A race that captures the imagination of sports fans right around the world, the Aintree Grand National is finally here and we’ve got every race on the card covered.
13:45 Gaskells Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3)
No Hassle Hoff looks a major player at around 5/1 in what will be his first outing in a handicap. Since opening his account with consummate ease at Hereford in November, he’s run with enormous credit in three Graded novice events. Stamina is not a worry and off bottom weight, he has clear credentials for the Skelton team. Barney Dwan was floored by Presenting Percy at Cheltenham but at odds of 15/2 he holds fair claims of compensation now.
14:25 Betway Mersey Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1)
The unbeaten Finian’s Oscar is 3/1 to maintain his winning record and with Colin Tizzard enjoying a blistering Friday, he’s certain to be popular coming here having missed Cheltenham. This looks to be an above average renewal of this contest and there are plenty with excellent claims. Le Breuil is also unbeaten over timber and scored both successes in emphatic style, he is 6/1 to continue winning ways. At a much bigger price of 20/1 La Bague Au Roi could be capable of having a say after faltering up the Cheltenham hill last time.
15:00 Doom Bar Maghull Novices’ Chase (Grade 1)
Charbel is odds on at 8/11 to gain compensation for his fall in the Arkle at Cheltenham. He was in the process of serving it up to the supremely talented Altior then and, provided that race and that fall has not impacted on him too greatly, he has obvious claims of compensation. Given the restricted odds, it might be worth siding with Politologue for champion trainer Paul Nicholls at 5/1. He ran well in the JLT last month and should be right at home on this flat track.
15:40 Betway Handicap Chase (Listed)
Starchitect was anything but disgraced in an ultra-competitive handicap at Cheltenham last time and, at 6/1, David Pipe’s charge should run another huge race here with blinkers back on over a longer trip. He’ll need to be at his very best however with the likes of lightly-raced and appropriately named Emerging Force at 11/2 and handicap debutant Value At Risk at 8/1 potentially having big roles to play.
16:20 Ryanair Stayers Liverpool Hurdle (Grade 1)
This is set to revolve around Champion Hurdle flop and 15/8 favourite Yanworth, who tackles three miles for the first time. His jumping remains open to debate but trainer Alan King clearly feels he’ll stay this trip. Ballyoptic looks a worthy adversary at 8/1 having spent much of the season in the shadow of Unowhatimeanharry and trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies now has his string in good form. Cole Harden, a former winner of the Stayers’ Hurdle himself, is 5/1 and will be ridden prominently on this better ground that he will relish.
17:15 Randox Health Grand National (Grade 3 Handicap Chase)
The most watched jumps race of the year! Another thriller looks to be in store and there has been plenty of support for 12/1 chance More Of That since Barry Geraghty confirmed his intention to ride. He is a classy individual and can run a big race if taking to the National fences. Paul Nicholls appears sweet on the hopes of 20/1 chance Saphir Du Rheu, another top-level performer and a previous winner at this meeting. Former Irish Grand National winner Thunder And Roses has been in good heart lately and could make it back-to-back wins for trainer Mouse Morris. In a race of endless possibilities, 14/1 shot One For Arthur looks to strike a blow for Scotland and he already shaped well over these fences in the Becher Chase before romping to success at Warwick most recently.
18:15 Pinsent Masons Handicap Hurdle (Conditional Jockeys And Amateur Riders) (Class 2)
A competitive contest to end proceedings and recent Ascot winner So Celebre is 6/1 to defy a penalty and take down his elders. It’s a tough ask, but he looks progressive and clearly shouldn’t be underestimated. Chesterfield has been going the right way all season and could have a pot like this in him at 11/1 while the unexposed Cousin Oscar is 12/1 to put the famous McCain name on the winner’s board on Grand National day.
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