Aintree 2019: Sun Racing ambassador Megan Nicholls talks through Team Ditcheat’s best chances on Day 2 of the Grand National Festival

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THE opening day of Aintree had everything – thrills, spills and fantastic finishes.

We didn’t get much luck in the Grade 1 contests so here’s hoping we can turn it around today!

There's also plenty to look forward to for Meg as the opening day of Aintree Festival kicks off
Stewart Williams – The Sun

There’s plenty to look forward to for Meg as the Aintree Festival continues.[/caption]

Merseyrail Handicap Hurdle

We field Brio Conti in the opener.

He travelled incredibly well at Cheltenham last time, despite over-racing and finding himself in front a little bit too soon.

He’s come out of that very well and should be bang there if able to reproduce it.

Mont Des Avaloirs also runs and although he’s talented, he’s not always the easiest of horses.

He’s capable of some good form on his day and the flatter track will suit, so I’d give him an each-way chance.


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Top Novices’ Hurdle

Southfield Stone goes in this and I expect a good run.

He won the Dovecote at Kempton and has made great strides this year.

We missed Cheltenham on purpose to come here fresh and on that performance he has a massive chance, for all that this is another step up in grade.

Itchy Feet ran a huge race in the Supreme and supposedly bled that day, so deserves extra credit. He could be hard to beat.

The other horse I like is Winston C – he’s super tough and although it’s a step up in grade he could have a chance at a decent price.

I think the race will suit him as they’ll go fast and he likes a good pace to aim at.

Topofthegame will bid to follow up his RSA win
Topofthegame will bid to follow up his RSA win
Reuters

Mildmay Novices’ Chase

We run Topofthegame in this and hopefully he can back up his fabulous RSA win.

He’s come out of that contest super well, his confidence is sky high and he looks incredible.

I think he’ll be very hard to beat.

Lostintranslation is up in trip and they’ve decided to go this route rather than against La Bague Au Roi yesterday.

It will be interesting to see if he’ll stay but even if he does he’s got to go some to get the better of our horse, who I’m very much looking forward to seeing run again.

Politologue (left) finished second in the Champion Chase and will attempt to go one better
Politologue (left) finished second in the Champion Chase and will attempt to go one better
Reuters

Melling Chase

Politologue goes for back-to-back wins in the Melling.

He was super tough when winning this last year and ran a huge race against Altior in the Champion Chase.

He seems to like this time of year and runs well at Aintree so it will be fascinating to see how he gets on.

Waiting Patiently has only had one completed run this season, when finishing second behind Cyrname last time.

He’s obviously a horse that’s held in high regard and has plenty of ability but I’d say we shade him on our best form.

Min was second last year and we beat him fair and square at Cheltenham so our main danger could be Ruth Jefferson’s contender.

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Topham

Nick Scholfield rides San Benedeto in this and the pair get on very well.

It was nice to see him get his head in front last time and with any luck he can repeat the dose.

He’s a pretty safe jumper usually – although he wouldn’t want too much rain.

If the ground stays on the decent side then he could have a chance, for all that you need plenty of luck in these races.

Our other runner is Adrien Du Pont.

He’s improved again this year and 2m5f shouldn’t be a problem.


They tend to go fast which is good as he should be able to settle and if he doesn’t over-race then he could have a decent each-way chance.

The top-weight Janika is favourite after being second three times in better company.

He’s been pretty unlucky but it’s an even tougher task now carrying such a heavy burden.

I know they fancy Ballyhill quite a lot.

He sneaks in at the bottom of the weights and is a pretty solid jumper.

Nigel Twiston-Davies does very well in these races and he’d be my pick of the rest.

Stewart Williams – The Sun

Sefton Novices’ Hurdle

We run Trevelyn’s Corn here.

He’s a lovely big horse who’ll improve for time and I can’t wait to see him go novice chasing in the future.

This is a massive ask but the experience will do him good and it would be nice to see him run a decent race.

It’s a very competitive contest, what with Champ having been second at Cheltenham and Warren Greatrex’s Emitom looking a potential superstar.

The latter has been impressive in all his starts to date and I don’t think the trip should be a problem.

He only seems to do just enough and he has a lovely way of going. I’ve liked him for a long time.


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Weatherbys Bumper

We run Mcfabulous in the finale.

He’s a lovely horse and we’ve always thought a lot of him. On his Newbury form last time, where he ran out an impressive winner, he should have a big chance.

It’s difficult to read into these races as most have only had a couple of runs, but I’d imagine we’ll start near the top of the betting.

One to look out for is Santa Rossa, who’s won both starts so far in impressive fashion.

Her victory last time was very impressive and she gets a filly’s allowance too which will help.

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