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Grand National 2018 Tips

It’s Randox Health Grand National day at Aintree this afternoon and the world’s greatest horserace will be an even greater test of stamina this year with the going officially described as heavy, soft in places.  Although a dry and sunny day is forecast, that may actually make things worse as the ground could turn very gluey by the off time of 5.15pm.

Randox Health Grand National Handicap Chase    

Conditions won’t help those at the top of the handicap as it is very hard to carry big weights over long distances with so much give underfoot. It may be worth ruling out all of those carrying over 11 stone, although of the runners above that threshold TOTAL RECALL and CARLINGFORD LOUGH are the two we like most.

The former won the Hennessy and was running okay in the Gold Cup when falling three out. It would have been interesting to see where he would have finished compared to Anibale Fly had he stood up, but he gets a few pounds from that rival here and has looked a stayer to follow since moving to Willie Mullins. He easily could run well today, but be denied by the conditions in the closing stages.

Carlingford Lough has won the Irish Gold Cup twice, including on heavy ground in 2016. He has been out of form this season, but he is always a much better horse in the spring and these fences could revive him. If they do, he is on a very handy mark and his trainer is second to none when it comes to preparing a horse for the big day.

Another Irish runner, UCELLO CONTI, also looks to have a big chance. We tipped him for the race last year and he was still travelling really well down the inner when badly hampered at Becher’s. That interference caused him to unseat his rider, so it wasn’t really a jumping error on his part and he generally has a fine record in big field handicap chases. If he can cope with the ground, and put in a clear round, he looks to have a massive chance off of a perfect weight.

Pick of the English runners looks to be the up and coming stayer, I JUST KNOW.

He showed real stamina when running out the impressive winner of a 3m 6f contest at Carlisle on his last chasing start and he prepared for this with a nice spin over hurdles four weeks ago.  His shrewd yard knows how to win the race and he tends to be a very sound jumper. The fact that he likes to race up with the pace is another big plus as it is usually hard to come from too far off the pace in Nationals these days.

Another proven stayer is RAZ DE MAREE and the winner of this year’s Welsh National couldn’t have more perfect conditions today. He also has the not inconsiderable assistance of Robbie Power from the saddle and he has had a nice break to freshen up for this after his Chepstow success. He was eighth in 2014 and if he can hold his position early he can come home strongest of them all at the death.

Of the big outsiders, don’t rule out former Gold Cup winner, LORD WINDERMERE. He could probably do with better ground to be at his best, but you don’t see many horses who have reached the pinnacle of the sport running in a National with a weight of just 10st 7lbs a few years later. He has clearly been laid out for this and showed a liking for the fences when a never nearer seventh here last season.

Baie Des Iles, Shantou Flyer, Pleasant Company, Houblon Des Obeaux and Seeyouatmidnight are others to consider in a wide open renewal, where few horses can be entirely written off as no hopers.

Betfred and Paddy Power are offering 6 places for each-way bets on the National.

1st – Ucello Conti (ew)5.15 Aintree20/1Betfred
2nd – Raz De Maree (ew)5.15 Aintree22/1Betfred
3rd – I Just Know (ew)5.15 Aintree18/1Paddy Power
4th – Total Recall (ew)5.15 Aintree14/1Betfair
5th – Carlingford Lough (ew)5.15 Aintree50/1Betfred
6th – Lord Windermere (ew)5.15 Aintree66/1Betfred, Paddy Power


All odds quoted are subject to change

Gaskells Handicap Hurdle     

There’s a cracking supporting card at Aintree today and the action gets underway with a three mile handicap hurdle at 1.45pm.

There are a number of unexposed stayers in the line-up and the pick of them looks to be RED INDIAN who has surely been crying out for this 3 mile trip. He stayed on really well to finish sixth in the Coral Cup on his last start and can race off of the same mark here.

DEBECE is the main threat as he was a really progressive novice last year and ran particularly well on his final start over course and distance in a grade 1 at this meeting. He looks well treated in his first handicap if back to his best after a lay off.

There is also surely more to come from FIXE LE KAP, who pay prefer this flatter track and longer trip. Nicky Henderson will undoubtedly be getting him back to the form he showed in France soon and, hopefully, today will be the day.

Paddy Power and Bet365 are offering 5 places for each-way bets on this race.

Red Indian (ew)1.45 Aintree8/1Paddy Power
Debece (ew)1.45 Aintree8/1Paddy Power
Fixe Le Kap (ew)1.45 Aintree14/1Bet365


All odds quoted are subject to change

Betway Mersey Novices’ Hurdle     

Henderson can also take the Mersey Hurdle that follows. On form, it looks a two horse race between Black Op and ON THE BLIND SIDE and preference is for the latter who missed Cheltenham and, therefore, comes here a fresh horse.

Of those at bigger prices, Western Ryder can go well for the in form Warran Greatrex. He was sixth in the Supreme and this longer trip should suit. However, it will also suit the Supreme seventh, LOSTINTRANSLATION, and he may have more improvement in him.

Also look out for BETTER GETALONG, who is better than his price suggests. Davy Russell is an interesting jockey booking for Nicky Richards.

On The Blind Side (win)2.25 Aintree13/8Bet365
Lostintranslation (ew)2.25 Aintree14/1Bet365
Better Getalong (ew)2.25 Aintree50/1Unibet


All odds quoted are subject to change

Doom Bar Maghull Novices’ Chase     

The Maghull Novices’ Chase will surely go the way of Petit Mouchoir, provided he puts in a clear round, but he is priced accordingly. If you are going to back him then may be put him in a double with On The Blind Side.

If there is to be a shock, we like SHANTOU ROCK who comes here fresh. His front running tactics will be suited to this sharp track.

 Shantou Rock (ew)3.00 Aintree8/1Bet365


All odds quoted are subject to change

Betway Handicap Chase      

The last chase before the big one is a competitive handicap over three miles and a furlong.

It will be interesting to see if IBIS DU RHEU can find improvement here now stepped up in trip. He still looks well treated over fences, whilst lightweights BELLS OF AILSWORTH and VERY FIRST TIME look to have plenty in their favour as they act on the ground.

Ibis Du Rheu (ew)3.40 Aintree 8/1Bet365
Bells Of Ailsworth (ew)3.40 Aintree10/1Bet365
Very First Time (ew)3.40 Aintree16/1Bet365


All odds quoted are subject to change

Ryanair Stayers Hurdle

The Ryanair Hurdle sees a number of horses looking to gain compensation after failing to win the Stayers Hurdle at the Festival. Of them, we think THE WORLDS END can fare best as he seems to be gradually finding his form this season. He won a grade 1 over course and distance here last season and looks to have very solid each way claims.

The Worlds End (ew)4.20 Aintree10/1Betfred


All odds quoted are subject to change

Pinsent Masons Handicap Hurdle    

Finally, if you don’t manage to find the winner of the National and need to try to get some ammunition back before the end of the day look out for HIGH EXPECTATIONS and BROUGHTONS ADMIRAL in the last.

Paddy Power are offering 5 places for each way bets on this race (3 elsewhere).

High Expectations (ew)6.20 Aintree 8/1Paddy Power
Broughtons Admiral (ew)6.20 Aintree22/1Paddy Power


All odds quoted are subject to change