Aintree – Old Roan Chase Preview
The National Hunt season is getting into top gear in the UK with top class action from Cheltenham and Aintree this weekend. The highlight at Liverpool on Sunday is the Monet’s Garden Old Roan Chase, a Grade 2 Limited Handicap over two and a half miles.
Duke Of Navan
The race is named in honour of the popular grey chaser Monet’s Garden, the winner of this race on three occasions for Nicky Richards. The Greystoke Trainer saddles Duke Of Navan here and would love to capture this valuable prize once again.
Duke Of Navan has won five of his fifteen starts, most recently beating Yorkist by six lengths at Ayr in April. He usually runs well fresh but is yet to race beyond two miles. This is one of the flattest tracks in the country so that will help him and Richards will have him in good shape for his seasonal debut.
Sound Investment is the early market leader, the winner of six of his nineteen races for Paul Nicholls. His last two victories have been over this distance at Sandown and Newbury and he should strip fitter for his outing over hurdles at Chepstow earlier this month.
Nicky Henderson saddles Rajdhani Express, the winner of the Topham Chase here in April. He and regular rider Sam Waley-Cohen left their rivals trailing by ten lengths on that occasion but he is now set to race of an 8lbs higher mark.
Johns Spirit is usually at his best in the early part of the season and has won three valuable handicaps at Cheltenham including the Paddy Power Gold Cup in 2013. He was beaten a head in that race last year and this is likely to put him straight for another tilt at the Grade 3 contest. He raced in Grade 1 company for the remainder of the season, finishing a remote third to Don Cossack here in the spring.
Last year’s winner Wishfull Thinking heads the waits for Philip Hobbs and Richard Johnson. He is racing off the same mark but it will be a remarkable achievement to win this at the age of twelve. Splash Of Ginge won a Grade 3 at Cheltenham in January but has lost his way since and was pulled up in the Topham.
Buywise looks the pick of the remainder for Evan Williams. He was fourth at the Cheltenham Festival and fifth at the Grand National meeting and also runs well fresh. He could be the each-way value in the race under Paul Moloney.
Duke Of Navan @9.0 Sportsbet
Buywise @8.50 Sportsbet
Each-way ¼ odds, 1,2,3