Saturday’s ITV Racing Tips – 5 Selections for a Lucky 31 on Grand National Day
Day three of the Randox Grand National Festival marks the return of the world’s most famous steeplechase, preceded by three Grade One contests and another competitive handicap chase on the Mildmay Course.
We’ve tried to work the oracle one last time on what could prove to be a profitable afternoon for armchair punters!
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2:25 Betway Mersey Novices’ Hurdle
The beautifully bred My Drogo – by Milan out of a Midnight Legend mare – did not see a racecourse until last October, but has quickly made up for lost time, winning all three starts over hurdles, including two at Grade Two level. Indeed, Dan Skelton’s 6-year-old never really looked like being beaten in the Bet365 Premier Novices’ Hurdle, over 2 miles 2 furlongs, at Kelso last month and, although that form has yet to be tested, he cannot be faulted on what he’s achieved so far.
Selection: Drogo (2/1 with SBK)
3:00 Doom Bar Maghull Novices’ Chase
While hardly an imaginative selection, Shiskin has cannot sensibly be opposed. Nicky Henderson’s 7-year-old has won all eight completed starts over hurdles and fences and was impressive, not for the first time, when easily beating Eldorado Allen by 12 lengths in the Arkle Challenge Trophy at the Cheltenham Festival. He is officially the best horse in the race, by some margin, and there appears no reason why he cannot win again.
Selection: Shishkin (1/6 with SBK)
3:35 Ryanair Stayers Hurdle
Paisley Park and Thyme Hill re-oppose for the third time this season, with preference, on this occasion, for the latter. Philip Hobbs’ 7-year-old missed the Cheltenham Festival with a ‘minor’ muscle pull, but was only headed in the final stride when beaten a neck by Paisley Park in the Porsche Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot in December. He had previously beaten the same horse by 1½ lengths, in receipt of 3lb, in the Ladbrokes Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury on his seasonal reappearance in November, so his 112-day absence is less of a concern than it otherwise might be. Back on faster ground, on a sharp, flat track, Thyme Hill can come out on top once again.
Selection: Thyme Hill (9/4 with SBK)
4:15 Betway Handicap Chase
Top Notch hasn’t won since December, 2019 but, in the interim, has been restricted to three runs and undergone two wind operations. Now a 10-year-old, he has been a fine servant to connections and returned to something like his best when third, beaten 6¼ lengths, behind The Shunter in the Paddy Power Plate at the Cheltenham Festival. A repeat performance could easily be good enough and he can score a memorable success for 7lb claimer Luca Morgan.
Selection: Top Notch (7/1 with SBK)
5:15 Randox Grand National Handicap Chase
Once again, no prizes for originality, but it’s nigh on impossible to get away from Cloth Cap, who’s not only 14lb ‘well in’ compared with future engagements, but also the epitome of a modern Grand National winner. His lack of experience over the National fences is less of a worry than it would have been, say, ten years ago and he’s fully entitled to his position in the betting market. Of course, he still needs luck in running but, barring accidents, he may well prove a cut above the opposition.
Selection: Cloth Cap (4/1 with SBK)
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