Grand National hero Tiger Roll and former Gold Cup winner Native River take centre stage at Aintree
The iconic Grand National fences are back in action on Saturday afternoon with an excellent eight-race card taking centre-stage at Aintree Racecourse.
Racegoers are in for an early start with the action getting underway at 11.15am and concluding at 3.15pm.
The track has endured plenty of rain in the last few days and the ground is now Soft, Good to Soft in places. There is also more rain forecast at Aintree throughout Saturday. We have previewed all of the action with our race by race guide and you can find betting offers at bettingexpert11.15am Novices’ Hurdle (2m)
The unexposed Bombs Away recorded a ready success at Sandown last month and has to be respected under a penalty. However, preference is for Richmond Lake. The five-year-old oozed class on his debut for Donald McCain when scoring by 15 lengths and he is taken to record successive victories in this event.
Selection: Richmond Lake
11.45am Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (3m)
My Bobby Dazzler has been in fine form this term and is deeply respected along with Landofsmiles and Fairfield Ferrata who both look open to further improvement. However, the vote goes the way of To Be Sure. A good second at Ffos Las last time out, the six-year-old remains unexposed and is taken to come out on top here.
Selection: To Be Sure
12.20pm Listed Houghton Mares’ Chase (2m 4f)
Annie Mc was a dual winner last term and is sure to be popular following those two Listed wins, which included victories over Zambella at Warwick in February, whilst Eleanor Bob looks to have it all to do. However, preference is for Elimay. The seven-year-old was a dual Listed winner last term, sandwiched by placed efforts in Grade Two company at Thurles and the Cheltenham Festival. Willie Mullins looks to have found a good starting point and she makes plenty of appeal.
12.55pm Handicap Chase (2m 3f)
A field which includes former Grade One winning chaser Riders On the Storm. Annual Invictus has improved all term and has to be respected, along with fellow last time out winner Pink Legend. However, Palmers Hill looked to be back to somewhere near his best when scoring at Wetherby last time out and he is taken to defy a 3lb rise in this event.
Selection: Palmers Hill
1.30pm Listed Fillies’ Juvenile Hurdle (2m 1f)
The likes of Malakahna, Six Feet Apart and Lady Pacifico are all respected having won on their debuts over timber. However, White Pepper looks hard to ignore. The three-year-old was a very impressive 13-length winner at Galway last time out and a reproduction of that effort would make her a leading player in this.
Selection: White Pepper
2.05pm Grade Two Many Clouds Chase (3m)
Imperial Aura fell when still going well in the Betfair Chase, whilst Simply The Betts shaped with plenty of promise when sixth in the Paddy Power Gold Cup. Dual Grand National hero Tiger Roll also makes his return to action and is an interesting runner, whilst Protektorat caught the eye with a fast-finishing second at Cheltenham in the Paddy Power Gold Cup. However, Native River gets the vote. A past winner of this race, crucially he also looks set to get his favoured soft ground in this event and given he goes well fresh, he is taken to score in this event.
Selection: Native River
2.40pm Grade Two Becher Chase (3m 1f)
A really interesting renewal of the famous event. Snow Leopardess schooled over Grand National-type fences last time out and seemed to enjoy the experience and has to be towards the top of the shortlist along with Mac Tottie who scored in the Grand Sefton over these fences last time out. Dual winner Vieux Lion Rouge chases a record third win in the race and is another to note along with the likes of Lord Du Mesnil, Top Ville Ben, Kimberlite Candy and top-weight Chris’s Dream. However, preference is for Mighty Thunder. The eight-year-old shaped with plenty of promise when fourth in the Charlie Hall Chase on his comeback and the Scottish National winner should be suited by the stamina element of this event and is a leading player if taking to the fences.
Selection: Mighty Thunder
3.15pm Handicap Hurdle (2m 4f)
Tamar Bridge and Canford Light are both progressing with every run and have to be respected along with Storm Nelson and Martinhal. Straw Fan Jack is better than he showed in the Greatwood, but Kateson is a former course and distance winner and gets the tentative vote in the finale.