THE big day is here and Alan has three each-way fancies for the most popular race of the year, the Grand National.
He also has tips for the first five races of the final day of the festival, and good luck everyone in bashing the bookies in the big one.
TOMMY RAPPER (1.45) racked up a hat-trick on soft/heavy ground last winter and should go well at decent odds in the opening three-mile handicap hurdle. Dan Skelton quickly switched him back to hurdles following two modest attempts over fences and Tommy Rapper ran a pleasing fourth to hot favourite Samburu Shujaa at Chepstow in late February, his first outing in 84 days.
Burrows Park found 2m 4f on sharp side when seventh to Early Doors in the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Hurdle at Cheltenham but relished the step up to 3m 2f to score decisively at Kelso. He should go well for Venetia Williams, again at tasty each-way odds.
BREWIN’UPASTORM has the credentials required to go close in the Betway Mersey Novices’ Hurdle, a Grade One event over 2m 4f. Olly Murphy’s gelding, a bumper winner on soft ground, faded up the hill into fourth spot behind City Island and Champ at Cheltenham and this flat track should play to his strengths.
US AND THEM has finished runner-up on his last four outings, the latest coming at Cheltenham when hunting up easy winner Duc Des Genievres in the Arkle Trophy. This looks a shade easier for Joseph O’Brien’s six-year-old.
APPLE’S JADE is given the opportunity to atone for her expensive Champion Hurdle fade-out by landing the Ryanair Stayers’ Hurdle. She has consistently hammered Thursday’s big-race winner Supasundae back on home soil and the mare routed favourite Ivanovich Gorbatov by 41 lengths as a juvenile on her only other visit to Aintree. On a going day she is almost unbeatable but has a bit to prove after that latest flop. Sam Spinner returned to form at Cheltenham and is a dangerous rival if on his ‘A’ game.
TOUCH KICK blundered his chance away five out in the Kim Muir at Cheltenham and faded into ninth behind Any Second Now. Trevor Hemmings loves to have fancied runners at his local meeting and Touch Kick has been very consistent this season with form figures of 1-2-3-1 before his Cheltenham sortie. He also won at this time last year and should give his backers a run their each-way money in another open event.
RAMSES DE TEILLEE will relish testing conditions underfoot in the Randox Health Grand National. David Pipe’s grey chased home classy Elegant Escape in the Welsh Grand National and found the track riding a shade too lively when edged out by Robinsfirth in Haydock’s Grand National Trial. He is still a young and improving horse at seven years of age and is usually sure-footed.
Another grey, Lake View Lad, travels down from Scotland with a big chance judged on his third to Beware The Bear and Vintage Clouds at Cheltenham under the burden of 11st 12lb. Rain is an added bonus and he seems to be improving at a rate of knots. Lake View Lad is due to go up 3lb in future so is well handicapped if staying the 4m 2f trip.
Last year’s hero Tiger Roll is a very skinny price to complete the ‘Red Rum’ back-to-back double but will find it tougher with more weight on his back. He is a little tiger, however, and goes well in the mud. Rock The Kasbah arrives here a fresh horse and gives Richard Johnson a sporting chance of breaking his National duck. There has been good money all week for the Willie Mullins-trained Rathvinden, a stout stayer with form on all types of going, but much of the value has been sucked out of his price.
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