Aintree Friday tips: Highway One O Two, Cobblers Dream, First Street, Ahoy Senor, Gentleman At Arms, Duke Of Bronte

2m4f 20 Years Together, Alder Hey & Aintree Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) (GBB Race) (Class 1) (4yo+)

A non-runner when put up at Ascot earlier this year, HIGHWAY ONE O TWO is worth an each-way bet in the opener. His Lanzarote Hurdle form – for which he only went up 1lb – has been franked by the winner COBBLERS DREAM running second in the Martin Pipe, and his prominent racing style will give him the best chance of hitting there frame at rather generous odds. The step up to intermediate trips has transformed his form and he remains competitively handicapped off 134. Cobblers Dream merits backing too, as he’s only gone up 4lb since Cheltenham and is in the form of his life. 

1pt win Cobblers Dream @8/1, 13:45 Aintree, Friday

1pt win Highway One O Two @16/1, 13:45 Aintree, Friday

2m½f (2m103y) Betway Top Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) (GBB Race) (Class 1) (4yo+)

It’s hard not to like Aucunrisque as he tries hard and keeps winning, but after six starts over timber you’d be making a mockery of the handicap system by expecting him to improve the stone required to match Nicky Henderson’s duo. Willie Mullins sends over El Fabiolo and you’d have to think he would have run at Cheltenham if he was good enough to beat Supreme second Jonbon, who sets the standard. The value in this race is surely FIRST STREET who, unlike his stablemate, has earned his mark running in the best two mile handicaps in Britain. Official ratings have him Jonbon’s equal, and whilst Jonbon is the most likely winner here, First Street is a strong stayer with a sharp turn of foot. The County Hurdle form has a rock solid look to it with Greatwood winner and subsequent Scottish Champion Hurdle second in behind, and Colonel Mustard – second to Jonbon and third to Sir Gerhard earlier this season – running right up to form.

1pt win First Street @4/1, 14:20 Aintree, Friday

3m1f (3m210y) (Mildmay) Betway Mildmay Novices’ Chase (Grade 1) (GBB Race) (Class 1) (5yo+)

An excellent race despite four runners as they’re all Grade 1 winners and have chances. L’Homme Presse won the old RSA easily at Cheltenham and looks the class act here, but this race will present a completely different scenario for him. He’s been doing his winning on undulating tracks often on easy ground that reward slick jumping, but Aintree is relentlessly flat and I can’t shake the feeling that AHOY SENOR – who wasn’t beaten far at Cheltenham – will be seen to much better effect here. Dryer ground is a plus and his galloping style suits the course, where he won the Grade 1 Sefton from Bravemansgame last season. His jumping isn’t as slick as the other two but said ground and no undulations will help that to no end, and he looks the value at 13/2. Bravemansgame arrives the fresh horse and has Ahoy Senor’s measure from Kempton, but this is a furlong further and far less of a jumping test so I couldn’t back him with confidence. 

1pt win Ahoy Senor @13/2, 14:55 Aintree, Friday

3m½f (3m149y) Cavani Menswear Sefton Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) (GBB Race) (Class 1) (4yo+)

My inkling is this race could produce an upset as there doesn’t look to be a star at the top of the market. Banbridge is not Galopin Des Champs 2.0 so the 3/1 quotes look short, although Gelino Bello could be the class act – relatively short quotes put me off a bet, though. It’s rare to see a Stuart Edmunds runner in a Grade 1 and GENTLEMAN AT ARMS looks value at 16/1 – he’s bigger on the exchange. His Sydney Banks form looks solid, he looks progressive and he’s unexposed at staying trips so is worth a small bet. As is Dan Skelton’s DUKE OF BRONTE, a 99 rated flat horse who bolted up last time out. Skelton clearly likes him and he too is unexposed at this type of test. Throwing him into a Grade 1 on just his third start is punchy, so I’ll roll the dice at 50/1 on the Betfair Exchange. 

0.5pts win Gentleman At Arms @18/1, 16:40 Aintree, Thursday

0.5pts win Duke Of Bronte @33/1, 16:40 Aintree, Thursday

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