Horse Racing

3.00 Aintree Tips: Follow the favourite

Next up is the Turners Mersey Novices’ Hurdle, which is run over two miles and four furlongs. Will we see a winning favourite in this race for the third year in a row?

Grand National Aintree Tips
Photo by Icon Sport

Favourites go well in this

Let’s start out by saying that this has very much been a race for favourites in recent times. When it comes to the Turners Mersey Novices’ Hurdle, the market seems to get it right more often than not.

Last year, Three Stripe Life obliged at 5/2, while it a was the short-priced My Drogo who came home in front back in 2021. 2019 saw a rare blip from the favourite as Reserve Tank caused an upset at 20/1, but such happenings have been few and far between. Since 2012, only two favourites have failed to land the spoils.

Who is the favourite?

Many of the recent renewals of this race have seen a short-priced one at the head of the market, though that’s not likely to be the case here, as there are two vying for favouritism in the early betting.

The first of those is Dark Raven, who at the time of writing on the morning of the race, is a general 10/3 shot, though 7/2 is available in places. Somewhat strangely, Willie Mullins has had just one winner at this meeting so far, though that could very easily change here, and he appears to have quite a chunky chance with this runner.

The gelding has only run five times under rules, running just three times over hurdles. He won well on debut at Leopardstown in December, before stepping straight into graded company, where he finished a credible third behind Il Etait Temps. Last time out, he was no match for Marine Nationale or Facile Vega in the Supreme Novices, but he was far from discredited running in sixth in that prestigious race.

It bodes well that Inthepocket, who wasn’t far in front of him in the Supreme, got the job done at Aintree yesterday, and it would even be a little bit disappointing if Dark Raven doesn’t follow suit. He looks a promising type and ought to take lots of beating here.

Hermes Allen is the other contender for market supremacy, and he’s by no means a back number, though he disappointed when sent off the 9/4 favourite for the Ballymore at Cheltenham. It could be that he’s more suited to a track like Aintree, while he did impress prior to the festival, so he’s not to be discounted, though on recent evidence, he lacks the appeal of Dark Raven, who should go off as favourite, and as touched on above, those who go off as favourite for this race usually oblige.

Best Bet: Dark Raven @ 7/2

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