14:25 Aintree

MINELLACELEBRATION (NAP) (best price 9-4) hasn’t had a run for 119 days, but being as he landed this prize off a similar layoff last season, there’s a fair amount of confidence Katy price’s gelding can offset that slight concern and repeat the dose at a track where he has a pretty useful record in recent times.
Winner of a good-quality novices’ handicap chase on his first visit to the hallowed Merseyside turf back in 2017, the son of King’s Theatre added to his tally when accounting for the useful Minella Daddy over the same C&D two years later. A respectable run in the Becher Chase on ground he hated ensued, but back on the Mildmay course and on a faster surface saw him in a much better light on his first start for 111 days here last year. Taking his usual keen hold, the 11-year-old always travelled like the most likely winner and when asked to put the race to bed after jumping three out, he worked his way clear of a field that contained the likes of Don Poli, Pobbles Bay, Sametegal, Vieux Lion Rouge and subsequent Cheltenham Festival hero Vintage Clouds. In beating these familiar names, he also posted a very fast speed figure into the bargain and he may have gone on to duplicate that effort but for a bad mistake on his most recent visit to his favourite venue last spring. A creditable fifth in the bet365 Summer Cup at Uttoxeter back in June, one would imagine this race has been on his radar ever since and if he can avoid the odd mistake here and there which has derailed his chances in the past, the useful veteran is most likely to make his presence felt. 

Minellacelebration - 1pt @ 9/4

15:00 Aintree

ALLMANKIND (best price 3-1) shaped as though he would be much sharper for the run on his first outing for 174 days at Chepstow recently but now back over a discipline that saw him mix it against the very company as a novice, Dan Skelton’s gelding make regain the winning thread around a track tailor made for his run style. 

A top-class juvenile hurdler good enough to finish third in the 2020 Triumph, the son of Sea The Moon made an immediate impact over fences last season, winning four of six races including the Grade 1 Henry VIII Novices Chase at Sandown in December. Pestered for the early lead by Captain Guinness in his ultimate target, The Arkle, at the Cheltenham Festival, the five-year-old, as a result, failed to finish off his race in the desired manner expected and he ended up fading on the run-in to be only fourth of the five-strong field. Back to his best when allowed to dictate from the start on his final outing of the campaign at Ayr, he also proved at the Scottish venue that he stays 2m4f really well which now provides connections with more options in his second term. Operated on for a slight issue with his wind during the off season, Allmankind, just like the previous season, looked as though the run would do him the world of good on his return to action 15 days ago and with today’s contest nominated as one of main objectives ever since he won at Ayr back in April, this bold front-runner can go along way to executing the long-term plan.

Allmankind - 1pt @ 3/1