Horse Racing Sports News

1.45 Aintree Tips: Take a chance on Notlongtillmay

It’s Grand National day at Aintree, and we’re going to kick things off by looking at the opening race of the day, which is the EFT Systems Maghull Novices’ Chase.

Grand National Aintree
Photo by Icon Sport

All about Jonbon

The opening race at Aintree is going to be about whether or not Jonbon is on a going day. Nicky Henderson’s entrant didn’t come up with the goods at the Cheltenham Festival, finishing second to the very impressive El Fabiolo, but such form isn’t exactly anything to be worried about ahead of this race.

Here, the mount of Aidan Coleman only has four rivals to face and none of them are of the level of his Cheltenham conqueror, that’s for sure. The form of Jonbon’s win at Warwick, the re-opposing Calico, suggests that he ought to resume winning ways today, as do his previous wins over the larger obstacles.

Is there a potential upset?

It’s always nice to make a case for something other than the odds-on favourite, though on this occasion, that’s hard to do. Calico runs for the Skelton’s but that runner was well beaten by Jonbon a few months ago and is very, very unlikely to reverse the form, despite taking a step in the right direction when getting up late in the day to win at Doncaster last month.

Fusain is unexposed and comes here off the back of a clear-cut and easy victory at Catterick recently,  but that was a mere three-runner Class 3 affair. This is a different challenge and frankly, he looks well out of it on ratings alone.

Henry de Bromhead is not often a trainer to discount, though he lacks ammunition here. Marvel De Cerisy won a novice event at Punchestown in November, but has twice failed to move forward since, most recently finishing midfield in the Magners Plate at Cheltenham. He won’t be beating Jonbon on that evidence.

That leaves us with Notlongtillmay, who realistically is the only one with the potential to give the red-hot fav something to think about here.

Unexposed and progressive, the gelding looked a good prospect when scoring at Musselburgh in February, while he proved that he was still on the up when finishing second behind Stage Star in the Turners at Cheltenham, beating the 162-rated Mighty Potter in the process. Such form is not to be ignored. He probably needs to pull out a bit more to win this, but it’s not out of the question.

For me, and anyone else with eyes, Jonbon is the most likely winner of this, make no mistake about it, though I can’t get excited about him at odds of 3/10. If you fancy a bet in the first, why not chance Notlongtillmay, who has certainly been going the right way and has already finished ahead of one top novices this spring.

Best Bet: Notlongtillmay @ 5/1

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