Photo courtesy of Fran (@Riosrider)
Here we are then! The big one! The Grand National is here, the world's greatest steeplechase. Millions will be watching, hundreds of thousands will be there – what a spectacle it is! I hope first and foremost that all the horses and jockeys come back safe and sound. The changes that have been made to the track should encourage this and it will prevent these do gooders chirping up about horse safety too. It will be a cracking race – I'm hoping I've got the winner for the first time in 25 years!! See my report below for my four selections for the race.
This is what the twitter gamble guys are going for in the race :
@Tonythetyke – FIRST LIEUTENANT
@Fernando_RFC2 – AL CO
@DazGilbert1 – SAINT ARE
@Liamkenniford – ROCKY CREEK
Here are my selections for today :
MANDY'S BOY 1650 CHEPSTOW (nap) (Unplaced = -£5.00)
Has spits and spots of decent form last year behind the like of MANJAKANI at Stratford and AGREEMENT at the same venue. He seemed to run better last time and the handicapper has given him a real chance. His last winning mark was OR115 on good ground. His mark today is OR103. He is incredibly well handicapped, has a light weight and must run well.
Mersey Novices Hurdle 1330
Nichols Canyon was very well supported in Neptune at Cheltenham but could never land a blow and I'm not convinced he willbe able to today either. AS DE MEE deserves this step up in class after some really good performances and is interesting. PARLOUR GAMES is a worthy favourite after his second in the Neptune but I'm optimg for what looks like a progressive horse in THREE MUSKATEERS (3rd – 7-1) He won well at Wetherby earlier in the season and then followed that up with a battling win in a Grade 2 hurdle at Warwick in January. He missed the festival for this and despite it being another step up he looks a promising horse.
Doom Bar Maghull Novices Chase 1405
God's Own ran a cracker in the Arkle and showed his previous ability in that race. Could he have burnt his bridges though by really trying to go after Un De Sceaux in that race? I'm opting for COURT MINSTREL (treble)(Unplaced) who also ran well in the Arkle and was ridden sensibly after his chance had gone but he still stayed on for fifth. He will love the ground and has a touch of class as we saw last year here when he won a competitive hurdle here off a big weight. He has the ability I have no doubt to win this.
Silver Cross Stayers Hurdle 1450
COLE HARDEN caused a but of an upset by winning the World Hurdle and he got a bit of a start on them that day. On this flatter track I don't think he'll get that today and I think he'll struggle. I'm going for ZARKANDAR (unplaced) who ran such a good race at Cheltenham considering he made such a bad mistake two out. To keep going and make third was really impressive and shows how good he is. This track will suit and I think he'll run a big race and will win this.
Betfred Handicap Chase 1525
I'm not betting on this race as nothing really appeals – however DUKE OF LUCCA (WON 9-2) goes again this year off a mark 3lbs higher than what he won it off last year and has a good chance.
The Crabbies Grand National 1615
I've opted for four in this and I'll take them in order of preference. MON PARRAIN (nb) (unplaced = -£5.00) is my first choice. He has always been a smart horse and despite his quircks he has loads of ability. He has ran well over these fences, getting pipped in the Topham a few years ago and he ran well behind OSCAR TIME in the Becher in December. He then showed his class for this jockey when jumping for fun from the front and winning at Cheltenham on New Year's Day. He will love the fences and the ground and if he gets near the front and in a nice rhythm he could run a cracker at a big price. AL CO is my second choice, he ran well when winning the Scottish National last year and meets lots of the trends for past winners of the big one. He has been well prepared for this and the form of the Scottish National is tobe taken into account these days. Next up is ROCKY CREEK he looked really well last time and is well in with his rating from when the handicap was given. He could be a grades horse running in a handicap. There were question marks against him last year but he answered those and he has a huge chance today. Finally I'm opting for FIRST LIEUTENANT who has been a decent horse in his time and it seems Mouse Morris has got a bit of the old sparkle back, the trip is the worry but that is always the case in this marathon event! Good luck is needed for anything to win this and I'm hoping my four give me a good run for my money.
My blog four today are :
MANDY'S BOY 1650 CHEPSTOW
MON PARRAIN 1615 AINTREE
COURT MINSTREL 1405 AINTREE
ZARKANDAR 1450 AINTREE
My Dad's selections are
Nichols Canyon 1330 Aintree (Won 3-1 = £9.37)
Cole Harden 1450 Aintree (2nd – 2-1 = £1.25)
Duke of Lucca 1525 Aintree (WON 9-2 = £14.06)
Balthazar King 1615 Aintree (Fell -£5.00)
Father 10-9 Son