It’s the third and final day of the Grand National meeting and despite a high-quality supporting card, including the Maghull Novices Chase and Liverpool Hurdle, it really is about only one race – The Randox Grand National due off at 5.15.
Our resident racing tipster Stefan Fellows is here to share his thoughts on the big race.
1.45 Aintree – EFT Construction Handicap Hurdle
A large field handicap for the staying hurdles and one in which many faced of against each other in last months Pertemps final at the Cheltenham Festival.
Third Wind came out on top that day with the reopposing Mill Green and Winter Fog having to settle for minor honours.
There is likely to be little between the trip once again but preference for me is for the Nicky Henderson trained runner who has a 3lb turn around in the weights this time and this lightly raced 10-year-old could have more to give over this type of trip.
Party Business was some what of a eye catching in the Martin Pipe at the festival and the step up in trip looks interesting based on that performance when the Ian Williams runner was doing all his best work at the finish.
Selection Mill Green – Party Business
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2.25 Aintree – Mersey Novices’ Hurdle
Trainer Nicky Henderson has had plenty of success in this race in previous years and his Walking on Air looks to have been saved for this race having bypassing Cheltenham.
Unbeaten in 1 bumper start and 1 hurdle start he’s open to any amount of improvement and it was worth noting how comfortably he seemed to do things on his first start over obstacles.
Three Stripes Life is the obvious danger being the stand out form pick based on his second-place finish in the Ballymore.
Selection – Three Stripes Life
3.00 Aintree –Maghull Novices’ Chase
Improving Novice Gentleman De Mee adds an interesting element to this race and is something new for Edwardstone to contend with however this really does look like another good opportunity for the Alan King runner to notch up another grade 1 success and follow up on his convincing victory in Arkle Chase.
Selection – Edwardstone
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3.35 Aintree – Liverpool Hurdle
Again, another rerun of Cheltenham with the first, second & fourth from this seasons Stayers Hurdle all set to do battle once more.
Flooring Porter once again got his own way in front that day but that by no means takes anything away from the now dual winner.
Whether however he can repeat those tactics here is another question and it`s worth noting he did disappoint after last seasons success. With that in mind I`m happy to stick With Thyme Hill once again in the bid that he can reverse form this time around.
We know he enjoys Aintree due to his success in this race last season and he should also be able to confirm form with his over main rival Champ.
Selection – Thyme Hill
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4.15 Aintree – Betway Handicap Chase
A large field handicap but one in which we could see a pretty short price favourite in the shape of Shan Blue.
High class as Novice Chaser things have not really gone to plan for him this season but a mark of 148 could see the Dan Skelton runner well treated if returning to his best.
Oscar Elite and Tea Clipper finished third and fourth in this seasons Ultima Handicap, it`s hard to split the pair this time around.
Both could have more to offer with that large field chase experience under there belt and we know both have ran well in the past over hurdles.
Selection Tea Clipper – Oscar Elite
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The most obviously place to start is last seasons renewal and last seasons winner Minella Times will be looking to emulate the likes of Red Rum and Tiger Roll in becoming dual winner of the race.
Rachel Blackmore will be in the saddle once again but the partnership is no doubt going to find things much tougher of a 15lb higher mark.
Burrows Saint, Blaklion and Discorama all ran well enough last year but it`s Any Second Now who is the one I want to be with from the race. The Ted Walsh trained runner had a torrid trip yet still managed to stay on to finish third in the end.
The gelding is 7lbs higher this time around however given how things played out last year he makes plenty of appeal for a yard who have tasted success in the race previously.
We might have no Tiger Roll yet the same connections look to have leading claims in the shape of Delta Work and Death Duty.
The former makes more appeal as this 5 times grade 1 chase winner looks to follow up his recent Cross-Country victory at the festival were looking to relish his new test. Gordon Elliot himself saddles a total of 7 in the line up with my preference for the lightly raced Escaria Ten.
Yes, he’s only had 7 starts over the larger obstacles which in a race where experience can count for plenty is slight concern however some of those efforts have come in very strong races including a very good third in NH Chase at Cheltenham last seasons.
This looks to have been the long-term season target and his effort behind Any Second Now at Fairyhouse recently suggest this mark could be on the lenient side.
If we are to see a GB based winner then the main hope for me is the Colin Tizzard trained Fiddlerontheroof. A previous graded winner we know he has a touch of class about him and his form this season in a couple of competitive staying handicaps is rock solid.
Generally, a sound jumper and traveller he looks like he could be ideally suited to this test and he also has scope still for improvement over extreme trips.
The grey mare Snow Leopardess would be a popular public winner along with last season favourite Cloth Cap who would have a chance based on handicap ratings if bouncing back to form.
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Selection Any Second Now – Escaria Ten – Fiddlerontheroof
6.20 Aintree – Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race
Such is the dominance of Willie Mullins in these races it`s hard to not expect his runners Rath Gaul Boy and Houlanbatordechais to take all the beating. Paul Nicholls runs the unbeaten Henri The Second and Alan King also looks to have a nice horse in the shape of Ernest Gray. At bigger prices Cruz Control looked to be getting the hang of things when successful in deep ground at Exeter back in January. That forms worked out okay and whilst he needs to improve plenty appeals as the type who could go well at fancy odds.
Selection – Cruz Control
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