Saphir Du Rheu Favourite For Mildmay Novices Chase

Grand National Meeting

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Published: 09/04/2015
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Nine novices go to post for the Grade One Mildmay Novices` Chase on the second day of Aintree`s Grand National Festival. The short priced favourite to take home the 3m, 1f event is Paul Nicholls` Saphir Du Rheu, the six-year-old looking to follow in the hoof-prints of such former winners as 2012`s Silviniaco Conti, 2013`s Dynaste and 2014`s Holywell. The Stewart family owned charge can be backed at 6/4 at bet365 and various other bookmakers.

Saphir Du Rheu failed to justify favouritism in the Cheltenham Festival`s World Hurdle though did not embarrass himself when coming second to Warren Greatrex`s surprise package Cole Harden. Ridden by stable jockey Sam Twiston-Davies, Saphir Du Rheu picked up in the closing stages but couldn`t overturn a three length disadvantage.

Despite this being the third time the sometimes hair-raising jumper has failed to justify his position as market leader this season, his World Hurdle finish shows that he should have the class to take down a decidedly inferior field. Favourites also have a solid recent record in the Mildmay, two of the last three triumphing in front of the Aintree crowd.

Whilst this will be the horse`s first ride around the Liverpool track, he has previous good form at Kempton, this success on a flat course suggesting that he should take well to Aintree. He took home the listed Lanzarote by six lengths when top weight as a 145 rated hurdler though his only chase at the track ended unceremoniously, hitting the turf early on.

Should the conditions be soft enough tomorrow, this should be Saphir Du Rheu`s race to lose.

The horse`s nearest market rival is his stablemate Irish Saint, this horse taking the step up to over 3m for the first time. There is a confidence that the Johnny De La Hay owned charge will perform well at this longer trip and he can be backed at 11/2 at a number of bookies.

Irish Saint comes off the back of a defeat in the Festival`s JLT Novices` Chase, though Vautour was such an easy winner in that race Pegasus himself would have been unable to catch him. With this scratched, his debut seasonal form looks much better, claiming three wins - one at Grade Two level - as well as a remote second place in Sandown`s Scilly Isles Grade One.

Though Irish Saint has appeared at this event twice as a hurdler, the concern is that he may not be a Spring type. The six-year-old should have been much better than the third place he picked up in the 2013 renewal of the 2m Grade One juvenile hurdle whilst he tanked, though when unfancied, in the next season`s Aintree Hurdle.

Could this longer distance help him out? Possibly and he won`t get a better opportunity to improve his Aintree form than on conditions that are bound to suit.

Carole`s Destrier, ridden by AP McCoy, is the horse the market says will be the one best placed to spoil the Nicholls party. Neil Mulholland`s charge is the third highest rated in the race and is a stalwart at this distance with a trio of victories in his debut chasing season.

Being out of Kayf Tara, this seven-year-old should stay all day. Mr consistency with two wins out of his last two over this distance, there may well be value here at 13/2 at bet365, Betvictor and william hill. The best of the rest may well be 9/1 (bet365, Beyvictor, paddy Power) shot Ainsi Fideles for David Pipe and Simon Munir and Carraig Mor at 14/1 (bet365, betway, Skybet, paddy Power).

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