Annie P the Star Name On First Day Of Grand National Meeting

The Grand National festival at Aintree kicks off with a bang on Thursday afternoon with no less than four Grade 1 races as some of the best horses in training head to the Merseyside course. The highlight for many will be the Aintree Hurdle over 2m4f with Champion Hurdler Annie Power set to star for Willie Mullins.

Annie Power was only routed to the champion Hurdle following an injury to stable-mate Faugheen but she blew the field away at Cheltenham last month and many expect her to do that and more on Thursday. The step up trip is expected to suit her and with her mares allowance once again in use, she should be far too strong for a field including Nichols Canyon and The New One to name just two.

Other highlights on Thursday include the Anniversary 4YO Hurdle which will see the Triumph Hurdle first three rematch and the Grade 1 Betfred Bowl which sees the Gold Cup 2nd and 3rd take each other on. Djakadam and Don Poli were both impressive at Cheltenham for Willie Mullins but they also have to face Cue Card who himself was going really well in the Gold Cup when falling three out.

Elsewhere the Manifesto Novices Chase over 2m4f looks an interesting one with Sizing John, Garde La Victoire and L'Ami Serge all potentially evenly matched in the opening race of the Festival. The main event is of course the Grand National on Saturday but in the meantime there is a whole host of action to look forward to, starting on Thursday with a truly top class day of sport.

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