Grand National Festival Betting Tips Day Two
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Grand National Festival Betting Tips Day Two

The middle afternoon of Aintree's Grand National Festival is on Friday, with another high-class offering on Merseyside. Yet again there are four Grade 1s on the card, including the Marsh Melling Chase (3.25pm) and Mildmay Novices' Chase (2.50pm), plus the Topham (4.05pm) over the famous National fences. The Racing Post bring you their betting tips for Friday's card at Aintree (1.45pm-5.15pm; seven races).



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1.45 - Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3, 2m4f)

With 22 enlisted to run, the opener on Friday is going to be a troublesome problem for punters to solve ahead of the feast of Grade 1s later on the card.

The weights are headed by Wilde About Oscar, a winner over C&D in November and 4-5 over hurdles to this point. His only setback came in the Grade 1 Challow at Newbury over Christmas when his jumping unusually let him down.

Just behind him in the weights is Edwardstone for Alan King, upped in trip here after good efforts when third in Betfair Hurdle at Newbury and fifth in the County at Cheltenham lately. This sounder surface promises to suit him and he, too, is a course winner already.

Along with the likes of Monte Cristo, Whatsupwithyou, Solwara One and Amarillo Sky - that duo help to form an exhaustive shortlist of potential contenders.

Joining them is MR COFFEY for Nicky Henderson (stablemate of Monte Cristo) who comes here having finished a solid enough seventh in the Betfair at Newbury in February. He was well touted for that race and his earlier form at the likes of Huntingdon and Newbury bode well for this course.

He also won his bumper on good ground and is one that may find more on this sort of ground/upped in trip. He remains fairly unexposed and Nico de Boinville's mount should be a leading contender.

Selection: Mr Coffey

Next Best: Wilde About Oscar


2.20 - Betway Top Novices' Hurdle (Grade 1, 2m1f)

County Hurdle hero Belfast Banter sets his sights up in grade here and, as Jeff Kidder showed in Ireland last weekend, it could be churlish to dismiss his claims of going well again following that handicap success in the Cotswolds.

Third Time Lucki was sixth behind him at Cheltenham, perhaps guilty of pushing for the front too soon under Harry Skelton. He remains with plenty upside and should be well suited on this circuit, so he's certainly one to consider in terms of reversing last month's form.

Houx Grix was fourth behind Jeff Kidder in the Boodles last month and the ?200,000 French import should go on improving for Paul Nicholls, he's a player here.

Dusart had subsequent Betfair Hurdle winner Soaring Glory behind in second on his winning debut at Newbury in November and looks a classy sort in the making for Nicky Henderson. He's been off since but has to rate a major contender for the Seven Barrows handler.

Any News had been progressing nicely prior to an unseat at Kelso in a Grade 2 in February, there's every chance he plays a role in the finish but the rapidly-improving AJERO might bag this for Kim Bailey and David Bass, at the end of a fine season for them.

He's at home on any ground and has taken a good step forward in each of five starts over hurdles, winning the last four. He dispatched three rivals with a minimum of fuss at Huntingdon last month and while this is easily his toughest challenge so far, he's a rising star and can make the class-jump a smooth one.

Selection: Ajero

Next Best: Dusart


2.50 - Betway Mildmay Novices' Chase (Grade 1, 3m)

Front-running tactics served Shan Blue well at Christmas when he won the Grade 1 Kauto Star at Kempton in good style from The Big Breakaway, but it hasn't been so since. He was reeled in by Sporting John at Sandown in the Scilly Isles in February (finishing second) and faded fairly tamely in the Marsh at Cheltenham last month after going for broke a long way out.

That race of course was partly defined by the early fall of Envoi Allen but it would be quite the disservice not to agree that CHANTRY HOUSE was an impressive winner for Nicky Henderson just the same.

He came with a strong run and was much the best horse late on, leaving Fusil Raffles and Asterion Forlonge to fill the places. He very much left the impression that three-miles around here will be within his compass and a major spring festival double beckons for him.

Sporting John's victory in the Scilly Isles was quite outstanding given how poorly he was travelling early doors. He didn't back that up at Cheltenam and he'd already lost plenty ground when he fell in the Cotswolds last time. Monkfish was too good for his rivals there, despite being well below his best, and The Big Breakaway (third) may do better here with that rival absent.

Runner-up in that Brown Advisory Novices' Chase of course was his stablemate Fiddlerontheroof for Colin Tizzard at a huge price. He's now filled that berth in five of six starts since going chasing this season (also beat Silver Hallmark when winning at Exeter in November) and so has to be harbouring each-way claims with eight still standing.

Espoir de Romay's only defeat in three chase starts saw him finish second to Royale Pagaille and he could have more to come over this new trip, with conditions unlikely to bother him.

Selection: Chantry House

Next Best: The Big Breakaway


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3.25 - Marsh Melling Chase (Grade 1, 2m4f)

Paul Nicholls accounts for three of the eight-runner Melling Chase line-up. Former Willie Mullins-inmate and past Arkle winner Duc Des Genievres has plenty to prove on form but stablemates Master Tommytucker and Politologue are worthy contenders for team Ditcheat.

The former Champion Chaser Politologue was downed by First Flow in the Clarence House at Ascot in January and missed the defence of his crown last month in the Cotswolds. He won this race in 2018 from Min, narrowly, before finishing 20-lengths second to that same rival a year later.

He's now 10-years-old and meeting some promising young rivals, which counts against him.

Master Tommytucker is also ten, but with fewer miles on the clock. He finished second to the re-opposing Dashel Drasher in the Betfair Ascot Chase (2m5f, soft) last time, but never really looked like overhauling the winner in a race that panned out perfectly for him.

That was a weak-ish Grade 1 once Cyrname pulled up, so he's certainly got more to do now if hoping to register at this level.

Dashel Drasher on the other hand continues to do what is asked of him. He won at Ascot despite a poor jump at the last that offered Master Tommytucker a shot at him. He's very game, but may be vulnerable to speedier sorts here, while he also must prove he can continue his progress away from his beloved Ascot now.

Itchy Feet has taken minor money behind Nuts Well (here) and Dashel Drasher this season over fences and was switched to hurdles last time at Haydock where he disappointed - he's got something to prove.

There's a decent Irish challenge here with FAKIR D'OUDAIRIES and Notebook for Joseph O'Brien and Henry De Bromhead respectively.

The latter was again below his best at Cheltenham in the Queen Mother last month and has never really done his best stuff there. He also was second to Fakir D'oudairies in a Naas Grade 2 in November and the JP McManus-owned runner can land this.

He finished second-best to Allaho in the Ryanair last month, a race the winner dominated completely. He only narrowly lost out to Pentland Hills here in 2019 in a Grade 1 novice over timber and promises to be well suited over track and trip here. He wasn't always fluent in the Ryanair last time but this flat track should assist him in that department and Mark Walsh's mount is the one to beat.

Selection: Fakir D'oudairies

Next Best: Master Tommytucker

4.05 - Randox Topham Handicap Chase (Grade 3, 2m5f)

A first look at the famous National Fences ahead of Saturday's big race, with this 28-runner cavalry charge as always making for a real punting challenge.

If looking for something to follow in terms of trends, Nicky Henderson is the man to note. He's never managed to bag the National itself, but the Seven Barrows supremo has won this race five times.

He saddles CARIBEAN BOY (as well as Precious Cargo, Lust For Glory, and Morning Vicar) in the latest renewal and Daryl Jacob's mount should go well. He began this season beating Fiddlerontheroof at Newbury in November and has run well three times in defeat since.

The latest of those was when seventh in the Paddy Power Plate at Cheltenham last month, a race where he didn't quite have the speed to get into it late on. He did stay on well enough late in the race however and could have a big say if taking to these unique jumping tests.

Modus already has form at this venue and is a contender for Paul Nicholls with Jonjo O'Neill Jr riding, while Two For Gold, Huntsman Son and Visioman are others to consider for being in the mix.

Second choice however is reserved for Livelovelaugh representing Patrick and Willie Mullins. He's twice made the frame in good Leopardstown handicaps this season and has previous here, having contested the National itself in 2019.

He was right there coming to three out that afternoon but didn't get the marathon trip in the end, finishing 11th. He's only rated a pound higher here and has a very good ally in the plate with him.

Selection: Caribean Boy

Next Best: Livelovelaugh


4.40 - Doom Bar Sefton Novices' Hurdle (Grade 1, 3m1f)

The remaining Grade 1 on the card here this afternoon and, having been firmly in the BRAVEMANSGAME camp last month at Cheltenham, this doesn't seem the time to desert him.

He could only finish third in the Ballymore but winner Bob Olinger looked a superstar in the making there and he was overhauled up the hill for second by Gaillard Du Mesnil - both Irish novices are likely well above average.

The increased trip here promises to suit Paul Nicholls' charge and despite effectively being put in his place last time, he does still have a look of being 'best of the British' - especially with three-miles likely to be in his favour now. He can land a second Grade 1 of the season.

If he's to be foiled, it could once more be the Irish that do it with both Cape Gentleman and Streets Of Doyen valid contenders.

After being pulled up in a disappointing Dublin Racing Festival run in early February, Emmet Mullins successfully plundered the Grade 2 Dovecote Novices' Hurdle (2m) at Kempton with Cape Gentleman later that month.

This trip ask a new question but he's got the services of Rachael Blackmore booked and the young trainer is making a real name for himself, especially with his UK raids.

John McConnell's Streets Of Doyen was third in the Albert Bartlett at Cheltenham last month and is nothing if not a battler. He was behind the re-opposing Oscar Elite that day however (with a few more of these in behind) and both may be playing for places now.

Selection: Bravemansgame

Next Best: Cape Gentleman


5.15 - Pinsent Masons Handicap Hurdle (Conditional Jockeys' And Amateur Riders', 2m1f)

The Friday finale at Aintree is going to be tough for get-out purposes but there may be plenty more to come from THE WIDDOW MAKER for Colin Tizzard and so he's worth siding with having been put in at a double-figure price.

He has improved with each start over hurdles and opened his account in a Taunton novice in February on heavy ground. He defied an opening handicap mark of 118 in fine style back there last month in a first-time tongue-tie when confidently ridden by Harry Cobden.

The handicapper has reacted with a 12lb hike for that win but Harry Kimber can offset 7lb of that in this race for Conditional Jockeys' And Amateur Riders' and he's entitled to make further progress.

He had Chez Hans behind in that Taunton race and Copperless beat the same rival soon after - albeit in more workmanlike fashion - Olly Murphy's charge is another on the upgrade.

Leoncavallo ran a good race in the Martin Pipe at Cheltenham last month, his first run for five months after he finished sixth in the Cesarewitch at Newmarket. That flat-pedigree suggests the drop in trip and this venue are going to suit him and he looks booked for a prominent role here for David Pipe and Fergus Gillard.

Selection: The Widdow Maker

Next Best: Leoncavallo






V: 1.22.1 All rights reserved. August 2021