What are the best bets for day three of Aintree Grand National meeting? It’s not all about the Grand National this afternoon with six quality supporting races and I’ve run the rule over them here. 1.30: World Famous JUST EAT Mersey Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1), 2m4f Nicholls Canyon has already won a couple of Grade...
What are the best bets for day three of Aintree Grand National meeting?
It’s not all about the Grand National this afternoon with six quality supporting races and I’ve run the rule over them here.
1.30: World Famous JUST EAT Mersey Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1), 2m4f
Nicholls Canyon has already won a couple of Grade 1 events and holds Sub Lieutenant on their running at Leopardstown in February, but he may have found the ground a little too lively when third in the Neptune at Cheltenham and conditions will be even quicker here. Besides, he has over a length to find on Cheltenham runner-up PARLOUR GAMES (7/2 bet365) and the latter looks the one to be on. John Ferguson’s charge appears to be still improving and, having been given a near three-month break prior to the Neptune, I don’t think there is any danger of him being over the top for the season. Seedling was my fancy for the Supreme only to unseat at the fourth and he’s interesting here stepping up in trip.
2.05: Doom Bar Maghull Novices’ Chase (Grade 1), 2m
The defection of Un De Sceaux has opened this right up and at first glance it appears to be a good opportunity for Arkle runner-up God’s Own to go one better. He’s a skinny-looking 7/4, though, and it’s no given he’ll reproduce his Cheltenham form as he’s better over right-handed tracks and did himself few favours by jumping that way in the Arkle. Let’s take him on with the fifth horse home, COURT MINSTREL. (5/1 bet365) Seeing that was his first run for three months, Evan Williams’ gelding should come on for it and he’ll find this flatter track and better ground far more to his liking.
2.50: Silver Cross Stayers’ Hurdle (Registered As The Liverpool Hurdle) (Grade 1), 3m110y
Cole Harden was the winner of a decidedly ordinary World Hurdle and he may have been a shade fortunate as ZARKANDAR (5/2 Boylesports) was going as well as anything when making a terrible blunder two out, before staying on into third. He’s already won an Aintree Hurdle at this track in 2013 and can be forgiven a below-par fourth in this race 12 months ago as it came at the end of a tough season, whereas he should be relatively fresh this time round. He’s likely to be played late by Sam Twiston-Davies, who came in for some stick when getting beat on him at Ascot in December, when he hit the front too soon, and I doubt he’ll make the same mistake again.
3.25: Betfred Handicap Chase, 3m1f
Zarkandar’s trainer Paul Nicholls has had a fantastic meeting so far and he could have the answer to this handicap in WONDERFUL CHARM. (5/1 bet365). The seven-year-old finished well beaten in the Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham Festival last time, but that track has never really suited him and this flatter terrain and good ground is what he needs ideally. A dual Grade 2-winning novice, he has been highly tried over fences, including when running seventh in the King George behind Silviniaco Conti, and this is a far more realistic level. He has Buywise to beat but that horse often beats himself by making too many mistakes.
4.15: Crabbie’s Grand National Chase, 4m3f110y
I’ve covered the Grand National at length elsewhere, so I’ll just give you my four against the field here. They are, in no particular order: Soll, Saint Are, Royale Knight and Night In Milan. Back them each-way with bet365 as they are refunding half the stake of every each-way bet placed before midday on Saturday – get on early and take a price!
5.10: One Stop Energy Handicap Hurdle (Conditional Jockeys And Amateur Riders), 2m110y
This is just the sort of race bookmakers love and stakes should be kept small. That said, CINDERS AND ASHES (16/1 bet365) looked on his way back when finishing third over 2m at Haydock last time and he will be suited by this slightly stiffer test of stamina. The gelding has been lightly-raced / highly-tried since winning the 2013 Supreme Novices’ and, having been dropped to a lenient looking mark of 140, he looks ready to win again.
5.40: Pinsent Masons Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat Race, 2m1f
WHISTLE DIXIE (5/1 Coral) had looked an exciting prospect in landing both her bumper starts for the in-form Gordon Elliott this season and she was heavily punted at Sandown last time, only to stumble and unseat her rider after four furlongs. She’s taken to make amends for that unfortunate experience here.
Good luck with your Aintree bets!