Aintree 2015 news round-up
Hurricane Fly swerves Aintree Hurdle challenge:
Champion Irish trainer Willie Mullins will rely upon Arctic Fire in the Doom Bar Aintree Hurdle on Thursday, April 9th, after deciding against running the legendary Hurricane Fly.
The pair finished second and third respectively behind stable companion Faugheen in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham last month, and after initially planning to run both in the Grade 1 contest Mullins has had a change of heart.
He said: “I was just happier to run Arctic Fire on his own. Hurricane Fly will go to Punchestown.”
Coral make Arctic Fire the 2/1 favourite, closely followed by the Jessica Harrington trained Jezki (5/2), who won last year’s Champion Hurdle but was only fourth in this season’s renewal.
The seven-year-old will relish the drying ground at the Merseyside venue and is 1-1 over the 2m 4f trip.
Rock On Ruby (3/1) is another big player for young trainer Harry Fry, while Nicky Henderson saddles Vaniteux and Volnay De Thaix.
Conti 11/4 to Bowl over rivals:
Silviniaco Conti will face six rivals in the Betfred Bowl at Aintree on Thursday, April 9th, and has been installed as the 11/4 second favourite with Coral to land back-to-back runnings of the contest.
The nine-year-old disappointed when favourite for last month’s Cheltenham Gold Cup and champion trainer Paul Nicholls is hoping his dual King George winner can get back to winning ways on Merseyside – just as he did 12 months ago after flopping at the Festival.
Trained by Jonjo O’Neill, Holywell was three places ahead of Silviniaco Conti when fourth in the Gold Cup and heads Coral’s betting at 7/4.
The eight-year-old was a 10 length winner of the Mildmay Novices’ Chase over course and distance at last year’s meeting and AP McCoy is set to take over in the saddle from Richie McLernon.
Ma Filleule, who won over the Grand National fences in last year’s Topham Chase, is next in the betting at 4/1 with Coral after signalling a return to form when an excellent second to Uxizandre in the Ryanair Chase.
The field is completed by course winner Menorah (8/1), Smad Place (12/1), Ballynagour (14/1) and Vukovar (25/1).
Un De Sceaux given Aintree go-ahead:
Stunning Arkle Trophy winner Un De Sceaux is set to run in the Doom Bar Maghull Novices’ Chase at Aintree on Grand National day, Saturday, April 11th.
The seven-year-old’s only defeat from 13 career starts came when he fell at Thurles on his chasing debut in November and he has since secured a hat-trick of victories, culminating in a brilliant front-running display at the Cheltenham Festival when slamming God’s Own by six lengths.
Trainer Willie Mullins said: “We’re keen to go there with him. I’m happy with the ground.”
Un De Sceaux could renew rivalry with Arkle runner-up God’s Own, the third home, Josses Hill, and the fourth-placed Vibrato Valtat.