Captain McGinley should go close at Leicester

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Plenty of movers in the three races over the Grand National fences at Aintree, with both Seefood (9/1 from 10s) and Vintage Vinnie (10s from 16s with BetVictor) two very popular runners for the respective yards of Dr Richard Newland and Rebecca Curtis in the Grand Sefton on Saturday.

Curtis has her string in good order at present and I’d expect the yard to go close with Captain McGinley (3.10) in the Novices’ Handicap Chase at Leicester.

The selection, named after Ryder Cup winning captain Paul, remains a maiden after ten starts under rules but has shown enough to suggest he is relatively unexposed for a six-year-old and is bred to thrive over the larger obstacles.

The son of Robin des Pres was a beaten favourite on his seasonal debut at Bangor earlier in the campaign, shaping as if in need of the run, and must go close on his chase debut from a 3lb lower mark. Stable jockey Jonathan Moore remains tremendous value for his 3lb claim and will surely lose his claim by the end of the season.

Johnny Farrelly’s Amantius (3.40) was well backed last time out at Uttoxeter and, after bumping into one on the day, looks well-placed to go one better under Aidan Coleman.

The selection was beaten nine lengths by Oliver Greenall’s Thor, but there was a further 11 lengths back to the third and with the winner scoring subsequently, Amantius gets the nod to score from a pound higher mark.

After a string of runner-up efforts I expect Bandsman (12.55) to belatedly shed the maiden tag in the opener at Market Rasen for brothers Dan and Harry Skelton.

The selection has yet to get his head in front after five starts for connections but did put in a career best last time out at Kempton Park when second to Alan King’s smart Top Tug in the BetVictor 2m Novices’ Hurdle and the winner quoted as a 33/1 chance for the Supreme Novices’ in the spring. With nothing of that ilk here today he really should take all the beating.

David Pipe’s string are yet to really fire yet this term and with Suzi Sheep not certain to stay three miles, a chance is worth taking instead on Tim Easterby’s Milly Baloo (1.55) making a winning chase debut under man of the moment Brian Hughes.

The selection was a beaten favourite twice over today’s course and distance when second and third in handicap hurdles on heavy ground last season but could prove even more affective over fences and looks better than the mare’s mark of 108 suggests.

Sam Twiston-Davies continues his recovery from injury down at Wincanton where Cyclop (1.45) looks his best chance of a winner in the Handicap Chase over an extended three miles.

After two promising runs at Kelso and Fontwell he is well-handicapped to make it third time lucky for rising trainer David Dennis.

Floresco (2.15) disappointed in his seasonal reappearance last month at Kempton Park.

But, after the market suggested the six-year-old would strip fitter for the run, it was no surprise to see him finish last of seven. That should have blown the cobwebs out and go close to claiming a second course and distance success in the competitive 2m Handicap Hurdle.

Trainer Evan Williams won the Amateur Riders’ Handicap Chase on the corresponding card 12 months ago and must go close for the same connections with Copper Birch (3.20) under 7lb conditional Conor Orr.

The selection arrives seeking the hat-trick after impressive successes at Ffos Las and Haydock and is officially 7lb well-in at the weights.

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