Aintree Day 3 Preview and the Grand National

April 8, 2017

Tips and more for the final day of the Aintree Festival

Another good day yesterday with a couple of winners and some decent placed horses but now on to the big one. The Greatest Horse Race in the World. 40 runners over the most exciting course where horses get to show their unbelievable abilities. It’s a special day for everyone who simply loves sport.1:45 Gaskells Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) Cl1 (4yo+) 3m149yThe day kicks off with an excellent 3m handicap hurdle. Top of anyones list has to be the admirable Zarkandar who seems to hold his form so well as time marches on and whilst this is a long way below his best, top weight may not be enough to stop him. Barney Dwan will have his supporters after an excellent second in the Pertemps but I fear his weight might see him exposed. What a Knight is interesting after a good 2nd at Doncaster and their could be more to come for Fry and Fehily with this horse. For Good Measure might well have needed the run at Cheltenham. He cruised in to the race and didn’t quite find. His jockey said he took a blow 2 out. He will be cherry ripe today. At a huge price I like Mr McGo for Donald McCain, a name this means Aintree, who might be ridden with a bit more restraint in easier waters today and he looks over priced. At the bottom of the card No Hasslehoffs chances look even better after The Worlds End’s success yesterday. We will start with three against the field

1 unit e/w For Good Measure

1 unit e/w Mr McGo

1 unit e/w No Hasselhoff

A Donald McCain winner?Donald McCain.jpg






2:25 Betway Mersey Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) Cl1 (4yo+) 2m4f

A really tasty hurdle this one. Finians Oscar is the favourite for Tizzard and Power, who struck for the Pott’s yesterday, signalling that Colin T is back to form and he will be hard to beat but he has to improve to win this. Lough Derg Spirit, I dont think is quite good enough against this opposition. I am drawn by the performance of Messire Des Obeaux in the Neputune, where I think things didn’t go great in the race for him but he still finished 3rd and the win of Brio Conte at Kempton now looks very good after Dream Berry’s good run the other day here. At big prices Cultivate must have a chance of sneaking a place.

2 units e/w Messire Des Obeaux

1 units e/w Brio Conte

and a 1 unit tri-cast Messire des Obeaux, Brio Conte and Cultivate – do it with another bookmaker pleasepaul nichols.jpg

Paul Nichols keeping Brion Conte just for this race?

3:00 Doom Bar Maghull Novices’ Chase (Grade 1) Cl1 (5yo+) 1m7f176y

A small field but quite a puzzle. The question is, does Charbel, finishing 6l behind Altior and the prospect he was going to be closer at Cheltenham before falling, represent form that is better than anything the rest here have shown? I think it probably is. Therefore, how much did the fall take out of the horse because at his best he probably wins. For him to lose Forest Bihan has to be at the level and better than when he beat Cloudy Dream, who won well here on Thursday. I fear Politlogue isn’t quite this standard.

2 units e/w Forest Bihan (I know there is only 5)

Could it be a big double for these colours and Brian Ellisondefinitily red.jpeg

3:40 Betway Handicap Chase (Listed Race) Cl1 (5yo+) 3m210y

Another cracking handicap Chase. Dan Skelton told me when I interviewed him that this was one of his best chasers and it took a time to happen but happen it has and he is the favourite in this race. If you look back Sizing Codelco ran Top Notch to under 2 lengths at Ascot and this trip looks ideal. If he is that good again he will win this at a very tasty price. Starchitect was all the rage at Cheltenham and was far from disgraced and his trainer steps him up. He won over 2m5f hurdling so this should be fine. To me he always looked a stayer in the making. Sue Smith and Danny Cook have had a cracking season and I Just Know, after a 6l win at Catterick has a great chance.

1 unit e/w Sizing Codelco

1 unit e/w Starchitect

Allan and Annes Potts love their Sizing horsesSizing Codelco.jpeg

4:20 Ryanair Stayers Liverpool Hurdle (Grade 1) Cl1 (4yo+) 3m149y

Some old favourites and this years Champion Hurdle favourite line up here in what should be a belter. Yanworth looks tailor made for this trip as 2 miles is simply too quick for him. He could dot up today. Supasundae was brilliant over 2m5f at Cheltenham and this will suit just as well. Cole Harden has the visor on for the first time but I think this is a bid to find some sparkle by his trainer in a horse that might just be on a downward curve after a great career. Snow Falcon was a horse whose trainer expected more at Cheltenham and I don’t think he liked the hill. This will be more to his liking. He might just be too quick at the end of this race for Yanworth.

2 units e/w Yanworth

2 units e/w Snow Falcon

Will Yanworth get this trip and have the speed?Yanworth.jpeg

5:15 Randox Health Grand National Handicap Chase (Grade 3) Cl1 (7yo+) 4m2f74y

Everyone loves trying to solve this riddle and its ridiculous. A handicap over a trip that we rarely run over using fences they only see in most cases, once a year. Crazy as it seems we all love it. My shortlist isn’t very short and I always back four in the race, as much as anything to see if I can still have 2 running for the last circuit after fallers and interference to get a decent shout in. That short list that needs whiltlting down is as follows.

Saphire de Rheu – a touch of class for Paul Nichols. Blaklion – trainer now in great form and a race that looks like it was made for his “balls out” style. One for Arthur who seems to have been brought along beautifully for this and that if he wins will see his trainer say “I love it when a plan comes together”. Lord Windermere – something tells me he has another huge race in him and this could be it. Saint Are, who was only pulled up at the last in 2016 and Davy Russell could be the story. Vieux Lion Rouge, deposed as favourite but all the rage earlier after thumping Blaklion. Definitily Red who is the apple of Brian Ellison’s eye and he thinks this race is perfect for him. The Young master – just because if he won and I didn’t mention him I would be furious. Wonderful Charm – I would be stronger on him if he hadn’t worked so hard at Cheltenham and I think that is what caught up with his conqueror, Pachu du Polder the other day. How do we get that to just four. Simple – with a pin.

1 unit e/w Blaklion

1 unit e/w Saint Are

1 unit e/w Saphir De Rheu

1 unit e/w Vieux Lion Rouge

David Pipe deserves success with the way he has handled this horseVieux lion rouge.jpeg

6:15 Pinsent Masons Handicap Hurdle (Conditional Jockeys’ & Amateur Riders’ Race) Cl2 (4yo+) 2m103y

After the Lord Mayors show is always tricky but I think I have a winner here at big odds and if so it was worth waiting for. It is Cousin Oscar who comfortably beat Dashing Oscar last time out, who himself ran very well in a much better race on Thursday. I also like Curious Carlos

2 units e/w Cousin Oscar

1 unit e/w Curious Carlos