Mr Big Shot is the one for me in the opener on Grand National Day. This horse had a rough trip round in a slowly run race at the Cheltenham Festival and should be competitive here. Fixe le Kap is the each-way selection with cheek-pieces on.
This looks to be between Black Op and On The Blind Side. Tom George will hope that Black Op can do what Somerville Boy did at Cheltenham – win. Tom has struggled for winners of late and this would be a welcome one. On The Blind Side is useful, though, and won’t let him have it all his own way.
Petit Mouchoir will take a lot of beating in this if he jumps around. The worry is that his jumping is not the greatest. I actually think the each-way bet in here is Lady Buttons. She is very capable and seems to enjoy being ridden with confidence.
This could be all about what handles the ground. Rocklander ran a hell of a race at the Festival and has to be on the shortlist here. The one I like as an each-way is Paper Lantern. This horse bolted up at Fairyhouse and will love the ground.
I want redemption for Sam Spinner here. He will love the ground and should be made more use of than last time out in the Stayers Hurdle. L’Ami Serge has come from that race and won here and this lad should do the same. The strong play here is The Worlds End each-way. We have seen a lot of evidence this week that winners on this course at last year’s meeting should be followed.
Aintree 17:15 – The Grand National
I am going for class here with Anibale Fly. He was third in the Gold Cup and Might Bite, the horse that finished just in front of him, won the Bowl here on Thursday. The ground is going to play a huge part in the selection process too.
A little stat worthy of note: nine horses have won the race in 40 years carrying 11st or more – however, five of those have come in the last five years. Class and the quality of the race is on the up.
With ground conditions worsening I am going to give Raz De Maree a big chance of being in the money. The last 13-year-old to win was in 1923! Baie Des Iles is another great story, but no 7-year-old has won since the 1940s!
My view of how the places will pan out is:
1/ Anibale Fly
2/ Alpha Des Obeaux
4/ Baie Des Iles
5/ Raz De Maree
6/Gas Line Boy