Get ready; the Grand National is here!
Jump racing’s most famous contest kickstarts on Saturday as crowds continue to flock to Aintree for the Grand National Festival for the first time since 2019.
- 1:45pm – Beauport | Has to concede weight all around but is an ever-improving 6-year-old, failing to place only once on his 9 appearances. He won a Grade 3 as a novice at Sandown and ran a cracker in an open event at that same track a year later, finishing behind a rival who was not disgraced in the Albert Bartlett. A big field handicap will be right up his street and Jordan Nailor takes 3lb off his back.
- 2:25pm – Three Stripe Life (NAP) | A very consistent gelding who still has more go give, particularly at this trip. Finished a solid second behind Sir Gerhard on his last two appearances and a top-level success awaits here.
- 3:00pm – Edwardstone | Arkle winner who is yet to be beaten over fences when standing up; finished third over hurdles in the Pertemps at this meeting last season so there are no concerns about the track and he has done nothing wrong since his switch to this sphere. Brilliant jumper who will take all the stopping once agian.
- 3:35pm – Flooring Porter | Two-time Stayers’ Hurdle winner who beat plenty of these at Cheltenham last month; connections seemingly keep to keep him left-handed as opposed to going to Punchestown. If he gets another lead at the off he will take some pegging back again, but it would be no surprise to see last season’s victor Thyme Hill close the gap.
- 4:15pm – Killer Kane (E/W) | Has won his last two starts and showed his ability at this trip at Kempton in February. Won his point and has been ultra-consistent since a switch to rules, winning a Listed race at Sandown when last seen. Gets here off a very low weight and ran a good race here as a hurdler.
- 5:15pm – Eclair Surf | Sneaks in here off 143 and was last seen chasing home the subsequent Scottish National hero in the Eider. Eased to success in the Classic at Warwick in January and should be set for a big run in this. Holds a solid formline and is still improving. Player.
- 6:15pm – Henri The Second | Represents last year’s winning yard; last seen beating a decent rival in a Listed contest at Ascot and has had a quiet and precise preparation for this on paper. This will be his toughest test yet but he looks to have the right sort of profile to take this before hurdling next campaign.
- 1:45 – Party Business E/W
After putting in a shift to snatch fifth in the Martin Pipe three weeks ago, Party Business remains at the same mark for the opener on Grand National day. The six-year-old was hampered early on at Cheltenham and if he gets a relatively stress-free run around here and copes with the step up in trip, he could well be in the mix.
- 2:25 – Stage Star E/W
While Cheltenham was a major disappointment for Stage Star, he could well bounce back at the first time of asking for Paul Nicholls in the Mersey Novices’ Hurdle. He has 7lbs to find on the favourite, but he should appreciate the return to a flatter track and could strike at a decent price.
- 3:00 – Third Time Lucki
I’m not a fan of backing odds-on favourites and while I appreciate the talents of Edwardstone, I feel there is better value in the field. Look no further than Third Time Lucki, who can live up to his namesake against his rival. Dan Skelton’s recruit has finished behind Edwardstone on two occasions and he could at least push for the top two at least here.
- 3:35 – Flooring Porter (NAP)
Flooring Porter has quickly become a dominant force in the staying hurdling division and it’s hard to look past him in the Liverpool Hurdle. Some of his best runs have come on flat tracks and he can cope with any ground type. He’s very clearly the one to beat in this race.
- 4:15 – Tea Clipper E/W
A well-backed fancy in the Ultima last month, Tea Clipper remains at a handy mark for the 3m1f handicap chase. The seven-year-old finished third in the three-mile handicap hurdle last season and looks in good form to be in the mix here again.
- 5:15 – Longhouse Poet E/W
While there’s a chance connections could aim for the Irish Grand National, you would think they would take a chance with Longhouse Poet in the Aintree edition. The eight-year-old put up a big performance in the Thyestes Chase and he could well cope with the marathon distance here.
- 6.20 – Rockingastorm E/W
Rockingastorm looks an undetected threat in the Grade 2 bumper with his price looking cracking value. The five-year-old made light work of his rival at Bangor back in December and he could bounce back after finishing fourth at Chepstow in February.