1pt win Bellshill @10/1, 1pt win Tomngerry @16/1, 16:40 Aintree, Friday

Probably the weakest Grade 1 on Friday’s card at Aintree is the Grade 1 Sefton Novices’ Hurdle won last year by World Hurdle-winner Thistlecrack.

A field of 16 have come together devoid of any real lofty reputations, with the favourite Ballydine there almost entirely because of his narrow defeat Barters Hill – who had been ante-post favourite for this year’s Albert Bartlett most of the season.

Barters Hill got turned over at Cheltenham by Unowhatimeanharry as well as the second-placed Fagan.

Ballydine and Fagan are quite closely matched in the form-book with a line through a horse called Delusionsofgrandeur – who I liked enough to advise – as they’ve both beat him this season by similar distances.

Delusionsofgrandeur was last seen getting trounced by a horse running here, TOMNGERRY, who came out on top by over 40 lengths.

It’s a loose collateral form-line but even if he didn’t run his race that’s still a thorough thrashing and Tomngerry – who is unbeaten in five starts – might be a lot better than the 135 the handicapper has rated him.

Connections have obviously decided it’s worth a shot at Grade 1 level and he also steps up in trip, so he comes into the race totally unexposed and perhaps overpriced at 16/1.

There’s a disparity in his price amongst bookmakers and he’s as short as 10/1 in places, so I’m keen to chance him.

The each-way terms are dire in this race so it’ll have to be a win bet.

It’s remarkable how BELLSHILL is going to go off double-digit odds for this after he contested favouritism for the Supreme Novices’ and Neptune Novices’ hurdles at the Festival for most of the season.

He won the Grade 1 bumper at Punchestown last year so clearly has plenty of class, but for whatever reason has struggled to show it recently and showed no signs of improvement at the Cheltenham Festival.

This is a soft field though and with Ruby Walsh on board it’d be dangerous to overlook him at a very backable price.

He steps up to three miles for the first time but is by King’s Theatre, who has produced plenty of class stayers such as Cue Card and Balthazar King, so might take it in his stride.

1pt win Bellshill @10/1, 16:40 Aintree, Friday (WillHill)
1pt win Tomngerry @16/1, 16:40 Aintree, Friday (Paddy Power)

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