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Top 10: Value Picks for the Grand National Festival

Our team hunt through the cards for some nicely priced selections at this year’s Grand National Festival

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Tom O'Brien riding Not So Sleepy clear the last to win The Betfair Exchange Trophy during the Saturday of the December Racing Weekend at Ascot Racecourse.

The end of the National Hunt season is beginning to edge nearer but jumps fans have one more showpiece event to sink their teeth into.

Three days of action lie in wait at Aintree, with several Grade 1 events and The Grand National heading the cards at the Merseyside track.

Aintree Racecourse, Aintree, UK. 6th Apr, 2019. The 2019 Grand National horse racing festival, day 3; Davy Russell acknowledges the applause of the crowd after winning the Grand National on Tiger Roll Credit: Action Plus Sports/Alamy Live News
Day one of the Grand National Festival gets underway at 1:45pm on Thursday afternoon

The aintree.co.uk team have torn through the form and trends to offer their best selections for this season’s event.

Here are our 10 tips for this year’s Grand National Festival.

10. Canelo – Randox Grand National (40/1 – Betfair, PP, William Hill)

Alan King’s eight-year-old sits at the enticing price of 40/1 for the biggest race of them all – and he could prove to be huge each-way value here.

Canelo ridden by Thomas Bellamy (left) on their way to winning the William Hill Rowland Meyrick Handicap Chase during Boxing Day of the William Hill Yorkshire Christmas Meeting at Wetherby Racecourse

The winner of the Grade 3 Rowland Meyrick Handicap Chase over the festive period, the gelding claimed success earlier on in the season in a novice handicap at Aintree in November.

If he can prove his staying ability over this distance, then he could well in the mix in the closing stages.

9. Paros – Doom Bar Anniversary 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle (22/1 – Ladbrokes)

Labelled an exciting prospect when joining Nicky Henderson’s yard this season, things have not gone to plan so far this season for Paros.

It was hoped that he would the leading Triumph Hurdle chance for the Seven Barrows trainer, but two poor performances in average company brought an end to those hopes.

Nicky Henderson reading a racecard at the Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England
Will Nicky Henderson’s Paros land success on Merseyside?

However, he produced a promising run on his last start, seeing off odds-on favourite Mackenberg by 5 ½ lengths.

James Bowen retains the ride after that success so if the four-year-old can continue to improve, he could well outrun his price tag here.

8. Not So Sleepy – Aintree Hurdle (28/1 – Boylesport)

A persistent front-runner, Hughie Morrison’s star could produce another bold bid in Grade 1 company.

The dual Betfair Exchange Trophy winner gave a strong account in this season’s Champion Hurdle, finishing fifth at odds of 125/1.

It’s safe to say that this contest is not as strong as his last outing and hints each-way value at 28/1 if he can fend from the front.

7. Alaphilippe – Doom Bar Sefton Novices’ Hurdle (14/1 – Betfair, PP + BetVictor)

Fergal O’Brien was unfortunate not to get his first success at the Cheltenham Festival this season, but he could easily bounce back with a Grade 1 success with Alaphilippe.

WATCH: ALAPHILLIPPE WINS AT HAYDOCK UNDER PADDY BRENNAN [CREDIT: RACING TV]

The seven-year-old claimed the Grade 2 Prestige Novices’ Hurdle in February before taking a creditable fifth in the Albert Bartlett last month.

At 14/1, he could hint as an each-way contender here at least.

6. Eldorado Allen – SSS Super Alloys Manifest Novices’ Chase (13/2 – Various)

Arguably one of the best rides of the Festival, Harry Cobden pushed Eldorado Allen to make up an immense amount of ground, staying on well to take second late on in the Arkle Chase.

Shishkin
Eldorado Allen found only the classy Shishkin too good at Cheltenham

The seven-year-old makes his return less than three weeks later and he could well go one better here in the first day’s opening race.

Colin Tizzard’s runner may have a different rider on board (in Jonjo O’Neill Jr) but he could push the likes of Hitman and Fusil Raffles all the way.

5. Notebook – Marsh Melling Chase (7/1 – Various)

Henry De Bromhead’s gelding stood out in the novice chasing division last season, but he has struggled to replicate his form so far this season.

The eight-year-old could only manage seventh in the Champion Chase and his trainer has stepped him up in distance here in hope of reviving his winning ways.

WATCH: NOTEBOOK WAS A DUEL GRADE ONE NOVICE CHASER FOR HENRY DE BROMHEAD LAST SEASON [CREDIT: RACING TV]

12 of the last 18 winners of the Marsh Chase contested the Champion Chase, while 7 of the past 8 successors were in their first season out of novice company.

Notebook could be an outsider to consider here.

4. Editeur Du Gite – Close Brothers Red Rum Handicap Chase (11/1 – Coral)

Gary Moore’s seven-year-old claimed his first win over fences at Newbury last month and he could continue his winning streak here.

French-bred runners have won six renewals of this contest since 2000, while five of the last six winners avoided the temptation of the Cheltenham Festival.

16 of the last 20 winners have been rated 139 or lower and Moore’s gelding holds an official rating of 132.

At 11/1, Editeur Du Gite could be an interesting contender in this contest.

3. Fiddlerontheroof  – Betway Mildmay Novices’ Chase (13/2 – Sky Bet)

Fiddlerontheroof ran a cracker in the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase, finishing second at a huge price of 40/1.

He has been consistent so far this season, finishing in the top two in his six starts this season.

Robbie Power on board Fiddlerontheroof in the Canter Carpet High Performance Surfaces (Norton’s Coin Trophy) Novices’ Chase at Ffos Las Racecourse

The 10 of the last 17 winners have been Irish-bred and 19 of the past 21 winners had run in at least four chases, two trends that Colin Tizzard’s gelding fits into.

If he can carry his form into this contest, then Fiddlerontheroof will be well in the mix here.

2. Caribean Boy – Randox Topham Handicap Chase (12/1 – Various)

Nicky Henderson’s made eye-catching improvement in the late stages of the Paddy Power Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, making up ground through the large field to claim seventh.

The youngster could run a big race here at 12/1 and he fits some of the winning trends for the contest.

WATCH: CARIBEAN BOY SEES OFF FIDDLERONTHEROOF AND GETAWAY TRUMP AT NEWBURY [CREDIT: RACING TV]

Five of the last seven winners were French-bred, while eight of the past 11 winners were unplaced on their last start.

10 of the last 20 winners headed to the Cheltenham Festival and five of the six previous winners were rated over 141.

Carrying an official rating of 152, Caribean Boy could be a real threat here.

1. Any News – Betway Top Novices’ Hurdle (11/2 – Sky Bet)

Neil Mulholland’s novice was unfortunate to unseat his rider in the Premier Novices’ Hurdle at Kelso last month, but he could land his first Graded success here.

The six-year-old has progressed this year, claiming two wins and a place in three of his four starts over the smaller obstacles.

If he shows further promise here, he could be great value at 11/2.

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