SANDOWN'S Henry VIII Novices’ Chase is a cracking little contest featuring six classy embryo jumpers. ALLMANKIND (1.50), still only a four-year-old, was a very smart novice hurdler last season and was most impressive when making a winning start over the larger obstacles at Warwick.
Trainer Dan Skelton has hailed him a possible future star but this is an acid test, with the likes of useful Hitman, Eldorado Allen and Ga Law in opposition.
In the two-mile handicap hurdle, hot favourite Mister Coffey bids to follow-up his eye-catching course and distance victory in early November. The assessor has been fairly penal, imposing a 10lb hike, and it may be too early writing off SOLO (3.35).
He may have been over-rated after plundering last season’s Adonis Hurdle at Kempton in February, making no show a few weeks later when well-touted at Cheltenham. The ground was on the quick side for his return to action in the Elite Hurdle at Wincanton but Solo wasn’t disgraced in taking fourth spot behind classy Sceau Royal. He was keen early that day and may settle better on this slower surface now dropped into handicap company.
There is some top-notch action at Liverpool where WALK IN THE MILL (1.30) can further underline his love affair with Aintree by bagging a historic third William Hill Becher Chase.
Cheek-pieces were applied last year and Walk In The Mill responded positively, drawing clear of re-opposing Kimberlite Candy. The headgear is back on for the first time since and Walk In The Mill will have tightened up from a recent outing behind Regal Encore at Ascot.
Besides his two course and distance victories, the gelding ran fourth in the 2019 Grand National and he should get his preferred soft ground, with rain forecast on Merseyside.
Kimberlite Candy comes here fresh and can go well for in-form Tom Lacey. Popular grey Ramses De Teillee prevailed in a ding-dong battle with Yala Enki at Cheltenham’s big November meeting and rain would aid his cause. He never looked happy in this year’s Grand National, eventually being pulled up after becoming outpaced on the drying ground. Yala Enki is another mud-lover but 11st 12lb is a welter burden tackling the Aintree fences for the first time.
Fifteen runners are declared but most firms are offering four places each-way.
16:05 Chepstow - Race: 1
16:10 Worcester - Race: 3
16:15 Cork - Race: 8