TEMPLEGATE tackles the final day of the Aintree Grand National Festival confident of finishing the week with a bang.
Read on for his top tips, read his complete runner-by-runner guide to the race… and back any horse you fancy simply by clicking their odds below. Good luck!
GAILLARD DU MESNIL (Grand National: 5.15 Aintree, nap)
He finished strongly when winning at the Cheltenham Festival last time coming from a long way back. Willie Mullins’ runner was only getting going at the end of 3m6f there and showed similar staying power when third in last season’s Irish National. He has more to offer as a stayer and should relish this test.
GOOD TIME JONNY (2.25 Aintree, nb)
He was impressive when winning the Pertemps Final at Cheltenham and a 5lb rise in the weights looks on the lenient side. He stayed every yard of the three miles there and he’ll go close again for top trainer Tony Martin.
HOME BY THE LEE (3.35 Aintree, treble)
He made one costly jumping error that he never recovered from in the Stayers’ Hurdle at Cheltenham. It took him a while to get going again before he finished strongly. He earlier won a Grade 1 at Leopardstown ahead of Flooring Porter and Sire Du Berlais.
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JONBON may have lost his unbeaten record over fences when second in the Arkle at Cheltenham but he improved behind the brilliant El Fabiolo.
He made one late error as the pace quickened that ended his chance.
He followed a Festival second with a good win over hurdles here last season and can get his head back in front at a track that suits him.
There’s a fair gulf in class to the other runners in the line-up.
Notlongtillmay did well at handicap level before running a belter when second in the Golden Miller at Cheltenham.
He goes from the front and stays 2m4f so will try to make this a test of stamina. He is likely to be collared in the closing stages.
Calico is the horse that briefly had Jonbon off the bridle at Warwick in February and he backed that up with a gutsy handicap win at Doncaster.
This is a different level to that but he could nick the forecast spot.
Marvel De Cerisy didn’t get much of a run in the Festival Plate and is another who would prefer a longer distance while Fusain doesn’t look up to this level.
GOOD TIME JONNY was impressive when winning the Pertemps Final at Cheltenham and a 5lb rise in the weights looks on the lenient side.
He stayed every yard of the three miles there and he’ll go close again for top trainer Tony Martin.
Outlaw Peter has lots of good form over slightly shorter including when winning at Kempton last time.
That was on testing ground so he doesn’t lack for stamina and is a contender for Paul Nicholls.
West Balboa has run just four times over hurdles but was second in a Grade 1 and won the hot Lanzarote Hurdle at Kempton.
He’s been off since that January win so is fresh and could well improve for this hike in distance.
You would expect more at this early stage of his career.
An Tailliur was beaten just four lengths in the Pertemps when getting no luck in running a couple of times.
He had plenty left in the tank at the line and is off the same handicap mark.
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That makes him dangerous for Jonjo O’Neill.
Mill Green was a place ahead of him at the Festival and was third in this race 12 months ago.
He is 1lb lower in the weights which makes him one of many dangers.
Glimpse Of Gala was a good second on his last visit here and won at Warwick before running a shocker at Cheltenham.
He could bounce back under his 7lb claiming rider.
Party Business won this last year and hasn’t done a lot since.
He is 5lb higher so needs a bit more but returning to Aintree may do the trick.
Au Fleuron ran a fair race in the Martin Pipe at the Festival and could be helped by the first-time blinkers.
Itchy Feet has his quirks but showed his best when winning at Huntingdon which is a flat track like Aintree.
DARK RAVEN travelled strongly for a long way in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.
A mistake at the last flight cost him a place in that red-hot race and Paul Townend takes over in the saddle today.
He was third in a Grade 1 at the Dublin Racing Festival and has plenty of scope for improvement.
Hermes Allen was awesome at Newbury before his puzzling flop in the Ballymore.
He was a bit keen early and will find it easier to last home here.
You Wear It Well jumped brilliantly when winning the Dawn Run at Cheltenham.
She is proven over this trip and her 7lb mares’ allowance is a gift. Jamie Snowden’s star won’t be far away.
Springwell Bay takes a hike in class here but has been impressive when winning at Wetherby and Ascot.
She looks capable of holding her own at this level.
Irish Point has gone close in a couple of good races and went from the front to score in a Naas Grade 3 last time.
More rain would be ideal as he has shown his best in testing conditions but he has more to come for trainer Gordon Elliott.
Kateira has won all three starts over hurdles and had 19 lengths in hand at Market Rasen last time.
She is another who gets the mares’ allowance and the Skeltons will have her ready for this tougher assignment.
HOME BY THE LEE made one costly jumping error that he never recovered from in the Stayers’ Hurdle at Cheltenham.
It took him a while to get going again before he finished strongly.
He earlier won a Grade 1 at Leopardstown ahead of Flooring Porter and Sire Du Berlais.
He usually jumps well and can get back to winning ways.
Sire Du Berlais won this 12 months ago and is capable of showing his 33-1 Stayers’ Hurdle victory was no fluke.
He battled to the line at Cheltenham and will be right in the mix again.
Flooring Porter had an injury setback in the run-up to the Festival and could explain his fourth.
He was far from disgraced and could give his true running here.
That would give him every chance of matching last year’s second in this race.
Dashel Drasher ran a cracker in the Stayers’ to finish second. He has decent form around here too and won in November.
It’s interesting to see cheekpieces go on for the first time as you definitely wouldn’t say he was ungenuine.
They could just help him finish off his race stronger and he’s another with place claims.
Marie’s Rock disappointed in the Mares’ Hurdle at Cheltenham and this longer trip may be more to her liking.
She was too bad to be true and Nicky Henderson’s horses have been running well this week.
He also fields Champ who missed the Festival after a slightly disappointing third in the Long Walk at Christmas.
He is best after a break and was third in this last year. He’ll need his very best to match that placing.
ELDORADO ALLEN won the Haldon Gold Cup the last time he ran in a handicap and will find this a lot easier than the Cheltenham Gold Cup he ran in last time.
He is a proven stayer who goes on any ground and could be the answer to this wide-open contest.
Shakem Up’Arry jumps beautifully and was a good third in the Festival Plate last time.
He tries this trip for the first time and has a good chance of staying at this flat track.
Midnight River was below par in the Plate but earlier won a big handicap at Cheltenham and is capable of bouncing back.
He still looks on a fair enough weight.
Nassalam ruined his chances at the Festival with an early blunder that he never recovered from.
He was in good form earlier this season and looks on a fair weight.
Beauport went well for a long way in the Kim Muir and may have more chance of getting home at Aintree.
He is a Listed winner at best and is down the weights.
Karl Phillipe did well earlier this season before two modest runs at Cheltenham.
A change of track may rekindle his spark and trainer Fergal O’Brien is in decent form.
Kinondo Kwetu won here in October and has had a breathing operation since a poor run at Ascot.
That gives him a chance of showing his best which could see him hit the frame.
GAILLARD DU MESNIL means business in the Grand National.
He finished strongly when winning at the Cheltenham Festival last time coming from a long way back.
Willie Mullins’ runner was only getting going at the end of 3m6f there and showed similar staying power when third in last season’s Irish National.
He has more to offer as a stayer and should relish this test.
Last year’s third Delta Work looked better than ever when winning the Cross-Country Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.
He has less weight than 12 months ago and can run another mighty race.
Defending champion Noble Yeats has more lead in the saddle this time but seems to have improved and was a good fourth in the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
He’ll go close again if that hasn’t taken too much out of him.
Capodanno is another Mullins runner to note. He was a Grade 1 winner last year and came back from 10 months off with a solid third at Gowran Park.
Any Second Now has been second and third in the past two runnings and will be right in the mix again.
BLIZZARD OF OZ won like a good’un at Cork last time. He tanked along in the testing ground and kept pulling out more.
He can take this for Willie Mullins just ahead of stablemate Captain Cody who ran really well when sixth in the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham last time.
Samui didn’t need too much persuading to win well at Naas and has a lot more to come.
Centara showed a sharp turn of foot when scoring on debut at Taunton and is best of the Brits.
Pour Les Filles is Davy Russell’s last ride at Aintree and it could be a winner.
She was impressive last time.
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