There is another fantastic weekend of National Hunt racing to look forward to with action taking place up and down the UK and over in Ireland. The key meeting will be at Aintree on Saturday afternoon with the Betfred Old Roan Chase taking centre stage for their first meeting of the season. The Old Roan has been won by some famous names down the years including the great Kauto Star, and once again there is a strong list of entries engaged for the race.
The likely favourite for the Old Roan Chase is the experienced Wishfull thinking who is reported to be in good form at home for Philip Hobbs. At his best last season, Wishfull Thinking was good enough to win the Game Spirit Chase at Newbury and any repeat of that form here should see him go very close indeed. He does have to carry top weight though which could open the door for the likes of Walkon and Edgardo Sol, who will take his chance for Paul Nicholls.
Walkon was good enough to finish second in the Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham last season and will appreciate a bit of cut in the ground. The Alan King horse has a good record when fresh and a good run here will see him head back to Prestbury Park next month, for another crack at the Paddy Power.
Elsewhere on the Aintree card, there is a good Novices' chase to take in over a trip of 2m4f. Among those entered are the Philip Hobbs trained Colour Squadron and Shutthefrontdoor who was fourth in the Pertemps Final last season for Jonjo O'Neill.
There is also a couple of nice races to take in at Chepstow on Saturday afternoon with the Persian War Novices Hurdle taking centre stage. The race takes place over 2m4f and as been won by the likes of Fingal Bay and Silviniaco Conti among others in recent years. It remains to be seen if we get another winner of that calibre this season but there is certainly or or two nice runners engaged at this stage.
One of those is the Paul Nicholls trained Ceasar Milan who won two Bumpers last season before moving to the Ditcheat team. There are high hopes for him this weekend, while the same can certainly be said of Ballyalton who is another one who could run in the Persian War. He stormed to victory at Uttoxeter at the start of the month for Ian Williams and looks to be an improving type who has won four of his five starts to date.
It is also worth keeping close eye on Wincanton on Sunday afternoon with a number of the local trainers expected to head to the track for a good card. The Desert Orchid Handicap Chase will be one for the stayers while the Dominic Bake Novices Hurdle over two miles is also of interest in Somerset. The likes of Paul Nicholls, Jonjo O'Neill, Philip Hobbs and Colin Tizzard all have runners engaged in the novice hurdle which should make a competitive renewal.
Over in Ireland this weekend there are decent cards at Wexford on Saturday and at Galway on Sunday afternoon when it comes to National Hunt racing. The Ballybrit Novices' Chase at Galway on Sunday is of particular interest with the 2m1f race likely to attract some nice horses. Willie Mullins has Pasage Vendome entered after he won at Tramore recently, while Gordon Elliott could run Shrapnel and he is another one to keep an eye on.