Our expert takes a look at the final race of the Aintree Festival and picks out a pacey contender who could prove excellent value for money in the Pinsent Masons Handicap Hurdle.
Over an hour after the Grand National combatants were sent on their merry way, a large field of two mile hurdlers will take to the Aintree turf and bring the Festival to a close in the Pinsent Masons Handicap Hurdle. Only amateur and conditional jockeys are allowed to ride in this race and it’s an excellent chance for a part-time jockey to grab a spot in the limelight.
Donagh Meyler will ride Wakea
) for Karl Thornton for the second major Festival in a row, after guiding him to a fifth place finish in the County Hurdle at Cheltenham. He led for much of that race and front running tactics are likely to be employed again, in the hope he can keep his nose ahead of the chasing pack.
) will also have to deal with plenty of weight if he wants to come away from Aintree victorious. Bridget Andrews guided him to a solid sixth place finish in the Martin Pipe last month and this would be the perfect time for the six-year-old to land his first victory of the season.
(15/2 Paddy Power)
and Cousin Oscar
) will both be looking to seal a hat-trick of spring wins here at Aintree and have to be in with a shout. John Constable
) is woefully out of form at the moment, but a year ago he was running in Graded Hurdling contests, so he has to be respected off a workable weight.
Master Of Finance
) has only been beaten by two useful handicappers since appearing in the Grade 2 Rossington Main Hurdle at Haydock. Charlie Deutsche has considerably more experience than many of his other apprentices and his mount Zalvados
(16/1 Paddy Power
) has been in good form so far this season, despite failing to find a winner.
Jacks Last Hope
) has been working in the paddock all winter, preparing for a spring, summer season on good ground. He ran on well for third in a Class 2 handicap over a longer trip at Ascot in October and his form and his rating rose by 23 pounds between July and that Ascot outing last season.
It’s somewhat surprising to see Remiluc
(28/1 Paddy Power
) sitting so far down the betting in this race. He comfortably saw off Chesterfield
) in a Class 3 handicap last month and he’s been competitive on nearly all his runs this season. He struggled to a distant finish at Cheltenham, but there is no doubting he is better than his current odds.
Both hold genuine each-way claims and shouldn’t be ignored further down the betting, but the one who catches the eye in the middle of the pack is DAREBIN
) and he could be the best value bet of the race.
Gary Moore’s charge tried to take the Imperial Cup field on from the front at Sandown last month and only London Pride and Fixe Le Cap were good enough to pass him. He’s very useful on the flat, neat over his hurdles and has beaten the likes of Duke Street and Third act over the past couple of seasons.
Jason Nuttall is a trusted apprentice for Gary Moore and his ten-pound allowance means Darebin will carry just 9-7 to the post with him at Aintree and he could have too much speed for his rivals over the closing stages.
6:15 Aintree Pinsent Masons Handicap Hurdle selection – DAREBIN each-way (14/1 SkyBet)