There are some cracking races on the Friday card and the Melling Chase features Queen Mother Champion Chase winner Finian’s Rainbow.
3.05 Melling Chase
The going is likely to be good to soft for this 2 mile 4 furlong contest, with Finian’s Rainbow reappearing at Aintree just a few weeks after dramatically winning the Queen Mother at the Cheltenham Festival.
We will never know whether the nine-year-old would have touched off Sizing Europe had the two horses jumped the final fence, although it is clear that the Nicky Henderson charge will take some beating in this race and can be backed at 11/10.
Albertas Run narrowly missed out on a second Ryanair victory at Cheltenham although the 11-year-old ran his heart out and is available at 10/3, with question marks over whether Finian’s Rainbow will get the trip.
Kauto Stone fell in the Queen Mother and has the chance to prove himself again here, although Poquelin is preferred by Ruby Walsh and is slightly shorter at odds of 7/1. Wishfull Thinking also lines up again after that nasty fall at the Festival which saw jockey Richard Johnson fall into the rail.
3.40 Topham Chase
Thirty-one horses are currently entered for the Topham Chase and it could be that a big test of stamina is required for this two mile five furlong contest which sees Tartak carrying the top weight.
The Tim Vaughan-trained horse is a 20/1 chance to win the race after finishing fifth behind Salut Flo and three others in the Byrne Group Plate, although it’s a big ask with an addition 11 stone and 12 pounds on his back.
The race favourite looks likely to be Triangular, who is currently available at 8/1 and recently won a competitive Handicap Chase at Newbury which saw the Tom George horse oblige at odds of 9/2.
Little Josh is another expected to run well in the Topham despite a disappointing season which saw the 10-year-old finish last in last month’s Ryanair Chase although he was up against some classy animals that day.
It is a wide open contest and we like the look of Buffalo Bob to return to winning ways after finishing seventh at Haydock recently. His previous run saw the nine-year-old win on soft ground at Chepstow and he clearly will love the course if it starts getting muddy.