Horses which double up at Aintree after winning at Cheltenham are a rare breed but it is hard to see the Champion Hurdler Buveur D’Air spoiling an unblemished season in the Betway Aintree Hurdle when the Grand National meeting gets underway today.
Even though it is his first attempt at two and a half miles it is not expected to be a problem.
“Last year after Cheltenham we thought we needed to go two and a half miles with him,” explained Nicky Henderson.
“We only stayed at two because it looked a bit easier than the two and a half mile race with Yorkhill in it.”
Likewise it is hard to see the tough Defi de Seuil being beaten by either Flying Tiger or Divin Bere, first and second in the Fred Winter, in the Doom Bar Anniversary Hurdle though both of them deserve a crack at him.
Like last year Cue Card is back for another Betway Bowl following a fall in the Gold Cup. He would be a popular winner but he faces a tough task against Ryanair fourth Empire of Dirt now that Gordon Elliott’s 10-year-old is back over three miles.
However if you fancy the Irish raider then a sporting bet at the prices has to be Venetia Williams’s improving seven-year-old Aso who finished a length and half in front of Empire of Dirt at Cheltenham.
In the Randox Health Foxhunters the fresh and in-form Loch Ba can give his relatively inexperienced owner-rider James Jackson-Stops a dream introduction to Aintree by mixing it with On The Fringe and Pacha Du Polder.