After a successful day two, we will look to continue our good form as Grand National day arrives, and there is plenty of very competitive action to get stuck into. Tips by Josh Bradley.
Ladies’ Day was a great day for our selections, as we landed 16/1 and 9/4 winners, thanks to Ma Filleule and Josses Hill, who ensure we will see out the week with profit regardless of what happens on Saturday. These winners were coupled with a couple of good priced place selections, with Cheltenian snatching a place, advised at 12/1, and Tara Mist, advised at 7/1.
1:30pm Pertemps Network Mersey Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1)
A rather weak looking Grade One field, can be taken advantage of by the Alan King trained, Wilde Blue Yonder.
The 5-y-o has had his fair of jumping woes, falling on three of his last starts over hurdles, however it is latest run that is the arguably the most valuable piece of form in the entire race.
He finished fifth behind Vautour in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and the form of the race has worked out exceptionally well so far, with Josses Hill (second) and Sgt Reckless (fourth) finishing first and second in a Grade Two on Ladies’ Day at Aintree.
He stayed on extremely well that day, over 2m 1f, and the step-up in trip looks set to suit, so if his jumping manages to hold out, he could well strike while the irons hot and capitalise on his last good run.
TIP: WILDE BLUE YONDER 5/1 with Ladbrokes, 9/2 with Betvictor and Stan James
2:05pm Doom Bar Maghull Novices’ Chase (Grade 1)
The Maghull Novices’ Chase looks set to be a high class affair, with Trifolium, Hinterland and Balder Success all looking to have a massive chance.
Hinterland unseated his rider in the Champion Chase when going well, after previously landing a Grade One Novices’ Chase at Sandown. He is in with a major chance, should his fall not have affected his confidence.
Balder Success was fifth behind Hinterland when he landed his Group One, but the 6-y-o has since been out and taken two Grade two’s in impressive fashion. He bypassed Cheltenham and arrives at Aintree fresh, meaning he is a real contender.
However the bet of the race is Arkle third, Trifolium, who is the one they all have to beat.
The 7-y-o had a top class hurdling career, before making a smooth transition to fences, where he has already won the Irish Arkle, and been placed in the English equivalent.
He is firmly on the upgrade, and as long as his Cheltenham race hasn’t taken too much out of him, he should prove very hard to beat back on a flatter track. His jumping is sound, and his strong travelling style should be a major asset on Saturday.
TIP: TRIFOLIUM 10/3 with Stan James, 3/1 with Skybet and Ladbrokes
2:50pm Silver Cross Stayers’ Hurdle (Registered As The Liverpool Hurdle) (Grade 1)
A high class staying hurdle race is next on the card, and World Hurdle third, At Fishers Cross, looks a worthy favourite, after winning a similar race at the festival last year.
He bounced back from a slow start to the season to finish second in the Cleeve Hurdle, before finishing a solid third in the World Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. His course form is impressive and he is sure to have plenty of fans on Saturday.
However the bet is going to be Zarkandar, who finished fourth in the same race, but was extremely unlucky on reflection. Held up in the last pair, he wasn’t put into the race until the bird had already flown, and by the time he real got into gear and started staying on powerfully, he had no chance of catching the front three.
Ridden more prominently tomorrow by Noel Fehily, the Paul Nicholls’ gelding could go much closer, and win at the meeting for the second consecutive year, after he beat The New One (who won here on Thursday), in the Aintree Hurdle. He has won two out of the three times he has been to the track, falling when well fancied on his other run. He should go very close at an enticing price.
TIP: ZARKANDAR 7/2 with Betvictor and Coral
3:25pm Betfred TV Handicap Chase (Listed)
What looks a likely competitive race on paper could well go the way of Victor Hewgo, who boasts impressive form lines with top class horses.
He finished three-quarters-of-a-length runner-up to Hollywell on his penultimate start, and the horse has since been out and franked the form, by winning at the Cheltenham festival and a Grade One at Aintree on Friday.
The 9-y-o was beaten a neck on his first start over chases, by eventual Arkle winner Western Warhorse, after a 282 day lay-off and has since managed to win twice over the obstacles. He looks a solid jumper and has won his only race over 3m 110 yards, so the distance is no worry, and if he can replicate his reason solid form, he will prove very tough to beat off a lovely racing weight of 10st 12lb.
TIP: VICTOR HEWGO 7/2 with Paddy Power, 10/3 with Betvictor and Betfred
4 15pm Crabbie’s Grand National Chase (Grade 3 Handicap)
It’s that time of year again, when forty runners descend across the hallowed Aintree turf, to attempt to etch their name in history.
It is always incredibly difficult to select the winner, but it may pay to back the class horses, and there is none classier than former Cheltenham Gold Cup hero, Long Run.
He is aiming to become the first horse since L’Escargot in 1975 to land both the Cheltenham Gold Cup, and the Grand National, and his connections have all had a great week so far, which bodes well for his challenge.
Sam Waley-Cohen has a fantastic record over fences, and took the Fox Hunter’s in great style, with Warne who is owned by his father Robert, the same connections of Long Run on Saturday.
His trainer Nicky Henderson had three winners on Friday, and comes into the race with his horses firing on all cylinders.
If he can replicate his fantastic form over fences from over the last three years, the recent modifications of the race will play into his hands, and his class should see him through. He is a very solid each-bet at the prices.
TIP: LONG RUN 14/1 with William Hill, 12/1 with Ladbrokes, Betfred and Skybet
5 10pm Maxilead Metals Handicap Hurdle (Conditional Jockeys And Amateur Riders) (Class 2)
Katgary can round off a good week for Paul Nicholls, as the 4-year-old takes his place in the race, off a nice weight. He has only been since once in Britain, finishing an unlucky runner-up in the Fred Winter at Cheltenham.
He was hampered two out when making his move at Cheltenham, and only just failed in his pursuit of eventual winner Hawk High.
He possesses plenty of speed and athletic jumping, and will love the good ground on offer at Aintree. He has only been given a seven pound rise, which seems fair, and if he manages to carry on his strong upward curve, the young pretender could lay down a marker for the big hurdles races next season, when he is a five-year-old.
TIP: KATGARY 9/2 with Skybet and Ladbrokes
5 45pm Weatherbys Private Banking Champion Standard Open NH Flat Race (Grade 2)
The traditional Aintree bumper rounds of proceedings and a fantastic three days at Aintree. It is always extremely competitive and this year is no different, as the bookmakers are offering fantastic odds on every runner.
It may pay to take a chance on Charlie Longsdon’s Our Kaempfer, who disappointed in the Cheltenham version after a length lay-off.
He looked as though he would come on for the run, after travelling well for a long way, before weakening late on. This race looks a lot less difficult, and if he can kick0on from that disappointing run, and improve on the form that seen him finish third to the highly rated Red Sherlock last November, he should be there or there abouts at a very tasty price, to round out what has hopefully been a very successful punting week.