Aintree Grand National: Friday Preview

Day two of the three-day Aintree Grand National Meeting kicks-off with the highlights being Mildmay Novices’ Chase, Melling Chase and the Topham Chase ran over the Grand National Fences.

As usual, Stefan Fellows is here to share his thoughts and tips.

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1.45 Aintree – 20 Years Together, Alder Hey & Aintree Handicap Hurdle

Langer Dan is sure to be popular for Dan and Harry Skelton, he was unlucky to be brought down at the second hurdle in the Martin Pipe.

He was sent of favourite for the race and popular belief is he still looks a well-treated horse based on last seasons form.

Cobblers Dream finished second in that Cheltenham race a 4lb rise seems fair enough but preference for me is for a couple of handicap debutants who are yet to show their hand.

Speech Bubble finished second in a Mares grade 2 at Sandown when last seen. The winner that day Love Envoi has since gone on to win the mares novice at Cheltenham which gives the impression a mark of 130 could be on the lenient side.

She has large field experience from her bumper days and with just the 3 runs to date over hurdles should have more to offer.

Another mare in the field Politesse also looks interesting back over hurdles she unseated when last seen back in October over the larger obstacles but arrives here a fresh horse and again her opening mark looks workable based on her best hurdles form.

Tronador won this last season but has not looked in the same form recently and is off a much higher mark this time around.

Selection Speech Bubble – Politesse

Horse Racing Jumps

2.20 Aintree – Top Novices’ Hurdle

Jonbon put in a really good effort to be second in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle last time out and with no Constitution Hill this time around it looks a ideal opportunity for him.

Again, it looks like his biggest danger could turn out to be from another stable mate though with the Henderson yard also being represented by First Street.

2 solid efforts in the most competitive 2 mile handicaps this side of the Irish channel he is expected to give his stable mate most to think about.

El Fabiolo represents trainer Willie Mullins so has to be respected, he’s unexposed and still has plenty of potential

Selection – Jonbon

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2.55 Aintree –Mildmay Novices’ Chase

A cracking renewal despite just being the 4 runners. Bravemansgame is unbeaten over the larger obstacles having landing the Kauto Star over Christmas and maintaining his 100% record at Newbury when last seen.

He arrives here a fresh horse after his late withdrawal at Cheltenham and a strong case can be made that Aintree could be more in his favour anyway.

Another unbeaten chaser L’Homme Presse should go well once again he landed the Brown Advisory at Cheltenham and had Ahoy Senor behind that day.

There is likely to be little between the pair once again however it’s the Paul Nicholls runner who I expect to come out ahead.

Selection – Bravemansgame

Horse Racing Jumps

3.30 Aintree – Marsh Chase (Registered As The Melling Chase)

Its hard to get away from last year’s winner Fakir D’oudairies. He was a convincing winner of this race and looks to have held his form well enough this season including when winning the Ascot Chase when last seen.

Funambule Sivola ran a really good race to finish second in the Champion Chase at the festival and a reproduction of that effort over the longer trip should see him involved once again.

Captain Guinness is another stepping up in trip but might just be found wanting at the top level. While Saint Calavados needs to bounce back from a disappointing run behind in the Ascot Chase.

Selection – Fakir D’oudairies

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4.05 Aintree – Randox Topham Handicap Chase

Willie Mullins has trained the last 2 winners of the race so his Royal Rendezvous is sure to be popular.

Nicky Henderson is another trainer with a strong record in this race and he saddles 4 in his bid this time around with Mister Coffy looking to be his best chance if the market is anything to go price.

Peter Bowen has tasted success in this race also in the past and his runner Mac Tottie has a course and Distance victory win to his name after beating the reopposing Senior Citizen in the Grand Sefton.

He has to bounce back to form though and preference this time goes to the Alan King runner who despite his higher mark looks to arrive here in better heart.

Killer Clown has looked progressive over fences this season including when successful in a competitive Kempton handicap lat time.

He has been hit with a 8lb rise for that victory but the manner of that success suggest more is still to come and this type of test could suit.

Selection Killer Clown – Senior Citizen

Horse Racing Jumps

4.40 Aintree – Sefton Novices’ Hurdle

Banbridge landed the Martin Pipe at Cheltenham and is sure to be popular despite stepping into graded company. ]

Skytastic and Gelino Bello both skipped Cheltenham and have to be respected given their profiles from top yards.

However, in a race that is not uncommon to see a big priced winner a chance is taken on the Ben Pauling trained Bowtogreatness.

He has looked progressive over hurdles including when winning in comfortable style under double penalty at Leicester last time.

Yes, he needs to take another step forward from that but we are sure not to have seen the best of his yet and the step up in trip looks likely to suit.

Selection – Bowtogreatness

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5.15 Aintree – Park Palace Ponies Handicap Hurdle

A large field open handicap but the progressive Whizz Kid looks a really interesting runner here for the excellent Richard Newland team.

He was a useful horse on the level and looks to have taken the switch to hurdles well winning his last 2 starts in comfortable fashion. Good ground looks to suit and looks interesting off 125 with his able jockey claiming a further 5lbs.

Clamins can be made for plenty others but the main danger for me is likely to be the Olly Murohy trained Washington who has some good early season from in graded company over hurdles which suggest a mark of 127 could be fair back on a sound surface.

Selection – Whizz Kid

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Author: Paula Bryant