Today’s Grand National looks set to be run in almost summer like weather on Merseyside and it is worth bearing in mind the post time of 5.15pm. The late start means the ground will have had another full day to dry out so those horses who are relentless stayers or need soft ground are likely to be up against it.
Grand National 2017
Class may well come to the fore, but this looks the most competitive Grand National for years and it would be no real surprise were any of about 25 of these to claim the most high profile race in our sport.
Given the depth of their success at the Cheltenham Festival recently it would be foolish to ignore the Irish raiding party and we think their strongest challengers could be horses representing their strongest trainers – UCELLO CONTI for Gordon Elliott and PLEASANT COMPANY for Willie Mullins.
More Of That is arguably the class horse in the race, but there isn’t much on that score between him and SAPHIR DU RHEU and preference is for the Nicholls runner on the basis that More Of That has had issues in the past that could re-surface here. He and THE YOUNG MASTER look the pick of the home contingent.
The Young Master has been laid out for this and ran a really encouraging race at the Festival recently. He couldn’t have a better pilot aboard and loves these conditions.
It would be no surprise to see another very big price winner and of the long shots we like SHANTOU FLYER on ground that could see him improve again.
Measureofmydreams, O’Faolains Boy, Regal Encore and Thunder And Roses are other big outsiders to consider.
|Ucello Conti (ew)||5.15 Aintree||25/1||Bet365|
|Pleasant Company (ew)||5.15 Aintree||16/1||Bet365|
|Saphir Du Rheu (ew)||5.15 Aintree||25/1||Bet365|
|The Young Master (ew)||5.15 Aintree||25/1||Stan James|
|Shantou Flyer (ew)||5.15 Aintree||80/1||Bet365|
Mersey Novices’ Hurdle
The Mersey Novices’ Hurdle sees the return of Finians Oscar, who missed Cheltenham through injury. Colin Tizzard bounced back to form in style here yesterday, so everything looks set for a big run but the horse is a short enough price in a competitive looking race.
CAPTAIN FOREZ is a horse we have been following all season. He is improving all the time and will also enjoy the step up in trip. He will be a smashing chaser in time, but has the potential to win a big prize over hurdles first.
|Captain Forez (ew)||2.25 Aintree||14/1||Bet365|
Maghull Novices’ Chase
The Maghull Novices Chase should go to CHARBEL provided he is over his fall at Cheltenham. He is likely to have too much speed for the others around here.
|Charbel (win)||3.00 Aintree||10/11||Unibet|
Betway Handicap Chase
A better betting heat is the Betway Chase where 18 handicappers go to post.
Two unexposed chasers in Value At Risk and EMERGING FORCE look to have massive chances and we slightly prefer Emerging Force. Both are well treated on their hurdles form, but the selection goes well fresh and is proven over the trip.
Plenty of outsiders can be fancied including FULL CRY for Henry De Bromhead. He warmed up for this over an inadequate trip and on ground he would have hated at Thurles recently. Earlier in the season he was developing into a smart novice on this sort of ground.
Relentless Dreamer should go well too, but the outsider of the field, RUBEN COTTER, shouldn’t be ignored on his first start for a new yard. If he has been revitalised by the move he could cause a shock in first time headgear.
|Emerging Force (ew)||3.25 Aintree||7/1||Unibet|
|Full Cry (ew)||3.25 Aintree||20/1||Stan James|
|Ruben Cotter (ew)||3.25 Aintree||40/1||Bet365|
Ryanair Stayers Liverpool Hurdle
The Liverpool Hurdle precedes the big one and Yanworth will be hoping to put his Champion Hurdle disappointment behind him over this longer trip.
However, we prefer a horse we tipped up for the Stayers Hurdle at Cheltenham, SNOW FALCON. He could only finish fifth there, but is worth another chance on this different sort of track.
TAQUIN DE SEUIL is interesting too as the switch to hurdles seemed to revitalise him in the Coral Cup. If you fancy Supasundae then Jonjo’s horse must have a squeak too and he is a much bigger price.
|Snow Falcon (ew)||4.20 Aintree||10/1||Bet365|
|Taquin De Seuil (ew)||4.20 Aintree||20/1||Bet365|
Pinsent Masons Handicap Hurdle
In the getting out stakes after the National we like CHESTERFIELD, MASTER OF FINANCE and ZALVADOS in what is sure to be a fast run race coutesy of Wakea.
|Chesterfield (ew)||6.15 Aintree||8/1||Stan James|
|Master Of Finance (ew)||6.15 Aintree||14/1||Stan James|
|Zalvados (ew)||6.15 Aintree||16/1||Paddy Power|