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Daryl Carter’s Best Bets – Thursday, 13th April

Top Tipster Daryl Carter has some confident picks for Day One at Aintree.

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Posted: 5.25pm April 11th (Odds correct at time posted)

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1.45 Aintree – BANBRIDGE (2.5pt win – 15/8 Bet365, 7/4 Will Hill, 6/4 generally)

BANBRIDGE saw the ground go against him at Cheltenham and pulled out as a non-runner. That could be a blessing in disguise as he now arrives here a fresher horse and off the back of a 68-day break – his record when off 50 days or more reads 211713. He blew out at this meeting in the Grade 1 Hurdle, but that could be easily excused because of a hard race just three weeks earlier at the Cheltenham Festival. Good ground will see him to the best effect today, and this distance is his optimal, highlighted by an excellent finishing effort at the DRF over 2m. He ticks all the boxes for this contest, and this speed track should play to his strengths. The time figures he recorded earlier in the season suggest he is certainly a 160 horse. Stage Star has dictated his last two outings in slow times to good effect under Harry Cobden and will be dangerous if allowed to do that again here. However, he had a hard race at the festival, and although there is an extra week between this meeting and the festival this year, he is not guaranteed to reproduce that performance. He looked better than he was thanks to some poor rides in behind in the Turners, and he must be taken on. Saint Roi is attractive but unproven over this distance and hardly hit the line hard in the Arkle to suggest he wants this trip, and Straw Fan Jack was left well behind at the festival and has plenty to find at this level. Visionarian ties in closely with Saint Roi but shouldn’t be good enough.

Racehorse Lotto Manifesto Novices’ Chase (Grade 1) (GBB Race)

2.55 Aintree – A PLUS TARD (2pt win – 9/2 generally)

A PLUS TARD, didn’t get the chance to give his running in the Gold Cup, having been badly hampered by a faller mid-race, but he travelled with zest there, and he wasn’t as bad as a result suggests. He has a genuine excuse for his Haydock flop (having been found to be unwell), and it’s too soon to write this horse off, given how good he was in the Gold Cup in 2022. He will appreciate the return to a sounder surface, and this looks there for the taking. Nothing finished better than Shishkin in the Ryanair all week, and the trip should be no issue, but that’s now two very hard races in a row, and his jumping was uncharacteristic bad in that contest. Usually, I would say he can’t jump that poorly again, and it was an effort to upgrade, but I feel something is not quite right still and for his first crack at three miles, he is short enough. Bravemansgame and Conflated are another two who had hard races last time out (extra week between Cheltenham and Aintree this year), with the former bouncing at this meeting last year on the back of his (non-runner visit to Cheltenham) and found Ahoy Senor too good here the year before. A Plus Tard looks like the one to bounce back, and there won’t be many better chances than this.

Alder Hey Aintree Bowl Chase (Grade 1) (GBB Race)

4.40 Aintree – DANCING ON MY OWN (2pt win – 9/1 generally) + HATCHER (1pt e/w – 20/1 Coral, 18/1 generally)

This is not Third Time Lucki’s course, and I have to be against him off this top weight. Douglas Talking is progressive but is now in far deeper waters, and his Sandown victory was against soft opposition. Pay The Piper hasn’t looked progressive this season, while Global Citizen was primed for a repeat bid in the Grand Annual. Grey Diamond is a horse I have a lot of time for, but I am not convinced this long home straight, and this course plays to his strengths – it gives horses plenty of time to get past. Hasankey had every chance at Warwick to score but again saw him finish tamely, and Before Midnight has shown signs of being on the downgrade, while Defan is interesting on his first visit outside of Ireland. HATCHER could go well here – he is usually primed for Ayr at the end of the season – it would be no surprise to see him put in a bold showing on the way there. He shaped in need of the run at Ascot 11 days ago, and the quick turnaround is an interesting move while his rider claims that all-important five pounds. He would have won if staying on his feet this time last year at Ayr off of 145 and is now effectively 20 lbs lower in the handicap. Backing him during the spring from April – July, sees his form figures of 3F1111741112f2. He could have a big say off of a reduced handicap rating, so he can’t be ignored.

The Last Day and DANCING ON MY OWN landed us a 1-2 in this race last year, but the factors this time around have been swung in the runner-up’s favour. The Last Day skipped Cheltenham last year with this as his ultimate target, while Dancing On My Own went and had a hard race on heavy ground in the Grand Annual. This time that is reversed. The Last Day went to Cheltenham for the first time and had a terrible experience, while connections of Dancing On My Own skipped the event and opted to come straight here for a repeat crack. Rachal Blackmore also now takes the ride and has campaigned on right-handed tracks again this season (jumps left). He is very unexposed in handicapping terms when getting his conditions, and he makes plenty of appeal to go one better in this race.

Close Brothers Red Rum Handicap Chase (Premier Handicap) (GBB Race)

Daryl Carter’s Best Bets

1.45 Aintree – BANBRIDGE (2.5pt win – 15/8 Bet365, 7/4 Will Hill, 6/4 generally)

2.55 – A PLUS TARD (2pt win – 9/2 generally)

4.40 Aintree – Dancing On My Own (2pt win – 9/1 generally) Hatcher (1pt e/w – 20/1 Coral, 18/1 generally)

Take a look at who Daryl is backing on the second day of the Grand National Festival, as he runs us through his strongest bets on Friday’s card: