Friday 9th April:

#NAP – EDWARDSTONE (1.45 Aintree) – This seven-year-old has been in fine form this season with respectable runs in three big handicaps with a victory in a four-runner event in between those off an 8lb lower mark. He was fifth in the Greatwood hurdle back in October at Cheltenham (won by big improver The Shunter) and in his last two runs he’s shown an even better level of form. He was third in the Betfair Hurdle (Buzz was just in behind and he was second in a Grade 1 here on Thursday) before finishing fifth, beaten three-lengths, in the County Hurdle at last month’s festival where on both occasions was staying-on strongly through the line. He now takes a step up in trip to 2m4f for the first time which judging on those last two runs and being a son of Kayf Tara is likely to suit. He’s a previous course winner in a novice hurdle back in late 2019 and the good-to-soft ground will be just fine for him, he should be going close all being well. (7/1) – Bet365 – 1pt3rd (-1)

#NB – FAKIR D’OUDAIRIES (3.25 Aintree) – His recent form has seen him finish second in his last five completed starts including at two Cheltenham festivals (Arkle 2020 & Ryanair 2021). The latest of those was the race in which Allaho ran them ragged but he kept on to grab second despite not always fluent at his jumps which he’ll need to improve on here but he’s got an engine so if producing a better round of jumping then he’s going to be going close in this field. He was beaten only a neck at this meeting two years ago in the Doom Bar Juvenile Hurdle and is Joseph O’Brien’s only runner at the meeting. (3/1) – Bet365 – 1ptWON (+4)

#IWAC – DEAR SIRE (5.15 Aintree) – He’s a nine-year-old now but was a good ground winner back in October at Chepstow off this mark of 138. His latest runs over hurdles haven’t been as good but they have all come on soft ground so the return to a sounder surface will suit as will dropping back to this winning mark. He was beaten a neck in a jumpers bumper on penultimate start, the winner has since won twice & 154-rated Aye Right was back in sixth. This gelding was second in this race back in 2018 from a 2lb higher rating and the booking of Derek O’Connor looks a good one for local-trainer Donald McCain. He’s a big price here if able to show his best form and could provide some good each-way value with six places on offer with one bookmaker, mostly five with others. (25/1) – Sky Bet – 0.5pt ew (6 places)Lost (-1)

Stake: 3pts

April P/L: +8.2pts

Overall P/L (Sept ’17-present): +592.18pts

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