Donald (Trump, not Duck) loves a bit of fake news, but there’s nothing false about the racing at Aintree on Saturday (except the nails, eyelashes, and tan – that’s enough about Matt Chapman, though).
ITV coverage starts at 1.30pm with the Becher Chase, a cavalry charge over the Grand National Fences which could turn into a bit of a slog on heavy ground.
Blaklion was fourth in the big one last April and looks well-handicapped after chasing Bristol de Mai home in the Charlie Hall, however he’s short enough in the market and there is some each-way value to be had with Goodtoknow (16/1).
He ran well for a long way here in April and is proven in soft ground. The Last Samuri ran a cracker on his return and is feared, with previous winners Highland Lodge and Vieux Lion Rouge also high on the list.
The listed fillies’ race at 2.05pm looks a stronger renewal than recent years, but it still represents a good opportunity to back Malaya. She didn’t need to improve to win at Wetherby last time, making all despite not always jumping fluently, but is on an upward curve nonetheless and handles testing ground well.
Hillcrest Fire won despite refusing to settle/making jumping errors at Leicester, but will have to be more professional than last time, while Grey Waters defied muddy waters (ground, not the blues singer) when winning in testing conditions at Listowel, and looks the pick of the two Irish challengers.
There could be mascara running everywhere if Cloudy Dream wins the Many Clouds Chase at 2.35pm. Like Many Clouds, he is owned by Aintree supremo Trevor Hemmings, and last season’s Arkle runner-up wasn’t disgraced when chasing home Fox Norton at Cheltenham earlier this month.
The track and ground should suit, but he has stamina to prove, and Definitly Red could do his best Arlene Foster impression and spoil the party. Brian Ellison’s charge progressed well last season and a repeat of his Doncaster win could be enough to get back to winning ways.
The Grand Sefton (3.10pm) rounds off coverage from Liverpool, and the race is essentially a shorter, less interesting version of the Becher – it’s little straight man Dec, compared to crazy-eyed goliath Ant (5ft 6in vs 5ft 10in).
Gas Line Boy is proven over these obstacles having finished fifth in the Grand National and would have gone close on his return had he not fallen three out, so looks a solid option. Now in the ownership of The Three Graces (probably not cricketer W.G., golfer Branden and scary singer/actress Jones), Gas Line Boy was once owned by ITV pundit Mick Fitzgerald’s Racing Club, so there could be an awkward silence if he wins.
Prince Harry (Captain Redbeard) shaped well on his return and heads the list of dangers.
* All prices correct at time of posting.