They race at the home of the Grand National on Sunday and with the Old Roan Chase the feature, Racing Post tipster Graeme Rodway is here to reveal his best bets at Aintree.
The Jewson Widnes Vieux Lion Rouge Veterans’ Handicap Chase (2.05) is the eighth leg of the ever-popular veteran series and the back-in-form Minellacelebration looks a sound bet. Minellacelebration has form figures reading 121144 over course and distance and he bounced back to form when landing the sixth leg of this series at Fakenham in April off 6lb lower.
He is back up to a mark of 133, but has been rated in the 150s at his peak and is still well handicapped. It’s less than a year since he was racing off ratings in the 140s for Katy Price. He returns from 188 days off the track, but has a good record when fresh. Minellacelebration has recorded most of his 11 career victories after long breaks and this is the time to catch him. Regular rider Ben Poste is on board and there is plenty to like about Minellacelebration here.
The Grade 2 Jewson St Helens Old Roan Limited Handicap Chase (2.40) is always one of the early season highlights and Hitman appears to have been set aside for this target this season. Hitman found only the top-class Fakir D’Oudairies too good when second in the Grade 1 Melling Chase over course and distance and a reproduction of that run will be good enough.
The selection regularly mixes it in the top grade, with placed efforts in the Tingle Creek and the 2021 Manifesto Novices’ Chase all on his CV and the Manifesto is also over course and distance. That highlights Hitman’s apparent liking for this Flat, left-handed and sharp circuit. He has had wind surgery since his last run and Nicholls can be trusted to have Hitman at his peak on his first run for 198 days. If Hitman is going to win any race this season, it’s this one.
The Jewson Southport, Bispham Handicap Hurdle (3.15) is a competitive race, but it looks worth taking a chance on the once-useful Wilde About Oscar returning to the peak of his form. Trainer Dan Skelton often targets this meeting and Wilde About Oscar was a course-and-distance winner at this track a couple of seasons ago, so he likes it here.
He is now 9lb lower than when recording his last success at Uttoxeter in March last year and, while he has lost his way since, he does return from a 232-day absence for a yard that is adept at getting one ready after a break.
There is every chance he will be rejuvenated by a layoff. Wilde About Oscar handles plenty of cut in the ground, so any rain will definitely be in his favour, and Harry Skelton is booked to ride. It takes a leap of faith to support him after so many disappointing runs, but he might take this field apart if he can recapture his old form.Safer Gambling Week (17-23 October) – Let’s talk about safer gambling. Click here for more information on independent resources. Gamble Responsibly.