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Saturday, 6 April 2013

Aintree Day 3 - The Grand National

Maybe it was the stench of tanning products?  Liverpudlian ladies, liver chestnut in colour swigging neat vodkas providing distraction from the track and clouding my mind.  Something certainly has to be blamed for my laying of Dynaste, opposing of Sprinter Sacre and losing of £220 on festival Friday.   At Fishers Cross and My Tent or Yours provided some respite, returning about about a ton plus some acca money but that just serves as evidence for the size of those other losses.  Sprinter Sacre was simply stunning over that longer trip yesterday and really has nothing but a Gold Cup or a King George to win now. I think he could do it!


Liverpool, however, is the perfect place to revive and refresh your punting passions.  Last night the city centre was teeming with life and laughter, and this morning the aftermath of alcoholic effects is being tempered perfectly by the aroma currently emanating from our hosts' kitchen.  A full English breakfast is on the way, and so is Grand National Saturday.

Being a three day meeting, the cards at Aintree are jam-packed with quality.  Hearty handicaps follow grade 1 contests, equine behemoths every way you turn and today is no different.  Overturn goes up against Alderwood in the Maghull Novices' Chase; the 3-mile Liverpool hurdle sees Grands Crus, another David Pipe trained grey bidding to prove his doubters wrong and demonstrate that a return to hurdling is just the tonic required to get back to winning ways; and in the Grand National, my money is carried by the same horse who carries my dreams - Soll - who was bred by my friend's father, sired by Denman's father Presenting, and could be the mother of all bets I have ever placed.  I got on at nearly 300/1 months ago.  When the weights and entries were being discussed he was way down the list, but today he is actually competing in the greatest race on turf.

I don't know why this picture is blurry, but I'm hoping my eyes will be wet with blurry tears when Soll romps home later

1.45 Mersey Novices' Hurdle

It's between Up and Go for Donald McCain and Dodging Bullets for Paul Nicholls at the top of the betting market in this 8 horse race.  Up and Go hasn't won on going faster than soft and his price is a bit on the skinny side, but looks to be a banker to get us started.

2.15 Maghull Novices' Chase

Overturn was run ragged by Simonsig over the undulations of Cheltenham and followed him home an Arkle Chase fourth, some 30 lengths behind.  With that in mind, Alderwood is tempting so I'm going to reverse forecast the two but with a leaning towards Overturn, who is a real favourite of mine.

2.50 Liverpool Hurdle

Solwhit is a class act, and Alan King's Smad Place will likely feature in the places.  Holywell is another festival winner to be feared in this exciting renewal, although the race is marred slightly by the absence of the mighty Big Buck's.  In the same red and white colours of the Stewart Family, I'm going to back Celestial Halo to go one better than at Cheltenham, and I'm also going to get Grands Crus on side at a tempting price.

The Grand National

I'm running out of time here and the champagne cork has just been popped by our hospitable friend Cairnsey, so all's left to say is come on Soll.  I have made some other selections, influenced by Pricewise, AP McCoy's choice of horse and by the huge price about Oscar Time, runner up in 2011's race. 

Here we go again...