So pleasing to get off to a winning start with our sole bet of the day obliging in the form of Silviniaco Conti. Depending on the price you took, you should be somewhere between 4 and 4.5 points ahead. And so to the middle day.

At the start of the season, like many a punter, I found my horse to follow. Saphir Du Rheu was my choice embarking upon a novice chase campaign, since when his record over fences reads two impressive successes and two failures to complete, both in races won by the subsequent Cheltenham Gold Cup hero, Coneygree. However, last time he reverted to timber and ran a splendid second to Cole Harden in the World Hurdle at the Festival.

However, he’s back to fences here and looks the one to beat but I have decided not to go along with him. His two from four completion record over fences allied to the fact he was last seen over hurdles is just enough to put me off at the likely prices – expect around 7-4. I expect much from him next season though.

Therefore our sole race of interest is the Melling Chase. I thought Don Cossack ran a perfectly acceptable race in the Ryanair when filling the minor placing and I’ll be disappointed if he doesn’t at least make the frame here. He’s had a fine, progressive season (admittedly has been on the go since Down Royal last year) and his yard remains in high form, important at this stage of the campaign.

Stakes are conservative as there are plenty of competitive opponents, whilst a second bet is placed upon Champagne Fever. It’s hard to be confident as to just how effective he’ll be round Aintree on this quick ground but he’s a most striking performer at his best and I want him on side.


0.75 points each-way Don Cossack at 4-1 (Hills, Ladbrokes, Betfred & others).

0.75 points win Champagne Fever (100-30 with Coral & plenty of 3-1 elsewhere).

Good luck with your own bets.