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16.15 Aintree: Weight allowance gives Sparky May a huge chance

| 08.04.2011

There was only one mare at the Cheltenham Festival as Quevega romped home to win her third David Nicholson Mares Hurdle, but running a big race in second was Sparky May.

Despite being outshone by Quevega at Cheltenham, Sparky May has one second and four wins to her name in her past five starts, and the Patrick Rodford-trained six-year-old will take all the beating at Aintree.

At 11/2 to win, Sparky May is solid value for the punter and her win over Carole’s Legacy who was second behind Nacarat in Thursday’s Totesport Bowl has only enhanced her claims.

The Sefton Novice’s Hurdle is a race dominated by horses aged six and over so seven can be ruled out already.

Add to that 15 of the last 16 winners had won at least twice over hurdles and you’re left with a shortlist of five – Aikman (14/1), Court In Motion (8/1), Jetnova (20/1), Our Island (33/1) and Sparky May.

11 of the last 17 winners had previously won over three miles leaving just Sparky May and Our Island on the shortlist, but considering Our Island has only had three runs over hurdles – 16 of the last 18 runners had won four times over hurdles – Sparky May has to be the choice.

Trainer Rodford produced one of the feats of the Cheltenham Festival when training Holmwood Legend to victory in the Byrne Group Plate, and with the stable in strong form in big races, Sparky May can provide Rodford with another big winner.

Of the others, Aikman can run a big race and is a big each-way price while Our Island is a huge outsider and with plenty of trends in his favour, the Tim Vaughan six-year-old could definitely surprise people and gain a place.

A £20 stake on Sparky May winning the Sefton Novices’ Hurdle would return £130. New customers can sign up here to get £60 in free bets.



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.