13:45 Aintree – Sam Winner to defeat his elders
Paul Nicholls has a fine record in the Mersey Novices’ Hurdle and Sam Winner can get the better of his elders to ensure his run continues at Aintree this year.
Nicholls has three winners from five runners in the race and saddles two leading fancies this year, with Rock On Ruby joining Sam Winner in the 2m4f contest.
However, the fact that leading jockey Ruby Walsh has chosen to partner Sam Winner of the pair must give him the slight edge.
Sam Winner is 4/1 in the Aintree betting and should improve for the step up in trip after finishing fourth in the Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival over 2m1f.
That day, the horse was floundering out the back for a long time, seemingly in need of the run, but when he finally got his act together he was arguably staying on better than anything at the whole meeting.
Rock On Ruby is 10/3 and has done little wrong this season, including when getting collared on the line to finish second in the Neptune Novices’ Hurdle.
Of the other leading protagonists, 7/2 chance Spirit Son arrives with big claims after finishing second in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.
But the fact he was out-stayed by Al Ferov does not bode well for this step up in trip, while trainer Nicky Henderson has never won the contest with his 18 previous runners.
Cue Card, who is 11/4, was the Festival banker of some in the Supreme Novices’, but was never nearer than fourth.
Jockey Joe Tizzard failed to give any excuses for this defeat and there is the belief that the horse may have already reached his full potential, while improvement can still be expected of others.
A £20 stake on Sam Winner winning the Mersey Novices’ Hurdle would return £160. New customers can sign up here.