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Irish eyes can smile at Aintree with The Shunter and ‘Jason’

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Tiger Roll, seen here en route to winning the 2019 Grand National, steps into Grade One action over fences for the first time today

Tiger Roll, seen here en route to winning the 2019 Grand National, steps into Grade One action over fences for the first time today

Denise Foster's charge The Shunter flies the Irish flag in today's opening Grade One race

Denise Foster's charge The Shunter flies the Irish flag in today's opening Grade One race

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Tiger Roll, seen here en route to winning the 2019 Grand National, steps into Grade One action over fences for the first time today

There is unlikely to be the same type of dominance as there was at last month's Cheltenham Festival but the Irish raiders, led by the evergreen Tiger Roll, can still pack a decent punch on the opening day of the Aintree Grand National meeting.

Tiger Roll steps into Grade One company over fences for the first time today but an average renewal of the Betway Bowl (2.50) offers the two-time Aintree National winner hope of adding another chapter to an illustrious career.

Dual King George winner Clan Des Obeaux looks the most likely to defy Denise Foster’s charge, however, while The Shunter, which was yesterday bought by JP McManus from Paul Byrne, flies the Irish flag in the opening Grade One Manifesto Novices' Chase (1.45).

Emmet Mullins has an exceptional record with his overseas raids and the progressive eight-year-old bids to back up his Cheltenham success in the Festival Plate under the in-form Brian Hayes. Paul Nicholls' Hitman has a touch of class but the five-year-old hit the deck on his penultimate start and The Shunter's experience may prove the difference maker for the high-flying Carlow trainer.

Two-time Champion Hurdle winner Buveur D'Air bids to roll back the years for Nicky Henderson in the Aintree Hurdle (3.25) but this Grade One has an Irish winner written all over it.

Foster's Abacadabras was an early casualty in the Champion Hurdle but should thrive on a flatter track under Jack Kennedy, although Jason The Militant may be the one for Henry de Bromhead and Rachael Blackmore. The seven-year-old skipped Cheltenham having easily landed a Fairyhouse Grade Three six weeks ago and Blackmore may be able to dictate affairs from the front to take the finishing sting out of her 10 rivals.

Patrick Mullins didn't get the chance to ride at Cheltenham when Billaway was just touched off but he renews acquaintances with the nine-year-old in a Foxhunters' Chase (4.05) where there are several Irish hopes.

Foster's Mighty Stowaway has the assistance of crack amateur Jamie Codd while John 'Shark' Hanlon, fresh from his first Grade One success with Skyace at Fairyhouse last Sunday, saddles Rewritetherules under Tom Hamilton.

Fermanagh trainer David Christie may have the answer, though, with the unexposed Some Man oozing class at Down Royal last month, and the eight-year-old looks primed for a bold bid under Barry O'Neill.

Moon Over Germany, the 2019 winner, is one of two runners for De Bromhead in the Red Rum Handicap Chase (4.40) along with ​Jan Maat but both face stiff assignments while Eileendover sets the standard in the concluding Grade Two Mares' Bumper (5.15).

Pam Sly's charge routed a Listed field at Market Rasen on her last start and she should take some beating in receipt of a four-year-old allowance from her chief rivals, which include Champion Bumper third Elle Est Belle and Arthur Moore's easy Down Royal scorer Me Too Please.

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