By Andrew Atkinson
JOSEPH O’Brien trained Band Of Outlaws is set to step up in grade at Aintree on Thursday on the opening day of the three day Aintree Grand National meeting.
Band Of Outlaws who won at the Cheltenham Festival in March – tipped by The Leader – will step up to Grade 1 level at Aintree in the Doom Bar Anniversary 4 year old Juvenile Hurdle over 2 miles (2.20).
Band Of Outlaws gave O’Brien his first official festival winner in Cheltenham’s Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle, when gaining a 2 lengths victory over Coko Beach.
Four-year-old Band Of Outlaws was winning for the third consecutive time – leading to O’Brien pitching him in against better rivals at Aintree, with J.J. Slevin in the saddle.
“The plan is to step Band Of Outlaws up in grade and to run in the Doom Bar Anniversary Four-Year-Old Hurdle,” said O’Brien.
Former England and Southampton footballer-turned trainer Mick Channon saddles Glen Forsa in the Devenish Manifesto Novices Chase (1.45) over 2m 3f, under jockey J.J. Burke – a Leader tip in the opening race of the day.
Paul Nicholls trained Clan Des Obeaux, ridden by Harry Cobden, gets the nod over Kemboy and Bristol De Mai in the Betway Bowl Chase over 3m (2.50).
Willie Mullins trained Faugheen gets the nod over Nicky Henderson trained Buveur D’Air in the Betway Aintree Hurdle over 2m 4f (3.25) with Mullins trained Melon expected to be in the shake up.
In the Randox Health Foxhunters Open Hunters Chase over 2m 5f (4.05) Leader each way selections are Bear’s Affair and Burning Ambition.
Lady Buttons – featured in The Leader last month – returns to action after running at the 2019 Cheltenham Festival.
Trained by Philip Kirby, Lady Buttons (7-1) and the Colin Tizzard trained Molineaux (20-1) are each way selections in the Close Brothers Red Rum Handicap chase over 1m 7f (4.40).
Farne, who finished second at 25-1 when tipped by The Leader last month, runs in the Goff’s UK Flat Race over 2m (5.15) and is selected each way, along with Misty Whisky, ridden by Sean Bowen.