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Haydock hosts the Grade 3 Grand National Trial ahead of April’s Aintree extravaganza – but who will Paddy’s pundits be backing?
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There’s plenty of depth in the 11-runner field including Haydock lover Bristol De Mai, last season’s winner Lord Du Mesnil, Midlands National hero Time To Get Up and Grand National sixth Blaklion. Paddy’s giving you money back as a FREE BET if you’re horse finishes second, third or fourth – and you can find our pundits’ best bets below.
Grand National Trial tips
Fran Berry: This is a cracking race and the rain will be key to the outcome. Bristol De Mai has an incredible record at Haydock but it’s hard to see him winning. I like the look of ENQARDE. He was favourite to win this race last year but he didn’t jump as well as expected. His jumping may not be perfect yet but I like the way he’s going. If he gets the trip and handles the conditions, he could be a good value pick.
Matt Chapman: A handicap chase here with possible clues for the Grand National over an extended 3m4f. What a slog this will be and the one who will love it is defending champion LORD DU MESNIL. The Richard Hobson runner, ridden by Kielan Woods, is not an easy ride and is also pretty high in the handicap. That said, he will keep going in the mud and ran a good second at Wetherby two starts ago. He has an each-way chance.
Mick Fitzgerald: I am torn between Haydock specialist Bristol de Mai and SECRET REPRIEVE. Evan Williams’ runner gets lots of weight (21lbs) off the grey and that is the deciding factor for me. He went into the Welsh National as the defending champ but had no run under his belt this season and it cost him. He did really well to finish fifth but surely he can be more competitive now with that run under his belt. I am punting on that being the case.
Frank Hickey: THE GALLOPING BEAR is a nine-year-old but only made his point debut in March 2019. He’s only had six starts in points and five starts under rules. Since he won his first point in December 2019, he has only been beaten twice, when second in a point and when falling in a novice hurdle at Chepstow. In that time, he won three points, two hunter chases and the Sussex National. His hunter chase win when he slammed Sametegal at Fontwell suggested that he could be well treated off 135 when going handicapping at Lingfield over 3m5f on heavy ground. He was prominent throughout and showed limitless stamina on horrible ground. He’s only got 5lbs for that win and his trainer Ben Clarke had a double at Sandown on Thursday, which was his third winner from his last five runners. His record in chases this season is 5-13.
Timeform: A strong renewal with plenty of depth, but last season’s Welsh National winner SECRET REPRIEVE is still very much of interest off his current mark given how he shaped in this December’s renewal following a 12-month absence. The classy Bristol de Mai heads the weights and must be respected given his record here, while the thriving Blaklion looks sure to go well again (twice runner-up in this race).
Grand National Trial tips summary
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