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Saturday, 15 December, 2018

Five things to keep your eye on at Aintree on day two

Might Bite (left) and Whisper fight out a dramatic finish to Cheltenham's RSA Chase, headed by a loose horse
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Henderson on top again?

The Grade 1 Crabbie's Top Novice's Hurdle has been Nicky Henderson's to farm for many years.

Since 2010 he has won it five times, including last season with Buveur D'Air – and he has turned out to be pretty good.

This time around Henderson again looks to hold the nap hand, with Supreme third River Wylde.

Malcolm Jefferson is one of the two trainers that has broken Henderson's recent stranglehold, and he has the exciting Mount Mews, while Moon Racer could bounce back after finding the Champion Hurdle too hot at Cheltenham.

Ryanair vs Champion Chase form

Which will prove stronger? The Melling Chase brings together several beaten horses for both races, with last year's winner, God's Own heading the market.

He was better than his fifth suggests in the Champion Chase, but is fancied to turn around form with Fox Norton (second) and Top Gamble (fourth).

Sub Lieutenant brings Ryanair form to the table, having finished runner-up to Un De Sceaux, while Uxizandre may yet return to his 2015 Ryanair-winning form. 

Which Might Bite will turn up?

Mercurial and talented in equal measure, Might Bite's RSA win was one of the big talking points from this year's Cheltenham Festival.

Seemingly serenely gliding to victory, the novice chaser contrived to allow stablemate Whisper to get to and past him on the run to the line after wandering over to say hello to the massed crowds.

But he rallied well to get back in front, and won by a nose, when he should have won by several lengths. If he stays straight in the Mildmay, then he should show why he is already 10-1 for next season's Gold Cup, but if veering off course, then Whisper, unbeaten in two hurdles starts at Aintree, might punish him.

Can The Worlds End make amends?

It was a Cheltenham Festival to forget for the McNeill family, with falls for The Worlds End and Gibralfaro, leading to a tweet of "can we start all over again please", on Gold Cup day.

But Aintree has been a happier hunting ground, with Grumeti winning the Grade 1 Juvenile Hurdle in 2012.

The Worlds End was travelling well when coming down in the Albert Bartlett, and has the chance to set the record straight in the Sefton, with Keepers Hill, far from disgraced in the Neptune when seventh, also taking his chance for the owners in the same race.

Star for the future

The Grade 2 bumper that closes the card has a history of providing above-average winners, with The New One victorious in 2012, while Barters Hill triumphed in 2015.

Last year Bacardys won for Willie Mullins, and he claimed the Grade 1 Deloitte Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown this season. Whoever wins this time could be well worth following.

Aintree Friday cards

If he stays straight in the Mildmay, then he should show why he is already 10-1 for next season's Gold Cup

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