A cracking three days of racing are upon us – with some of the biggest names in the National Hunt sphere heading to Aintree to ply their trade at the Grand National Festival.
Here are a trio of runners to look out for on the first day of the Grand National Festival.
NAP: Waiting Patiently – Betway Bowl (4/1 @ William Hill)
Ruth Jefferson’s star has run well this season, including claiming a strong second in the King George, and the gelding could land his first win this term in the Betway Bowl.
The 10-year-old is a versatile type and is consistent in Grade 1 company, finishing in the top three in six of his last seven starts at this level.
Waiting Patiently could end his three year wait for a top-level success here and looks strong value at 4/1.
NB: Protektorat – Manifesto Novices’ Chase (12/1 @ Paddy Power)
Dan Skelton’s horse had high expectations placed upon him this season, but it hasn’t gone to plan so far.
A beaten odds-on favourite on his last two starts, the six-year-old has something to prove here and he could have an outside chance if he can reproduce the promise shown on his opening two chase starts.
The ground looks to be in his favour and Protektorat could bounce back with his first win in Graded company here.
Longshot: Dostal Phil – Red Rum Handicap Chase (14/1 @ Various)
Philip Hobbs’ novice chaser may have only made three starts over fences in his career, but he could land his biggest success to date here.
The eight-year-old made the transition to the larger obstacles in January, winning comfortably by 5 ½ lengths. That form looks incredibly strong, with second Funambule Sivola and third Grey Diamond both claiming victories after that contest.
The last four winners of the Red Rum Handicap Chase have been novices, and five of the last six winners avoided the Cheltenham Festival. 14 of the past 19 winners were also rated 139 or lower, which the gelding falls into.
At 14/1, Dostal Phil could produce a big effort here if he can continue to show signs of progress at the Grand National Festival.