) and Willie Mullins’ useful Annamix (finished third in the 2022 Topham) among others at bigger prices.

I fancy the British to come out on top again with last year’s runner-up BENNY’S KING.

The 13-year-old failed to finish in two starts back in handicap company but bumped into promising youngster Regatta De Blanc at Taunton and then Cheltenham winner Sine Nomine at Wetherby. He met nothing of that calibre when destroying Hardline by 23 lengths in heavy ground at Leicester and looks set for another day in the sun (or rain I expect!).

Its On The Line and Time Leader had very hard races at Cheltenham and are taken on. Haydock’s Walrus winner, Spyglass Hill, was formerly with Henry De Bromhead but made a good start to life in the stable of Regan Pallas in Wales and James King is a strong jockey booking.

Benny's King to win the 16.05 Aintree at 8-1

Find more Horse Racing Tips here at Betfred Insights

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