THE Grand National is back – and SunSport have been busy poring over the form and stats for months in order to bring you all the top tips.
Here, SunSport’s racing guru Steve Mullen – Templegate to you and me – goes through every race on day one of the Grand National Festival.Fergie could be celebrating three winners on day one of the Grand National Festival[/caption]
He runs the rule over the runners and reveals his pick in each contest at Aintree on the first day of the iconic meet.
And keep an eye out for Sir Alex Ferguson’s horses in the first three races – which could land a 108-1 treble.
1.45 Manifesto Novices’ Chase
HITMAN got back on track with an easy victory at Newbury last time after taking a tumble in the Grade 1 Scilly Isles Chase at Sandown in February.
OFFERS OF THE DAY
Paddy Power: New customers only. Place your FIRST bet on any sportsbook market and if it loses we will refund your stake in CASH. Max refund for this offer is £20. Only deposits made using Cards or Apple Pay will qualify for this promotion. T&Cs apply. Paddy’s Rewards Club: Get a £10 free bet when you place 5x bets of £10+. T&Cs apply. 18+ Begambleaware.org
He was going nicely at the time and would surely have figured in the finish.
Paul Nicholls thinks a lot of him and the decision to swerve Cheltenham for this race can pay dividends.
Fusil Raffles did run at the Festival and went well in the Marsh when second to stablemate Chantry House.
A mistake at the final fence didn’t help but he’s a good jumper on the whole.
This trip clearly suits and he’ll go close if this isn’t coming too soon.
Eldorado Allen should be boosted by this longer distance after chasing home Shishkin in the Arkle.
He was understandably ridden for the place and didn’t have too hard a race. He could probably do with a bit more give in the ground but looks open to improvement.
The Shunter goes from strength to strength and followed a big hurdles win at Kelso with victory in the Paddy Power Plate at the Festival to land a £100,000 bonus.
This is another big step up in class but you can’t write him off and he has plenty of staying power.
Umbrigado battled well to take the Grade 3 Greatwood Gold Cup at Newbury last month. He stays well but takes on stronger opposition.
Most read in Horse Racing
Protektorat – co-owned by Fergie – won his first two chases in style but has come up short since. The Skeltons are in great form but he has a lot on his plate.
Phoenix Way is best watched after breaking a blood vessel when pulled up at Sandown.
2.20 Doom Bar Anniversary Juvenile Hurdle
MONMIRAL, also owned by Fergie, is unbeaten in four starts and was impressive when following a Grade 2 success with a bloodless victory at Haydock in February.
The form of that contest is working out well with the third going close in the Fred Winter at Cheltenham.
But Paul Nicholls’ four-year-old was a mile clear without having to hit top gear. There could be a lot more to come.
Adagio has done nothing wrong and has a Grade 1 success on his CV from Chepstow in January. He matched that form when finishing second in the Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham last time when staying on well up the hill.
GRAND NATIONAL: GET £200 IN FREE BETS FOR FESTIVAL AT AINTREE
Given his form there and in south Wales, you’d be a little worried about this speed track but his raw ability can carry him into the frame again.
Fiveandtwenty is improving with every run and landed a Musselburgh Listed prize with four lengths to spare last time. He didn’t have to hit top gear and deserves this crack at the highest level but will have to take another step forward.
Nicky Henderson has won the past two runnings of this but Paros will have to raise his game after taking a modest contest 13 days ago.
John Locke could be a bigger treat for Team Skelton. He was thrown into the Adonis Hurdle at Kempton on debut and wasn’t disgraced.
He’s a winner on the Flat and his speed will be an asset.
2.50 Betway Bowl
CLAN DES OBEAUX, the other Fergie horse, has been in the frame for the past two runnings of this race and can get his head in front.
He has been in decent form this season and put up a decent defence of his King George crown when third. He stepped up on that to go down in a tight finish at Newbury last time and the first-time cheekpieces could just liven him up a little bit.
We know this trip and track suit so he should be right there.
It will be interesting to see how Tiger Roll gets on back over conventional fences for the first time in almost four years.
He put a couple of poor runs behind him to destroy his rivals in the Cross-Country Chase at Cheltenham.Tiger Roll is back at Aintree… but not in the Grand National race itself[/caption]
His Grand National form speaks for itself and his rating gives him every chance. But this is the stiffest opposition he’s faced and he’ll have to be right at his best to figure.
Waiting Patiently is on a long losing run but ran a cracker when second in the King George before disappointing at Ascot. He’s had a break since and seems to be best when fresh.
Native River would like the ground softer but has gone well at Aintree before and was far from disgraced when fourth in the Gold Cup last time.
3.25 Aintree Hurdle
JASON THE MILITANT was impressive when making all to beat some useful rivals in a Fairyhouse Grade 3 last time.
He shapes as though stepping up to this distance will suit and comes from the top team of Henry De Bromhead and Rachael Blackmore. It’s still early days and he can improve.
Mcfabulous disappointed when beaten at Fontwell last time when jumping badly. He looked a real machine when scooting in at Kempton before that and this track should be ideal. He stays well and is a big danger.
Brewin’upastorm got the better of him in that National Spirit Hurdle when showing plenty of pace. That turn of foot will be an asset at Aintree and he has every chance of figuring again.
Buveur D’Air looks a big price if able to show anything like his best form. He has a first and second to his name in this race and looked in need of his second at Haydock in January.
Nicky Henderson’s horses are going well and it would be no surprise if he runs well.
Abacadabras took an early tumble in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham and is a Grade 1 winner at best.
He would probably like the ground softer but has plenty of quality and should get home.
Song For Someone won well at Cheltenham in December before a modest effort at Wincanton. He has run well at Kempton so this track should suit but he needs more.
Silver Streak has improved since finishing fifth in this race two years ago and likes a speed track. He struggled at Cheltenham last month though which is a worry.
4.05 Foxhunters’ Open Hunters’ Chase
BILLAWAY ran well when second in the Cheltenham version of this and is reunited with top amateur Patrick Mullins.
He likes to be up front, no bad thing over these big fences and has staying power.
Some Man had 12 lengths in hand scoring at Down Royal last month when jumping well. He has more to offer and looks a good each-way bet.
Sametegal has jumped round here twice with a third and sixth in the Grand Sefton under his belt. He struck at Wincanton last time before running below his best at Fontwell. He can bounce back from that and won’t be far away.
Stablemate Cat Tiger can give galloping dentist David Maxwell a good spin round if repeating the form of his easy Leicester win last month.
He has form at Auteuil, which takes some jumping. Reliable Sam Waley-Cohen is good over these fences and his ride Dashing Perk is on the shortlist.
Latenightpass ran well at Cheltenham and is another to consider.
4.40 Red Rum Handicap Chase
ON THE SLOPES put in an excellent effort in the Grand Annual at Cheltenham last time.
He was alongside the winner jumping the final fence but was run out of it up the hill. This flatter track should suit, as it did when he won at Kempton last year, and he goes off the same mark over an ideal trip.
Destrier has long had this race as his target and will find these conditions more to his liking than muddy Chepstow last time. He was third in a Grade 1 here as a youngster so has enough class to figure.
Getaway Trump is not known for his battling qualities but he behaved impeccably when scoring on his handicap debut at Doncaster.
That wasn’t as strong a race as this but he is a spring horse who gets his favourite ground again. That should ensure another good run.
Grey Diamond was impressive at Sandown last month and could have more to offer for in-form trainer Sam Thomas. This is a hotter contest but he has place claims.Top trainer Nicholls will be hoping for a big Aintree after a quiet Cheltenham[/caption]
Moon Over Germany could shine under Jordan Gainford. He won this race in 2019 and is only 6lb higher thanks to his jockey’s claim. He was held in a Navan Grade 3 latest but this will have been the target.
Frero Banbou jumped like a buck when tanking in at Sandown last time. He enjoyed the decent ground and even a 13lb rise in the weights gives him a chance.
Editeur Du Gite jumped much better when scoring at Newbury when dropping back to this sort of trip.
A repeat could see him in the mix, while Sully D’Oc AA could outrun his odds after a fair Festival effort.
5.15 Goffs UK Nickel Coin Mares’ Standard Open National Hunt Flat
ELLE EST BELLE was a winner here on debut and ran a belter when third in the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham last time.
She was no match for the Irish superstars but was comfortably best of the Brits and finished the race strongly. She can take another step forward and looks hard to beat.
Eileendover swerved the Festival with this race in mind after hammering her rivals to take a Market Rasen Listed prize in January.
That form has been franked and she has loads of pace. It’s a slight concern that she relished heavy ground last time and conditions will be quicker here.
Nicky Henderson has enjoyed success in this race and Mind Sunday looks the pick of his pair.
She took a big step forward when scooting in by ten lengths at Newbury last month. She was coming back from a year off there so should improve again.
Miss Lamb was no match for Eileendover last time but it was a good effort and she could hit the frame again. She’s won on the all-weather so will have no issues with the better ground.
Wheres Maud Gone struck on debut at Thurles and followed up on her UK debut at Ayr last month. This is a hotter contest but it’s early days and there should be more to come.
Michael Bell is better known on the Flat but his Heartbreaker caught the eye when scoring on debut at Fakenham just nine days ago.
Finest View quickened up well when getting off the mark at the first time of asking at Lingfield in February. That wasn’t a hot race but trainer Alan King will have extracted plenty of improvement since then. Decent ground will suit and she can’t be ruled out.
FREE BETS GET OVER £2,000 IN SIGN UP OFFERS HERE
Commercial content notice: Taking one of the bookmaker offers featured in this article may result in a payment to The Sun. 18+. T&Cs apply. Begambleaware.org
Remember to gamble responsibly
A responsible gambler is someone who:
- Establishes time and monetary limits before playing
- Only gambles with money they can afford to lose
- Never chase their losses
- Doesn’t gamble if they’re upset, angry or depressed
- Gamcare – www.gamcare.org.uk
- Gamble Aware – www.begambleaware.org