There’s no day in horse racing quite like Grand National day.
A maximum field of 40 runners will take to the course at Aintree in an attempt to stay the 4m2f slog and land the £500,000 first prize.
Who will follow in the path of greats including Many Clouds, Red Rum and Comply Or Die? We’ve had our say below. And so too has one of our traders.
Read our thoughts on today’s big race and the six other contests on an exciting seven-race card below…
1:45 Gaskells Handicap Hurdle – Golan Fortune (each-way)
There are chances throughout the field in the opening race of the day but it’s Golan Fortune who’s caught our eye.
Phil Middleton’s raider has been progressing well in handicaps and recently finished a respectable third in a Grade 2 contest at Haydock.
The going was heavy that day. It looks set to be soft at Aintree. That should help the six-year-old as he bids to continue his progression over the extended trip. Jockey Richard Patrick claims a vital 5lb.
2:25 Mersey Novices’ Hurdle – On The Blind Side
Nicky Henderson could have a star on his hands in On The Blind Side.
The six-year-old is unbeaten over hurdles and most recently landed the second of two Grade 2 successes in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle at Sandown.
Missing Cheltenham could prove to be no bad thing for the son of Stowaway who has all of the variables in his favour as he bids for a maiden Grade 1 success.
The trainer has also been in excellent form over the past few days.
3:00 Doom Bar Maghull Novices’ Chase – Petit Mouchoir
Petit Mouchoir went off too hard in the Arkle at Cheltenham and paid for it by finishing third.
He faces a much easier renewal at Aintree without the likes of Footpad, Brain Power and the progressive Saint Calvados.
Henry De Bromhead’s charge is the classiest operator in this field and should make light work of the 2m distance in soft conditions.
3:40 Mildmay Handicap Chase – Rocklander
There’s plenty to like about Tom George’s hopeful Rocklander. After graduating from sticks to fences earlier this season he started his hurdling career with two wins from three.
His most recent outing came at Cheltenham where he finished a creditable third in the Listed Close Brothers Novices’ Chase.
That run proves the raider’s class. And with the ability to stay not an issue for the son of Oscar, we fancy him to go well up against the likes of Thomas Patrick and Ibis Du Rheu.
4:20 Ryanair Stayers’ Hurdle – Sam Spinner
It didn’t quite come together for Sam Spinner in the Stayers’ Hurdle at Cheltenham. But we think he can bounce back here.
Victory in the Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot in December proves his class. And as a certified stayer on soft and heavy ground, there’s no question over his ability to last the trip.
He’s beaten a number of his competitors in this one already this season. And there’s no reason why he can’t and won’t do so again.
5:15 Grand National – Baie Des Iles (each-way)
Now it’s the big one. There may be 40 runners to choose from in the Grand National but it’s Baie Des Iles who gets our vote.
Ross O’Sullivan’s hopeful has enjoyed a decent season and has consistently run well over 3m+. In eight career starts over that distance and further, she’s never finished lower than sixth.
That bodes well for the 4m2f Aintree spectacular. And with a handy weight to carry her along, the seven-year-old could spring a surprise against some of the main fancies.
Tiger Roll should go well out of the favourites, while Milansbar also has each-way claims.
6:20 Pinsent Masons Handicap Hurdle – William Of Orange
Three days of spectacular racing comes to a close with William Of Orange looking to cause a shock in this Class 2 contest.
The seven-year-old has won at this level before for trainer Donald McCain and will go at it again back up in trip.
Last month’s 3l victory over the likeable Chti Balko will hold him in good stead as the selection bids to upset a host of younger and more progressive opponents.
Jockey Ryan Day gets the ride for the first time and claims 3lb to help the raider’s cause.
All Odds and Markets correct as of date of publication