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This is it! A Grade 3 handicap hurdle kicks off the Grand National card over an extended 3m. Third Wind did this column a huge favour when scoring at Cheltenham but he’s high in the weights now. I’ll have a few quid eachway on the chaser REMASTERED who will stay well and has a lovely racing weight for David Pipe and Tom Scudamore. I just hope he doesn’t jump too high as he chases well.
ITV coverage gets under way here with the Grade 1 Mersey Novices’ Hurdle over 2m4f. THREE STRIPE LIFE keeps finishing second but this might be his big chance for Gordon Elliott and Davy Russell. The six-year-old ran a cracker when chasing homer Sir Gerhard in the Ballymore at Cheltenham and while the winner won well it was still a tidy effort and this looks easier.
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Another Grade 1 here in the Maghull Novices’ Chase over nearly 2m. I really would have liked to play Third Time Lucky eachway here but there are only seven runners which is frustrating. It really is hard to oppose the impressive Arkle winner EDWARDSTONE for Alan King and Tom Cannon. He’s jumped really well in every chase and was a fine third at this track in a handicap hurdle so the course is no issue. Very hard to beat.
Time for the stayers to strut their stuff in the Grade 1 Liverpool Hurdle over an extended 3m. THYME HILL was given a brilliant ride by Tom O’Brien to land this last year and he can hunt down Flooring Porter who beat him in the Stayers’ at Cheltenham. I’m not sure Thyme Hill is a really strong stayer at Cheltenham, and this track suits him better. The Philip Hobbs runner will take all the beating in a crackign renewal with Champ also a player.
A handicap chase over an extended 3m. Christian Williams can do little wrong at the moment and his CAP DU NORD must have each-way claims after bouncing back to form at Kempton last time. Jack Tudor’s mount is up 8lb for that success but still have a lovely racivng weight of 10st 6lb. He stays and jumps well and his form was given a boost by the Kempton runner-up and stable companion Kitty’s Light who was second in the Scottish National last weekend.
Now the big one. The Grade 3 Randox Grand National Handicap Chase over an extended 4m2f. Here’s my 1-2-3 and remember the excellent place terms here at Paddy Power.
ANY SECOND NOW. Trained by Ted Walsh of Papillon fame and ridden by the excellent Mark Walsh. Very unlucky when third in the 2021 Grand National when badly hampered at the 12th fence. Stayed on well in the closing stages and you have to think would have gone close to winning without that mishap. Up 7lb this time but comes here on the back of a fine success at Fairyhouse.
ESCARIA TEN. Runner-up to Any Second Now at Fairyhouse for Gordon Elliott and ridden here by Adrian Heskin. Has good staying handicap form and a fine third in the 2021 National Hunt Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. Only raced twelve times which means he lacks a bit of experience but also means he could still be open to some improvement.
LONGHOUSE POET. Trained by Martin Brassil who has won a Grand National with Numbersixvalverde and ridden by Darragh O’Keeffe. Harshly treated by the handicapper here but has excellent form when put over a long trip and was a fine winner of the Thyestes Chase at Gowran Park. Another lightly raced horse with just thirteen starts and he’s unexposed over this distance.
The Grand National meeting ends with a bumper over nearly 2m1f. ERNEST GRAY looks promising for Alan King and Tom Cannon. A good winner over in Ireland before scoring in style at Warwick.
So best of luck and pray for Yeeehaaas. You hear me Paddy?
Matt Chapman’s Saturday Aintree tips
13:45 EFT Construction Handicap Hurdle – Remastered
14:25 Mersey Novices’ Hurdle – Three Stripe Life
15:00 Maghull Novices’ Chase – Edwardstone
15:35 Liverpool Hurdle – Thyme Hill
16:15 Betway Handicap Chase – Cap Du Nord
17:15 Grand National – Any Second Now – Escaria Ten – Longhouse Poet
18:20 Wetherby’s National Hunt Flat – Ernest Gray
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