Grand National Festival Blog & Tips. (Aintree) (Thursday & Friday)

Thursday 13th April & Friday 14th April 2023

Author: Jordan Yates (EvRacing_)

Welcome aboard to the Grand National Festival blog where this first installment will be focused on the Thursday and Friday action Aintree, where I’ve got several fancies to share with you over the opening two days of the meeting.

Starting with the action on Thursday where my first selection comes in the 2:20 which is the ‘Grade 1 Juvenile Hurdle’ for four-year-olds that’s contested over two miles and a furlong. I think that this can go to Zenta at 6/4 who represents Mark Walsh and Willie Mullins. Sporting the famous silks of J P McManus she posted a fine effort when she was last seen at Cheltenham in the Triumph Hurdle, finishing third of fifteen behind her impressive stablemate Lossiemouth. Prior to that, she won by three lengths in a Grade 3 on her stable debut at Fairyhouse, with both runs coming on ground with cut in it. She’ll get a few pounds off some off her rivals here and she looks to come into the race with a great chance.

My second punt on Thursday comes in the 4:40 which is the ‘Red Rum Handicap Chase’ that’s contested over a distance of two miles. As to be expected with a race of this nature, it’s a competitive affair, however, I really like the chances of Douglas Talking at 7/2 for Lucinda Russell and Stephen Mulqueen. He comes into the race fresh having missed Cheltenham, with his last run coming at Sandown at the beginning of March and that effort was by far his most impressive run to date, bolting up by the best part of thirteen lengths. I think that he’s still very progressive and could have a lot more to offer, he also gets a considerable amount of weight from a lot of the market principals in this.

Moving on to Friday now and the 1:45 which is the ‘Mildmay Novices Chase’ a Grade 1 affair that’s contested over three miles and a furlong. I think that this is all about Gerri Colombe at 6/4 for Gordon Elliott and Davy Russell. He comes into the race having lost his unbeaten record at Cheltenham when going down narrowly by a shoulder to The Real Whacker in the Brown Advisory. He was very unlucky not to win on that occasion, and prior to that he looked like a real top prospect, winning back-to-back Grade 1s coming into the Cheltenham Festival. I think he’s the best horse in this race and has the best form, and if he’s anywhere near his best he should prove very tough to beat and get some redemption for his defeat last time out.

The 4:05 is where my next Friday selection comes from and this is the ‘Topham Handicap Chase’ which is contested over two miles and five furlongs. The race currently has thirty runners set to go to post and is one of the hottest betting heats of the National Hunt season, due to the race’s competitive nature I’ve decided to take a chance on one at a massive price here in the form of Numitor at 33/1 who represents the team of Adam Wedge and Heather Main. He’s a nine-year-old who’s been a very consistent performer for his yard over the years, including this season where he’s hit the frame in his last two outings. In March of last year, he hacked up in a Doncaster handicap by twenty lengths and will contest this off just four pounds higher than he did that day, he’s got a bit to find with those at the top of the betting, but if handling the unique conditions I think he could outrun his odds.

My final punt on Friday comes in the 4:40 which is the Grade 1 ‘Sefton Novices Hurdle’ that’s ridden over a distance of three miles and half of a furlong. This is another race that is extremely competitive and seemingly tough for punters, however, I’ve come down on one in the form of Absolute Notions at 7/2 for Gordon Elliott and Davy Russell. He comes into the race fresh having missed Cheltenham as he was last seen when finishing second to Good Land in Grade 1 company at the Dublin Racing Festival. I think that he’s a horse that still has a significant amount of progress ahead of him, and I also think the fact that he arrives without the excursions of Cheltenham gives him a huge chance of claiming a top-level pot within this particular assignment.