Above: Anibale Fly, recommended at 25/1 by Betting.net three weeks ago, may start favourite for today’s superb Grand National
It’s one of the biggest events on the international sporting calendar and the Randox Health Grand National goes off at 515. There are a host of other great races though at Aintree on Saturday, and they’re all analyzed below at Betting.net:
Take Berry For a Dream Start
145 Aintree – Dream Berry was our original recommendation but he is now a non-runner, so it is CONNETABLE, (12/1 with BetVictor), trained by Paul Nicholls and the mount of Harry Cobden, and who ran a great race at Cheltenham, finishing third in the Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle Final, who becomes our first choice. He stays, is in form, handles the ground and should be on the premises once again. Mr Big Shot, who lost his unbeaten record when three places behind Dream Berry at Cheltenham in the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys Handicap Hurdle, still ran a promising race on handicap debut and the extra half mile today should help his cause. He could be a big danger.
Blind Side The One To Watch
225 Aintree – Black Op was an excellent second to Samcro at Cheltenham last month and has strong claims, but the unbeaten ON THE BLIND SIDE (9/4 with Unibet), who missed Cheltenham to focus on this race, comes here a fresher horse. With Nick Henderson already enjoying a terrific meeting, he is fancied to come out on top having run away with a Grade 2 when last seen at Sandown in December.
The mare Momella doesn’t have too much to find with the selection and is also respected, along with the Warren Greatrex-trained Western Ryder
300 Aintree – Assuming the fine PETIT MOUCHOIR (4/7 with BetBright) has recovered from his exertions when fading into third having set a very strong pace in the Arkle Chase won by Footpad at Cheltenham last month (see video below), Henry de Bromhead’s charge should be too good for today’s opposition in what overall looks a sub-standard renewal of this Grade 1 novice chase.
Shantou Rock is a good horse and can take advantage should the selection fail to fire on all cylinders, while the mare Lady Buttons, and the decent Diego Du Charmil have claims to a share of the prize money as well.
340 Aintree – In a tightly knit three-mile handicap chase, the booking of classy 3lb conditional rider James Bowen for Phil Middleton’s HOLLY BUSH HENRY (16/1 each-way with Betway) catches the eye. He ran well over this course and distance in November under a very inexperienced rider, has won twice since, and still seems fairly handicapped. There are a host of potential dangers, with Rocklander, Pearl Swan and Ibis Du Rheu and Thomas Patrick are all feared.
All In On Classy Wholestone
420 Aintree – WHOLESTONE (10/3 with William Hill) and Sam Spinner, third and fifth respectively behind Penhill in last month’s Stayers’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival (see video below), bring the pick of the form to the table for this Grade 1 three-mile event. There was little more than a length between them that day so it should be close once again, but Nigel Twiston-Davies’ charge is marginally preferred to once again get the better of the gallant Jedd O’Keefe-trained Sam Spinner.
If Champion Hurdle fourth Identity Thief stays this extra mile he could be a massive danger, but it’s a big ‘if’, while The World’s End won over C&D at this meeting last year in the novices event and was only just over a length behind Sam Spinner at Cheltenham last time so could be a danger.
Anibale Can Fly To Grand National Glory
515 Aintree (GRAND NATIONAL) – Our three ante-post recommendations have all been the subject of major market moves, so anyone who stepped in three weeks ago will be sitting pretty. All we need now is for one of them to do the business!
Anibale Fly (recommended each-way at 25/1) is nowa top priced 12/1 shot with William Hill with punters latching on to the fact that he is undeniably well handicapped on the evidence of his excellent third in the Cheltenham Gold Cup behind Native River and Might Bite (see video below). We remain confident that with luck-in-running he will give a very good account of himself under Barry Geraghty.
Seeyouatmidnight (recommended each-way at 33/1) is now a top priced 16/1 shot with Bet365. The 2016 Scottish National third subsequently ran well at Newbury a few weeks’ ago to ensure qualification for the National and was then sold earlier this week in a private deal to David and Patricia Thompson of the Cheveley Park Stud. He remains with long-time trainer Sandy Thomson, and the excellent Brian Hughes will ride.
I Just Know was out longshot recommendation at 66/1 each-way, but he’s not a longshot any more, hisproice having steadily contracted to current odds of just 25/1 with Boylesports. Sue Smith’s charge ran away with the North Yorkshire Grand National at Catterick earlier this term and had a fine pipe-opener over hurles last time. He bids to give his handler a second win in the race following 66/1 Aurora’s Encore in 2013.
There are a host of other contenders in with a proper chance, the ones we most fear are last year’s fourth-paced Blaklion, the Cheltenham Cross Country Chase winner Tiger Roll, and the enigmatic trio of Ucello Conti, Regal Encore and Buywise.
Our Grand National 1-2-3 remains: 1 – Anibale Fly, 2- Seeyouatmidnight, 3 – I Just Know.
620 Aintree – MICHAEL’S MOUNT (5/1 with Paddy Power) is the suggestion in a wide open two-mile handicap hurdle that brings the curtain down on a tremendous meeting. Ian Williams’ charge is two from three over hurdles having previously won four on the Flat for Ed Dunlop. His only defeat came when third in a Grade 2 and he remains open to further progress over timber.
William of Orange scored nicely at Haydock last time and might still be just ahead of the handicapper, while both the unexposed Gordon Elliott-trained High Expectations and Chesterfield, fourth in the County Hurdle at last month’s Cheltenham Festival, should also give a good account of themselves.
Written by Paul Alster
Paul Alster has been part of the British and international racing media for more than three decades working as a race commentator, TV/radio presenter, journalist, betting correspondent, SP returner, and form analyst. He’s always sought out overpriced runners in handicap races, a quest that excites him as much now as it did at the start of his career.