With the Cheltenham Festival firmly in the distance, National Hunt fans are firmly guiding their attention to the Grand National Festival at Aintree in a few weeks’ time.
Continuing our build-up to the most famous jumps race on the planet, the aintree.co.uk squad have ripped apart the entries in hope of finding some value across the 4m2½f contest.
Here is a trio of antepost selections that could well outrun their price tags if they head to Aintree next month.
COURT MAID (66/1)
It has been over six decades since a mare last won the Grand National, but that drought could well be brought to an end if Court Maid is given her chance in the contest in over a fortnight’s time.
The nine-year-old has been versatile in terms of distance for her connections, competing over trips between two-mile and three-mile so far this season.
She has proven to have the stamina for the National in recent seasons, after landing the Porterstown Handicap Chase over 3m5f back in November 2020.
She is open to further progress in terms of her mark and if we get some rain over Merseyside in two weeks’ time, Court Maid could well be a surprise contender in this contest for Thomas Mullins.
DEISE ABA (66/1)
While Deise Aba does currently sit outside the top 40 runners, the gelding could well be one to note if he makes the cut for the marathon contest in April.
Philip Hobbs’ recruit has been fairly consistent over obstacles this term, placing in two of his three chase starts as well as running into second over hurdles at Aintree back in November.
His only disappointing effort this season came in the Welsh Grand National over the festive period, but there can be a line drawn through that form as the gelding had run in three tough races in the space of seven weeks.
The nine-year-old did bounce back at the next time of asking, running a cracker in a three-mile handicap chase at Sandown in early February to finish second.
Whether he will make the cut is still an unknown, but Deise Aba could well be an undetected threat in this contest if he gets into the final 40 declared.
HIGHLAND HUNTER (40/1)
A gelding that holds some promise, Highland Hunter may well be a decent mark for the Grand National.
The nine-year-old has produced two solid efforts over 3m5f+ this term, winning the London National at Sandown back in December before finishing second behind Iwilldoit in the Welsh National.
He was below par in the Edinburgh National last night but he should come back fresh for this contest and he still remains at a workable mark of 148.
Highland Hunter is currently Paul Nicholls’ only entry in this year’s National which suggest he’s likely to head to Aintree, with his price of 40/1 holding some each-way value at this stage.
*Odds are courtesy of Spreadex and correct at time of writing