CHELTENHAM Festival is in the past, the sun is shining (a bit) and bookies are braced for a bumper week of punter winners – the Grand Nationa
CHELTENHAM Festival is in the past, the sun is shining (a bit) and bookies are braced for a bumper week of punter winners – the Grand National is BACK.
But picking the winner at Aintree is notoriously difficult.
Luckily for you, SunSport’s red-hot tipster Steve Mullen – Templegate to you and me – has been poring over the form for months.
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Here, he gives his best tips for day one of the Grand National Festival.
CLAN DES OBEAUX (2.50 Aintree, Nap – best bet)
He has been in the frame for the past two runnings of this race and can get his head in front. He has been in decent form this season and put up a decent defence of his King George crown when third.
Sir Alex Ferguson’s horse stepped up on that to go down in a tight finish at Newbury last time and the first-time cheekpieces could just liven him up a little bit. We know this trip and track suit so he should be right there.
HITMAN (1.45 Aintree, nb – next bet)
He got back on track with an easy victory at Newbury last time after taking a tumble in the Grade 1 Scilly Isles Chase at Sandown in February. He was going nicely at the time and would surely have figured in the finish.
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Paul Nicholls thinks a lot of him and the decision to swerve Cheltenham for this race can pay dividends.
BILLAWAY (4.05 Aintree, treble – chuck in for a big win)
He ran well when second in the Cheltenham version of this and is reunited with top amateur Patrick Mullins. He likes to be up front, no bad thing over these big fences and has staying power.
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Templegate backs Fergie's horse on day one of the Grand National Festival
1.45 Hitman (nb)
Fast improver who won easily at Newbury last time out.
Already a Grade 2 winner and has much more to come.
2.50 CLAN DES OBEAUX (NAP)
Has been placed in the race twice and can go close.
3.25 Jason The Militant
Took another step forward when winning at Fairyhouse latest.
4.05 Billaway (treble)
Good second at Cheltenham and looks too good for these.
4.40 On The Slopes
Went well at Cheltenham and this flatter track should help.
5.15 Elle Est Belle
Third in the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham and this is easier.
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Don’t forget, there are more races going on around the UK on Thursday and Templegate has a pick in those too.
1.00 True Hero
Won well on last run here and can strike again.
1.35 Deevious Beau
Struck here at the weekend and big chance under penalty.
Two good runs at Newcastle and should handle this surface.
2.40 May Night
In flying form at Kempton and champion jockey takes over today.
Likes this track and can handle the drop in distance.
3.50 Silver Shade
Had lots in hand when scoring at Newcastle last time out.
4.25 Brandy Station
Impressive winner here last time and gets on well with this rider.
1.25 Castel Gandolfo
Two good efforts over hurdles and has more to offer.
2.00 Blazing Saddles
Dug deep when winning at Stratford last time out.
Getting some help from the handicapper and this is wide open.
3.05 Letsbe Avenue
Has bits and pieces of form at this level and trip suits.
3.40 Calva D’Auge
Won both his hurdle runs before a bumper outing last time.
4.15 Fleck Ivy
Good win last time and more to offer over fences.
4.55 Minella Voucher
Knocking on the door and this looks a good chance.
5.30 Kandoo Kid
Two decent runs so far and doesn’t need a lot more to score.
Quirky type but won nicely here last time out and can score again.
5.20 Velvet Vista
In cracking form over this course and distance.
5.50 Headley George
Had a fair bit in hand when scoring over C&D last time out.
6.20 Luna Wish
Won and second on his past two visits to this track.
6.50 Arlecchino’s Arc
Went close at Kempton last time and doesn’t need much more.
Impressive win here last time when seeing out this trip strongly.
7.50 Global Prospector
Good win at Wolver latest despite a modest draw.
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