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14:50 Aintree: Bypass the favourites and look to the Irish

| 09.04.2011

It’s the most eagerly anticipated battle of Aintree’s three-day Grand National meeting, but while Binocular and Peddlers Cross go toe-to-toe, the Irish challenge can sneak a win.

The Aintree Hurdle is a race in which, surprisingly, the Champion Hurdle contenders fare horribly in and 6/4 favourite Peddlers Cross will have to overcome the trend that reads just one winning Champion Hurdle runner-up in 14 starts, and no winning favourite since 1999.

Binocular (2/1) is also up against it as his trainer Nicky Henderson – he also trains 9/2 chance Oscar Whisky – is 0-18 in this race and British runners who have missed Cheltenham don’t fare well here.

On the other hand this is the Irish’s favourite race of the meeting with 17 winners in the 35 runnings of this race and 10 winners in the last 17 runners.

They are represented by two chances here in Thousand Stars (12/1) and Oscar Dan Dan (50/1), and this may sound crazy in a race of this quality but we’re tipping Oscar Dan Dan to run a huge race.

Irish horses who bypass Cheltenham have a fine record in this race and while his form is anything but spectacular, based on the stats surrounding the Champion Hurdle, he has more than an each-way chance.

Thousand Stars finished fourth in the Champion Hurdle and without Hurricane Fly to bypass – he’s lost to the 2011 Champion Hurdle winner on the last three occasions – the Willie Mullins-trained seven-year-old can upset the market favourites and take the title.

In Starluck, the Irish had a runner who separated Peddlers Cross and Binocular when they met at Newbury in November, and the Irish can upset the two leading fancies once again.

The Aintree Hurdle is a fabulous race on the final day of the Grand National meeting and is a great warm-up just an hour before the Grand National itself.

A £20 stake on Thousand Stars winning the Aintree Hurdle would return £260. Take advantage of Ladbrokes’ Grand National odds.



Robbie Morris

Robbie studied sports journalism at the University of Gloucestershire, an establishment chosen for its proximity to Cheltenham racecourse, where he was a season ticket holder. Upon graduation, Robbie was a contributor to GolfPunk, a national magazine aimed at ridding golf of its traditionalist image, before joining the news.ladbrokes team.