Saturday 5 March -Aintree Grand National Day.

1.30 Aintree – Pertemps Network Novices Hurdle

A competitive Grade One to kick off Grand National day and I have question marks about a fair few in. Dell ‘Arca has been on the go quite a while now and this trip looks to stretch him. Lac Fontana now steps into Grade One company for the first time after a gutsy win in a Cheltenham Festival handicap. That was a good run, but it was a handicap and he looked to have a pretty hard race. Barry Geraghty has gone for Oscar Hoof of the Nicky Henderson pair. I’m sure he’s on a horse with less ability, but Oscar Hoof stays well so I think that may have swung it for him. I like Volnay De Thaix, but the step-up in trip is a worry.

Given how well the Supreme Novices’’ Hurdle is working out, the two I like are Wilde Blue Yonder and Un Ace. A length-and-a-ha; separated them at Cheltenham, favouring the Alan King runner so I’m not sure why Un Ace is twice the price. He looks open to more improvement to me, only having his third run of the year and looking at his pedigree, this step-up in trip will be a help. He’s the value play here.

Advice

1pt win UN ACE @8/1 (general)

2.05 Aintree –Doom Bar Maghull Novices’ Chase

Seven runners go to post for an intriguing novices’ chase. Three horses come here from the Arkle at Cheltenham while Next Sensation is a progressive looking handicapper. Balder Succes comes here fresher than most and there is an interesting Irish challenger in Moscow Mannon.

On all known form Trifolium looks the one to beat, but he had a tough race last time out and I feel he is a much better horse with significant cut in the ground. He jumps, travels and simply performs better with cut so will need the heavens to open.

Balder Succes jumps well and is a nice horse, but I’m just not sure he is a Grade One animal. He probably wants rain too, to be at his best. His jumping should see him run well, however.

Ted Veale is still a novice, Simply Ned doesn’t look good enough and Next Sensation offers poor value in comparison to those directly around him in the market.

The one I want to be with is HINTERLAND who will come hear fresher than most. I’m still not a fan of his jumping, but he has an engine and sometimes I tend to overplay the jumping card. Him and Trifolium look the best in the race, but with the ground favouring the Nicholls runner, I’ll side with him.

The 20/1 about Moscow Mannon is also pretty big for a horse that travels and jumps really nicely. He’s a big horse and hard to get right, but this better ground should help him and I can certainly see him running bigger than his price suggests.

Advice

2pts win HINTERLAND @100/30

1pt win MOSCOW MANNON @16/1

2.50 Aintree – Silver Cross Stayers Hurdle

3pts win ZARKANDAR @15/8 betting without At Fishers Cross (Bet Victor, William Hill)

3.25 AintreeBetfred TV Handicap Chase

1pt each-way WETAK @12/1 (general)

5.10 Aintree – Maxilead Metals Handicap Hurdle

1pt win VASCO DU RONCERAY @14/1 (general)

1pt win BOLD HENRY @25/1 (bet365, William Hill)

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