It’s the return of the famous Grand National Fences at Aintree on Saturday when they stage the Becher and Sefton Handicaps over the birch-clad obstacles.
There’s also a cracking renewal of the Grade 2 Many Clouds Chase on their seven-race card between 11.45am and 3.15pm.
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Our tipster has selections for all seven races at Aintree.
11.45 – William Hill Extra Place Races Daily Novices’ Hurdle (2m1f)
DARGIANNINI gave his rivals a solid beating on debut in a bumper at Sedgefield in October and looks to have quite an engine. He had 20 lengths in hand at the line and the runner-up boosted the form when scoring back there recently. If the son of Fame And Glory can jump, he’s got outstanding prospects here. Straw Fan Jack won over further at Hereford in October on his second start back and has since made the promising Fifty Ball fight hard at Ascot. The drop in trip isn’t necessarily a positive but he should give a good account of himself.
Selection: Dargiannini –
12.20 – Follow WillHillRacing On Twitter Handicap Chase (2m4f)
This increased trip might help GOA LIL to cut out the jumping errors that have hindered him over fences in two runs. There’s been definite promise from Nigel Twiston-Davies’ charge and he’s got respectable each-way claims. Quoi De Neuf was second over C&D four weeks ago and has prospects again for an in-form Evan Williams team, while Mr Mcgo is more exposed than a few of these but gets on the shortlist on account of his consistency.
Selection: Goa Lil –
12.55 – William Hill Play Responsibly Handicap Hurdle (2m4f)
Hunters Call should go through the race as well as anything but may settle for minor money at the end. Captain Tom Cat’s winning run was ended on soft ground at Cheltenham last month. He’s not discounted, though he might want things to dry out a bit. NAVAJO PASS took on a tough assignment over C&D last month on his seasonal bow, facing the likes of Summerville Boy and Ch’tibello. He should land a blow on his switch to handicaps.
Selection: Navajo Pass –
1.30 – William Hill Becher Handicap Chase (Grade 3, 3m2f)
Last year’s one-two, Walk In The Mill and Kimberlite Candy, are much-respected despite increased marks, the latter bidding to become the first horse to win this three times, having also obliged in 2018. Minellacelebration is thriving and not overlooked in haste but a chance is handed to COO STAR SIVOLA in the hope that the 2018 Cheltenham Festival winner takes to these unique jumping tests. His return from 610 days off at Bangor last month was acceptable and he’s now 5lb shy of his previous win-mark.
Selection: Coo Star Sivola –
2.05 – williamhill.com Best Odds Guaranteed Fillies’ Juvenile Hurdle (Listed, 2m1f)
Hiconic boasts rock-solid form and is yet to finish outside the first two in six starts over hurdles. He may extend that run but possibly whilst playing second fiddle to MEGAN. Stuart Edmunds’ filly had smart Flat form in Germany and was professional and comfortable in a winning hurdles bow at Leicester last month. The fifth won next time and she can take the class-rise in her stride.
Selection: Megan –
2.40 – William Hill Many Clouds Chase (Grade 2, 3m1f)
Native River, the 2018 Gold Cup hero, won this easily last year, his case helped when main rival Might Bite got rid of Nico de Boinville early on. He also won the Denman Chase at Newbury in February and won’t give up this crown easily. Frodon is nothing if not determined and his Cheltenham handicap win under a big weight six weeks ago was testament to his character. He might not repel Native River and SANTINI as easily, however.
The Nicky Henderson inmate goes well fresh and underwent wind surgery following his comeback success last season at Sandown. He added the Cotswolds Chase in March before being inched out by Al Boum Photo in the Blue Riband race itself in March. He can sometimes be lazy, but he’s only had six starts over fences and the best is yet to come.
Selection: Santini –
3.15 – William Hill Grand Sefton Handicap Chase (National Course, 2m5f)
What a tale it would be should Might Bite decide these fences are to his liking and stage a career-reviving turnaround! Hopes springs eternal but form tells a different story. Modus was well clear of SPRINGTOWN LAKE when they finished first and second over 2m4f here four weeks ago. The latter gets a nice pull at the weights today and, over these fences, could well turn things around for trainer Philip Hobbs in a wide open finale where the likes of Didero Vallis and Senior Citizen also merit serious consideration.
Selection: Springtown Lake –
*All odds correct at time of writing