Grand National Day has arrived and 38 doughty contestants are due to line up for a slog through the Aintree mud at 5.15 this afternoon.
With conditions attritional, this race takes on the look of the National Lottery and it’s only 2-1 with our bookmaker friends that more than 12 make it to the finishing line. However, it is what it is and we take the view that class will out, so our first selection (of 3) is the Willie Mullins’ trained Total Recall, which is available at a general 12-1.
Winner of what will always be known as The Hennessey, this 9-y-o was staying on well in the Cheltenham Gold Cup before coming down 4 from home. An unusual prep race, we grant you, but today has been the target since Newbury and Paul Townend’s mount will be keeping on when others have called it a day.
Our second pick is also from the Gold Cup and that is the horse that finished strongly into third place, Anibale Fly, which is available at 14-1. Although handicap ratings don’t count as much in this race as in ‘normal’ ones, AF is officially 9lbs well in, has Barry Geraghty up top and a profile which mirrors that of Rough Quest, the 1996 winner.
Our third selection is more of the archetypal ‘sporting’ nature, but after our earlier ‘fright’ this week with a 100-1 shot, we can’t resist recommending another and that is Double Ross. This 12-y-o was going on strongly in this race two years ago when the saddle slipped and it had to be pulled up after the 24th fence. Warmed up for today with a staying on 4th in the Kim Muir at Cheltenham and Tom Bellamy just could be in for an exciting time.
The card starts with the Gaskells Handicap Hurdle over 3 miles at 1.45 and has a field of 20. Our selections here are the very well-handicapped Debece at 8-1 and the Irish raider Ah Littleluck at 12-1, both suggested each way.
The Betway Mersey Novices’ Hurdle at 2.25 is a burn-up between Black Op and On The Blind Side if the market is to be believed, but we are going to oppose them both with an each way bet on Euxton Lane at 28-1. On a flimsy collateral line, this 6-y-o comes out on a par with the aforementioned Black Op and could cause a surprise.
The Doom Bar Maghull Novices’ Chase at 3.00 has an odds-on favourite in the shape of the Irish raider Petit Mouchoir, which is trading at a very skinny 4-7. On ratings this will win, but we think that an each way bet on Lady Buttons at 6-1 could well pay dividends.
At 3.40, 17 runners go to post for the Betway Handicap Chase and the improving Thomas Patrick is favourite at 9-2. With the Tom Lacey yard still in blinding form, this should be backed each way to give ‘Dear Dickie’ a welcome winner. We also recommend an each way investment on the back-to-form Paper Lantern at 12-1.
The stayers take centre stage at 4.20 in the Ryanair Stayers Hurdle, when Sam Spinner and Wholestone cross swords yet again and, frankly, we don’t have a clear view which will prevail today – just watch is the advice.
After the thrills and spills of the National at 5.15, the meeting ends on a high note (not) with the Pinsent Masons Handicap Hurdle for Conditionals and Amateurs, with the ‘dead’ 16 due to run.
We can finish off the meeting in style with an each way lump on Scheu Time at 13-2.
Total Recall 5.15 Aintree e/w @ 12-1 (6 places)
Anibale Fly 5.15 Aintree e/w @ 14-1 (6 places)
Double Ross 5.15 Aintree e/w @ 100-1 (6 places)
Debece 1.45 Aintree e/w @ 8-1 (5 places)
Ah Littleluck 1.45 Aintree e/w @ 12-1 (5 places)
Euxton Lane 2.25 Aintree e/w @ 28-1
Lady Buttons 3.00 Aintree e/w @ 6-1 (2 places)
Thomas Patrick 3.40 Aintree e/w @ 9-2 (4 places)
Paper Lantern 3.40 Aintree e/w @ 12-1 (4 places)
Scheu Time 6.20 Aintree e/w @ 13-2 (5 places)
* Total Recall – 1990 film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger