Grand National Festival ready for the off at Aintree

The first of three top-class days of action at Aintree gets under way on Thursday with the opening day of the 2021 Randox Health Grand National meeting.

By Sports reporter
Wednesday, 7th April 2021, 10:21 am
Updated Wednesday, 7th April 2021, 10:24 am
The Grand National Festival starts on Thursday at Aintree
The Grand National Festival starts on Thursday at Aintree

Last year’s event was cancelled amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, which a year on results in this meeting also being held behind closed doors. We have previewed the pick of the action on day one with tips and analysis.

The feature race of the day is the £187,000 Grade One Betway Aintree Hurdle (3.25pm). Staged over two miles and four furlongs, Buveur D’Air (10/1) is chasing a second success in this event having won the 2017 renewal. However, he still needs to show he retains his old ability, having finished second on his return to action at Haydock in January.

The market leader at 3/1 is McFabulous for Ditcheat maestro Paul Nicholls The seven-year-old was beaten in testing ground at Fontwell on his latest start, but had previously oozed class at Kempton and will be suited by this flat track. Abacadabras (7/2) fell early in the Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival on his latest start, but promises to be suited by this step up in trip for Denise Foster.

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Jason The Militant (7/2) is partnered by Rachael Blackmore and is another to note following a smooth win at Fairyhouse last time out, along with Brewin’upastorm (9/2) who has relished the return to hurdles with two smooth victories, including success over McFabulous at Fontwell last time out.

Song For Someone (8/1), a winner of the International Hurdle at Cheltenham earlier this season and Silver Streak (12/1), sixth in the Champion Hurdle are others to note.

The other feature race of the day is the £150,000 Grade One Betway Bowl (2.50pm). The three-mile contest includes dual Grand National winner Tiger Roll (9/2) who runs in this event instead of the iconic four and a quarter-mile event over what connections deemed an unfair handicap mark. The 11-year-old showed he retained all his old enthusiasm with a stunning win in the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase at Cheltenham and promises to be involved.

Clan Des Obeaux (5/2 favourite) was second in the Denman Chase at Newbury on his latest start, but will relish this test on a flat track, with good ground a major plus, whilst Native River (3/1), a valiant fourth in the Gold Cup another to note.

Waiting Patiently (4/1) has been off the track since finishing third in the Clarence House Chase and is another to note given he goes well relish along with Mister Fisher (8/1) who was pulled-up in last month’s Ryanair Chase.

Across the rest of the card, one of the most fascinating runners is Eileendover who runs in the concluding Grade Two Mares’ Bumper (5.15pm). The 4/5 favourite for the £34,000 two-mile event, the four-year-old has looked a potential superstar with three impressive wins for her Classic winning trainer Pam Sly who also bred and owns the filly. She scored in Listed company at Market Rasen on her latest start and should be suited by conditions in the finale on day one of the 2021 Randox Health Grand National meeting.

Other highlights on Thursday’s card include the opening Grade One Manifesto Novices’ Chase (1.45pm) in which Hitman (11/4) looks a leading player for Paul Nicholls having looked smart since joining the Ditcheat maestro from France. His main rival is Fusil Raffles (5/2 favourite) who was second in the Marsh Chase at last month’s Cheltenham Festival.

Nicholls could enjoy a quickfire Grade One double with Monmiral bidding to remain unbeaten in the 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle at 2.20pm. He has looked a very exciting prospect in three British starts and can justify 4/5 favouritism.

Aintree Thursday April 8 Selections

1.45pm Hitman 11/4

2.20pm Monmiral 4/5

2.50pm Waiting Patiently 4/1

3.25pm Abacadabras 7/2

4.05pm Cat Tiger 7/2

4.40pm Editeur Du Gite 8/1

5.15pm Eileendover 5/6

Tips and analysis via Betway