The Grand National

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)
 
Standings
Father 10-9 Son
Profit
Father -£62.13
Son £131.71
 
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Aintree Day One

Photo by Fran (@Riosrider2)
 
Day one of the Aintree festival. Usually it pays to side with horses who have swerved Cheltenham, however this year we've had a slightly longer break between the two. Whatever happens over the next few days I'm sure we're in for a right treat, there are some great races to watch and a few tricky handicaps to try and solve. We of course then have the biggest puzzle of them all – The Grand National! My record in the big one just isnt great, the last time I won I think I was eight! I'm now 35!!! However, I have an antepost ticket on MON PARRAIN at 50-1 after he won for the blog on New Year's Day. I'm chuffed the ground will be on the better side for him and also chuffed that Sean Bowen rides. He has a great chance and I reckon he'll run a cracking race! I'll probably pick another couple but haven't made my mind up yet!
Here are my selections for Day One. Good luck with whatever you back and I hope you win!
 
Manifesto Novices Chase 1340
A small but distinct field and a few with obvious chances. The main one is VIBRATO VALTAT who should have been UN DE SCEAUX's main rival in the Arkle, but he never ran a true race. I'm not sure whether he will get this trip? JOSSES HILL has flattered to deceive this year and I don't think his jumping will hold up. I'm opting for CLARCAM (WON 5-1), he may also not get the trip but I prefer his chances with Ruby on board. He was put in his place in the Arkle too but he really caught my eye in the Fred Winter last year and was unlucky when falling. He has had a couple of solid runs this year and doesn't have either VAUTOUR or UN DE SCEAUX to overcome.
 
Betfred Juvenile Hurdle 1415
HARGAM will be a short priced favourite for this based on his third in the Triumph. The Nicholls pair really don't do it for me. I'm opting for INTENSE TANGO (unplaced). She struggled against her male counterparts last time but she comes here fresh and will enjoy the better ground. Her weight allowance may also support her speed at these weights and help her overcome her rivals this time. She looked a decent horse when putting PASS THE TIME and ANIFILET in their place at Doncaster.
 
Betfred Bowl Chase 1450
HOLYWELL (nb) (3rd – 5-2) was my tip for the Gold Cup and is my tip here. He ran a cracker at Cheltenham and it was a shame the ground swung to the soft side that day as I really thought he would win the race. SILVINIACO CONTI misfired that day and on this ground I can't see him reversing placings with my tip. MA FILLEULE is a tough mare and she will be there at the finish. HOLYWELL has the class, the jumping ability and the ground to beat all his rivals.
 
Doom Bar Aintree Hurdle 1525
JEZKI comes here with a real chance of giving the champ another victory in his swansong. ARCTIC FIRE has been ultra-consistent this year too and must have a decent chance. However, I have to opt for my old favourite ROCK ON RUBY (2nd 7-2) though. He missed the festival and will be fresh. Despite being 10 years old he can still mix it with the young guns. He has a good record here and produces good efforts on better ground. I think he'll battle up the finishing straight with the other two above and his heart will bring him out on top.
 
Crabbies Fox Hunters Chase 1605
Only one horse here for me. PACHA DU POLDER (nap) (2nd 7-1) is a horse I always followed and has made a brilliant start in this sphere. My selection improves so much on better ground and I'm expecting a big run tomorrow. He started out this year being beaten by TEAFORTHREE on soft ground and he then won easily on good ground at Ludlow. He's a nice mover and a smart jumper. He is closely matched with BIG FELLA THANKS on old form and I expect both of them to be fighting it out up the finish.
 
Betfred Red Rum Chase 1640
CLARET CLOAK will enjoy the better ground and ran well last time behind ULCK DU LIN at Ascot. He runs well fresh but 11st 12lbs is a lot to carry in this. Even a 5lb taken off by Sean Bowen may not be enough. BABY MIX fascinates me; he's been off for a while and was a smart hurdler on good ground. With this break to overcome and a return to form needed he may not do it, but he's well treated on his old form. I'm opting for TED VEALE (treble) (unplaced) he's down to his last winning mark of OR141, which he's won twice at. He has got a nice weight and has good form when the ground is better. He also has a strong form line through CLARCAM and I think he'll run a big race!
 
Injured Jockeys Fund Handicap Hurdle 1715
The last race on day one and it's a cracker to try and solve! DALAWAN is smart yet disappointed last time behind CALL THE COPS, can he recapture his form? CALL THE COPS has been raised another 7lbs for that win and I think he's handicapped to the max now. LAC FONTANA could really improve for the extra distance amd is worth a saver! UNIQUE DE COTTE and my old favourite JOIN THE CLAN deserve praise and should run well. Now this is where I get silly! I have followed KATGARY (unplaced) all year based on his efforts last season and I was and still am convinced he's a smart horse. Good ground I'm sure is key and with a little bit of confidence back in him for winning in a lower class last time I think he'll run well. He is carrying a stone less than he did last time too. My advice here, ignore me, I'd go over the White Cliffs for this one!!
 

The Grand National

myWPEdit Image

The big race day has arrived! First and foremost lets hoe these wonderful creatures all get round safely. Secondly lets enjoy the spectacle! A decent couple of runs on the blog yesterday with HOLYWELL winning for me again. What a horse he is proving to be and now favourite for the Gold Cup!!! My nap also ran a cracker, ROLLING ACES (16-1) was just pipped after running a corker and showing his true form. How impressive was MA FILLEULLE too, I thought she might run a decent race as I said on the blog, but she;s a brave one and oozing a bit of class! On to today, my Dad has a few selections as always and you can see our latest results below. He will be reading this in his hospital bed after having a knee replacement surgery! Hope you’re doing well Dad x

TIDAL BAY 1615 AINTREE (NAP) – (UR = -£5.00) I’m sure if you’ve read my blog a lot you will know how much I love this horse! If he wins today it will most certainly bring down the curtain on a fantastic career. Everyone keeps saying no 13 yo has won it, he’s too old etc. Not me, he’s been dropped a good few pounds by the handicapper to gives him a real go at this and when the weights came out I lumped on ante-post at 25-1. The rain I think has arrived so it could be soft at the off, he has bags of stamina and if he thereabouts at the last fence the run in should bring about all his qualities. If he runs well he may stay in training too! Go on the old boy show ’em what you’re all about! My other selection in the race is the other Wylie horse PRINCE DE BEAUCHENE, he was favourite twice for this before injury and he has been looked after this year. Ruby rode such a gentle arc eon him at Thurles when he had every chance to win, I thought then I wonder what they are saving him for!

COURT MINSTREL 1710 AINTREE (NB) (WON – 16-1 = £50.00) this horse produced two fantastic runs under this jockey last year and is worth another chance. He beat SAMTEGAL easily last year and is dropped a couple of pounds, he has lots of weight to carry but for a reason, he’s the class horse in the race and is rated 8 lbs better than the next horse. If he’s on song he’ll murder them.

HINTERLAND 1405 AINTREE (TREBLE) – (unplaced = -£5.00) was running a cracker in the champion chase before being brought down, he may not of beaten Sire de Grugy but he would have been close. I think he’ll win this today, he looks a different horse this year, jumps smoothly and quickly, and will enjoy the ground. Great chance

WHISPER 1450 AINTREE – (WON – 4-1 = £12.50) we know the likes of At Fisher’s Cross and Zarkandar are very good but this horse has really impressed me this year and he appears to be very progressive. I think he’s got more improvement in him and could be the surprise package here outside the top two.

I also fancy a little flutter on GULLINBURSTI 1525 (3rd – 10-1) who ran an much improved race last time at Kelso of a big weight, with less in then saddle today and another bold show he can take this race too.

My Dad’s selections are :

LAC FONTANA 1330 (WON – 9-2 = £14.06)

BALDER SUCCES 1405 (WON – 7-2 = £10.94)

MELODIC RENDEZVOUS 1450 (unplaced = -£5.00)

RENARD 1525 (unplaced = -£5.00)



His national selections are TIDAL BAY and BALTHAZAR KING.

Current standings : FATHER 6-7 SON

Profit :

Father £67.42

Son £121.30

Good luck if you’re having a flutter!

Grand National Day

Here it is, the biggest racing spectacle in the world. Hundreds of thousands of pounds will be bet, millions of people around the world will watch. I really love this race as it is so exciting, this race irritates me though as I haven't picked the winner since Rhyme n Reason! Lets hope today is my day!
 
You can read my selections below, but these are my National bets, all each way of course!
 
ON HIS OWN
BALTHAZAR KING
CHICAGO GREY
 
Whatever you back lets hope they all get round safe.
 
ON HIS OWN 1615 AINTREE (nap) – (FELL) this is what carries my main money today in the race. I backed him last year when he was going well before falling at Becher's second time around. He is a sound jumper though and moves well through his races. He hits most of the trends other than experience, I reckon he has a huge chance. I am also putting some coins on CHICAGO GREY, he is another sound jumper and stays all day. With the better ground I have also had to have a bet on BALTHAZAR KING who will love the ground, the trip and he goes well fresh.
 
OPENING BATSMAN 1525 AINTREE (nb) – (PU) he won for me on my blog last time out at Kempton when he was given a peach of a ride and he jumped them silly. I think he will take all the stopping again today in similar conditions. He is a progressive horse and his rise for his Kempton success is indicative of that. Huge run expected!
 
OVERTURN 1415 AINTREE (treble) – (2nd – 11-4) the ground was the excuse in the Arkle and with todays better ground we should see the true Overturn. He will jump well and travel strongly from the front I think.
 
UTOPIE DES BORDES 1335 AINTREE – (3rd – 9-2) won well at Sandown and Doncaster before the Festival. That day I think they chose the wrong race as 3 miles was too far. This distance is better and DODGING BULLETS and UP AND GO could set this up for him over the last.
 
HOLYWELL 1450 AINTREE – (2nd – 9-1) this horse owes me nothing after coming in for me when I napped it at Cheltenham. This is a huge step up in class but I think he has the quality to bridge the gap. His battling attitude will keep him in the race and I'm excited to see how he runs against these better horses. A damn good each way chance at least!
 
MAKBULLET 1710 AINTREE – (unplaced) I used to follow is one on the flat and he needs good ground and a fast pace. He has been off for a long time but this race may just be perfect for him. 25-1 is a huge price.
 
VAGO COLLONGES 1740 AINTREE – (2nd – 10-1) this one will turn into a smart hurdler I reckon but his stable have held off with this race in mind. He ran well last time at Newbury and that is pretty decent form. My only doubt is the ground!
 
BLOG STATS :

Naps 34/150 = 22.6%
Wins 141/767 = 18.3%
Placed 205/767 = 26.7%

Win and Placed = 45.1%

@Tweet_Naps overall record. Click the link. All Time Profit/Loss currently +£62.83
 

Saturday Chances or Chancers?

 
The Cheltenham count down is well and truely on. Today gives us another chance to see a few potential contenders and we also have a Grand National Trial. Yesterday my nap EDMUND KEAN was very impressive and surely one to watch for the festival, the runner-up SEEDSMAN is also one to watch. I fancy a couple of David Pipe's today and I'm hoping the old boy above GILES CROSS can repeat last year's success.
 
Here are todays tips. I've done three Lucky 15's.
 
Lucky 15 Number 1
 
THE COCKNEY MACKEM 1515 ASCOT – (5th – 25-1) ran very well at the end of last season in some competitive chases. A superb second at the festival in the Byrne Plate behind Salut Flo shows this one has the ability. He has gone well fresh before and shouldn't be discounted back over hurdles. I've just got 25-1 on BetFred for this one which is a crazy price. Great each way chance!
 
CUE CARD 1550 ASCOT (nb) – (WON 15-8) this horse has bags of class and despite him stepping up in trip he still has enough ability at this distance to take this. He will never beat SPRINTER SACRE so connections' plan to change distance for me is sensible. Favourites have a cracking record in this race and the drop back in trip will suit and I think he will win comfortably.
 
MIAS BOY 1600 LINGFIELD – (4th – 7-1) I just can't leave this old favourite of mine and would back it to the death. He just got pipped last week at this course. He is back at a mile so will need a strong pace. I think that is what has resulted in places in the last two races is that he didn't get going soon enough. However, this is a step up in class. Must have a strong each way claim though.
 
SAOI 1635 LINGFIELD – (2nd – 3-1) bidding for a hat-trick and I was furious with myself for missing the first of those victories as I had backed it twice beforehand. He should appreciate the step up in trip and the form of his last two victories is strong and been franked by the runner up running to a place twice more.
 
Lucky 15 Number 2

VALCO DE TOUZAINE 1345 HAYDOCK – (3rd – 11-4) ran well in France and has two decent starts to his British career including a good second on his reappearance. He then ran creditably behind LORDOFTHEHOUSE next time out. Those runs should put him in with a smart chance today.
 
KENTFORD GREY LADY 1420 HAYDOCK (treble) – (4th – 2-1) she is a smart stayer and ran very well in third behind REVE DE SIVOLA in the Cleeve Hurdle last time. On that form she should take this today.
 
GILES CROSS 1455 HAYDOCK – (PU) he ran a cracker in the Welsh National and just emptied totally in the final few furlongs. At that point the stable had just come from being closed down so it was a damn good show. He won is last year ahead of NEPTUNE COLLONGES and we know what he went on to do. He loves the ground and the track and now that the stable are back with the winners again, he has a great chance to reclaim his crown. I have ran out of words for describing DENIS O'REGAN as a superb jockey and he will get the best out of him again.
 
SIXTY SOMETHING 1640 HAYDOCK (nap) – (unplaced) is a progressive horse as he showed when winning at Aintree and Bangor this season. He ran a bit under par last time at Doncaster behind STORM SURVIVOR but he still ran on well late in that race. O'REGAN's relaxed style will suit him and he should be crept into the race, fancy him big time to bounce back today.
 
Lucky 15 Number 3

AMIGO 1430 WINCANTON – (3rd – 13-8) won over 3 miles last time at Chpestow in a dogged style and he has been raised 3lbs for that success. With heavy ground again on the cards he should be thereabouts at the finish up the long Wincanton finish.
 
DIAMONDS RETURN 1615 WINCANTON – (PU) won three on the bounce at the end of last season including over course and distance and ran well last time out. Returns today and could continue that progressive trend, hopeful of a big run.
 
REAL MILAN 1405 ASCOT – (PU) whilst ROCKY CREEK is a worthy favourite after his impressive win at Warwick last time my selection has done nothing wrong so far in two novice chases and will revel in the mud. This is a big step up but he looks a smart one.
 
ASHKAZAR 1440 ASCOT – (LAST!!!!!) this old dog infuriates me! He can be absolutely class and was that at Cheltenham last season. He has so much ability but it depends how he feels. He'll either run well and give them something to think about or he won't be bothered and will be pulled up. I'm hoping for the first one at a pretty decent price.
 
 
So, quite a few selections today and I'm more than hopeful of my top three. I just have to say that THE COCKNEY MACKEM has such a good chance in my opinion today and I have put a little extra on him each way!
 
If you are having a bet, please do so within your means. If you like what you have read please give the blog a retweet or a follow. I do really appreciate people reading the blog as it takes a while to do.
 
Best of luck everyone and enjoy the racing!
 

Aintree Festival Day 3 – The National

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The day has arrived at last, Grand National Day. One of my favourite days of racing, yet I warn you now I haven’t picked the winner in ten years. That fact drives me mad! I’m hoping today will be the day! First and foremost lets hope all the horses and jockeys come back in safe and sound. It is a great spectacle but also gets a lot of negative publicity too when horses suffer fatalities. Lots of changes have been made to fences again, lets hope they do the trick.

So, here’s my best three, and my Aintree selections :

CAPPA BLEU 1615 AINTREE – (nap) (4th – 16-1 = 25 points)this horse has a touch of class and will relish the ground and fences. He has had a couple of cracking runs this year, including a third in the Welsh National on ground he hated. Another tip in itself is stable jockey Paul Moloney’s decision to ride him over STATE OF PLAY, who has previously given him a few great rides round here. (5 points each way)

ZARKANDAR 1450 AINTREE – (nb) (FELL) ran a creditable race in the Champion Hurdle and gave an awesome performance before that at Newbury when Paul Nicholls’ horses were off the mark. This extended trip should play to his strengths. (3 points win)

BOUCHER GARCON 1520 NEWCASTLE – (treble) (2nd – 11-10) two very impressive all the way successes this week at Musselburgh and Catterick. He’s still on the same mark and I reckon he’ll knock up the hat-trick in good style (2 points win)

STAKE = 15 points

RETURNS = 25 points

BANK = +93 points

STATS as of 14/4/12 WINS 16/73 22% NAPS 5/25 20% TREBLES 2/25 8%

Rest of Aintree selections :
COLOUR SQUADRON 145 e/w FELL
SPRINTER SACRE 2.15 WON
ZARKANDAR 2.50 FELL
THE HOLLINWELL 3.25 e/w PU
CAPPA BLEU,4th 16-1 PLANET OF SOUND unplacedWEST END ROCKER FELLall e/w 4.15
SAUTE 5.05 e/w unplaced
KAYSERSBERG 5.35 e/w unplaced