Grand National Festival Betting Tips - Day Three

Grand National Day three

It's the final afternoon at Aintree on Saturday and that of course brings with it the race which gives its name to the three-day meeting on Merseyside and the biggest event of them all, the Grand National.

The famous handicap carries a purse that totals £1,000,000 as a field of 34 go in search of Grand National glory and the winner is guaranteed £500,000.

Clive Gildon provides his analysis on the big race as well as some other selections on day three at Aintree's biggest meeting, where they race from 1.20-5.35, with the Grand National itself due off at 4.00.

4.00 – Grand National (4m2½f)

The big one! A maximum field of 34 will engage in battle for the most famous race of them all and LIMERICK LACE might be capable of becoming the first mare to win the race for more than 70 years.

The seven-year-old has been thriving this season and proved she stays 3m when chasing home Coko Beach in the Troytown at Navan in November. That is a big-field handicap and Limerick Lace proved she can deal with this type of test on that occasion. She appears to have improved since, too.

Limerick Lace was an impressive winner of a Listed Mares' Chase at Doncaster in December and took another big step forward when beating the classy Dinoblue in the Mares' Chase at the Cheltenham Festival last time. That was a career-best effort and she remains open to further progress.

It's anyone's guess whether she will stay this trip, but she is related to Kim Muir winner Inothewayurthinkin, who stays forever. That gives hope Limerick Lace will see it out.

It's always worth having one at a big price on your side in the Grand National and the horse who catches my eye this year at huge odds is THE GOFFER.

The Goffer is running off a mark 2lb lower than when fourth in the bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown last season and is better than he was able to show at Cheltenham on his last start.

Maybe the ground was a bit too soft as he trailed home 34-lengths behind in fifth, but he travelled well for a long way and probably just got stuck in the mud.

Conditions are drying by the minute at Aintree and, provided the going is no worse than good to soft come the day, The Goffer could spring a surprise.

His last win came on yielding ground in a red-hot handicap at the Dublin Racing Festival last year and a reproduction of that form on his favoured conditions would give The Goffer an outstanding chance.



1.55 - Mersey Novices' Hurdle (Grade 1, 2m4f)

The first Grade 1 on the card and it's surprising to see that the Willie Mullins-trained runners aren't among the favourites. That might be a mistake as JIMMY DU SEUIL looks to have outstanding claims.

The five-year-old has been brought along slowly this season and took a big step forward when chasing home the top-class Ballyburn in the Gallagher at the Cheltenham Festival last month.

Jimmy Du Seuil had no chance with the winner, but he kept on strongly to see off the rest and among them were his re-opposing stablemate Ile Atlantique. Paul Townend prefers Jimmy Du Seuil to Ile Atlantique this time and that suggests the leading rider thinks he will confirm the places.

Brighterdaysahead and Caldwell Potter are dangerous opponents, but they are not in the same league as Ballyburn and Jimmy Du Seuil should find this significantly easier than when chasing home his superstar stablemate last time.


2.30 - Freebooter Handicap Chase (3m1f)

This is always one of the feature betting races before the Grand National and THE KING OF RYHOPE is fancied to land it for Dan and Harry Skelton, who won the race last year with Midnight River.

The King Of Ryhope was a 3m point winner and he showed his best form over hurdles at this trip, so it was no surprise that he improved when upped in distance at Ascot last time. He travelled like the winner that day and looked unlucky not to challenge as a mistake at the last cost him any chance.

Nevertheless, that fourth of five in Grade 2 company was a big career-best and he looks open to plenty of further improvement at this distance. The drying ground is also in his favour and it will be a surprise if The King Of Ryhope doesn't prove a lot better than a mark of 137 in time.

The Skelton's were on the board at Aintree yesterday with the top-class mare Kateira and The King Of Ryhope evidently comes from a stable that is in red-hot form. There should be plenty more to come.


3.05 - Liverpool Hurdle (Grade 1, 3m½f)

There are a lot of older horses at the top of the market for this Grade 1, but they might be vulnerable if the ground quickens and STRONG LEADER might be the one to cause the upset.

Strong Leader ran his best race last season at this meeting when a strong-finishing second behind Inthepocket and he appears to have been trained with this race in mind. He didn't go to Cheltenham as connections tried to keep him fresh for this and he ran a superb prep for the race last time.

He was a strong-finishing third behind Noble Yeats in the Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham on that occasion and this longer straight might just play to his strengths. The quickening conditions definitely will and Strong Leader has the ability to make his presence felt.

Further progress will be needed if Strong Leader is to do so, but he is still relatively lightly-raced as a staying hurdler and comes in unexposed. There is every chance he can make the improvement needed.



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