Geraghty odds-on to take Grand National meeting honours
The market for Aintree top jockey is dominated by Barry Geraghty, who is back on the big stage having missed the Cheltenham Festival through injury. He returned to the saddle last weekend at Fairyhouse, where he had a winner and a second from just three rides.
As well as first-class chances with Triumph and Champion Hurdle winners Defi Du Seuil and Buveur D'Air, Geraghty has leading rides in the Melling Chase and Liverpool Hurdle during the three-day meeting.
For punters looking to oppose odds-on Geraghty, solid options include Daryl Jacob and Nico de Boinville, who have Top Notch and Might Bite in their corner.
Five riders and their leading chances at the meeting
Barry Geraghty Best odds for meeting top jockey 4-7
Defi Du Seuil Doom Bar Anniversary 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle Thursday 2.20
Buveur D’Air Betway Aintree Hurdle Thursday 3.25
More Of That Randox Health Grand National Saturday 5.15
It's an impressive set of rides for Geraghty, including two festival winners on the opening afternoon and 2014 World Hurdle winner More Of That in the Grand National on Saturday. Defi Du Seuil and Buveur D’Air will be odds-on and are hard to oppose in the 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle and Aintree Hurdle. And Geraghty has the enviable decision of picking between market leaders Unowhatimeanharry and Yanworth in the Liverpool Hurdle. When you throw in the interesting Geordie Des Champs and 2015 Ryanair Chase winner Uxizandre, he looks to have a great chance at picking up a host of winners throughout the meeting.
Nico de Boinville 14-1
River Wylde Crabbie's Top Novices' Hurdle Friday 2.20
Might Bite Betway Mildmay Novices' Chase Friday 2.50
Josses Hill JLT Melling Chase Friday 3.25
After a heart-stopping few seconds on board Might Bite in the RSA Chase, De Boinville will bid to complete the staying novice double in the Mildmay Novices' Chase. After going well clear coming up the hill at Cheltenham, Nicky Henderson's smart chaser veered violently right towards the paddocks but, with the aid of a loose horse, got back up to deny Whisper in a photo-finish. If he can repeat that form he must have every chance, along with River Wylde who was an excellent third in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle behind Labaik and Melon. And if Josses Hill can bounce back to his Peterborough Chase form he could go close in the Melling Chase.
Richard Johnson 14-1
Flying Tiger Doom Bar Anniversary 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle Thursday 2.20
Shearling Goffs Nickel Coin Mares' Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race Thursday 5.15
Royal Regatta JLT Melling Chase Friday 3.25
Although Triumph Hurdle winner Defi Du Seuil is now the ride of Geraghty, champion jockey Richard Johnson still has plenty of chances at Aintree, including Fred Winter winner Flying Tiger. He will be up against the Philip Hobbs-trained favourite, but has a solid chance if back to his best after a tough race at Cheltenham. Royal Regatta is very interesting if he returns to his Ascot form, and the unexposed Shearling should run well in the Mares' Bumper. She won at Catterick easily last month and could make the step up to Graded level here.
Daryl Jacob 20-1
Top Notch Manifesto Novices’ Chase Thursday 1.45
Bristol De Mai Betway Bowl Chase Thursday 2.50
Messire Des Obeaux Doom Bar Sefton Novices Hurdle Friday 4.40
It was a frustrating Cheltenham for Daryl Jacob, who had to settle for the places on five occasions. But two of his Cheltenham rides return this week and look to have a great chance of finding the Aintree number-one spot. With the absence of Yorkhill, Jacob looks to kick-off the meeting in style with Top Notch, who was beaten only a length in the JLT Novices' Chase despite making a bad error at the second-last. On Friday he rides Messire Des Obeaux, who finished a staying-on third in the Neptune at Cheltenham and will surely appreciate this step up in trip. Sandwiched between that pair in the Betfred Bowl is Bristol De Mai, who was travelling well in the Gold Cup before hitting the third-last and fading into seventh. Jacob could be a lively outsider if he has a good opening day.
Bryan Cooper 14-1
Empire Of Dirt Betway Bowl Chase Thursday 2.50
Sub Lieutenant JLT Melling Chase Friday 3.25
Rogue Angel Randox Health Grand National Saturday 5.15
As well as a variety of chances in the handicaps, Bryan Cooper looks to have a great chance in the Betway Bowl with Empire Of Dirt. He appeared to have been outpaced in the Ryanair Chase when only fourth behind Un De Sceaux, so this step up in trip should suit, and his second in the Irish Gold Cup behind Sizing John looks to be great form. In Friday's Melling Chase he rides Sub Lieutenant, who followed home Sizing John in the Kinloch Brae Chase in January. He was also a fast-finishing second to Un De Sceaux in the Ryanair, and could go one better. In the Grand National Cooper has chosen Rogue Angel, who looks to be pick of the Gigginstown horses and is trained by last year's winner Mouse Morris.