AINTREE GRAND NATIONAL DAY 2 (FRIDAY)

13:45 Aintree Team Henderson had a great day at Aintree yesterday and I’m hoping for more of the same in the first contest at the prestigious Liverpool venue. Henderson is set to saddle both Jenkins and Lough Derg Spirit have very viable chances and it’s the latter who is going to pursuade us to part with our money. A very respectable and somewhat eye catching sixth placed effort in the Martin Pipe Conditional race at Cheltenham looks like good form and if the jockey doesn’t give him as much to do this time should be well and truly up with the principles for a stable who can barely do no wrong at the moment. Another powerhouse trainer in the form of Paul Nicholls has a runner worthy of note as the once hotly touted Zubayr has finally started to return to form and if this upward curve continues looks a very serious threat. At a much bigger price Ivanovich Gorbatov has to be monitored closely. A drastically disappointing season so far but if he can return to any of the form that saw him crowned a Cheltenham Festival winner who may have enough in his locker to hold a field of this calibre to ransom but a serious swing in form has to occur. LOUGH DERG SPIRIT (WIN) – NAP

14:20 Aintree Global Citizen looks to have a great chance after mightily impressive wins at Southwell and Kempton respectively. This does look a tougher task however and as such an each way punt looks a better option. The horse that gets the vote is Slate House who acts on soft ground and travelled nicely enough before falling at The Festival. The Tizzard yard are going well and this contest looks a little less competitive than he’s faced most recently. He’ll need to spring back to form but that’s far from impossible and a decent run may well be on the cards. SLATE HOUSE (E/W)

14:50 Aintree Ms Parfois is the most game and consistent horse you’re ever likely to see as she barely ever runs a bad race and that’s exactly why she’s worth backing this afternoon. It’s fair to say she’s not the classiest and doesn’t hail from a powerhouse stable but you’ll always get a run for your money. A very good effort last time out and this drop in trip should be beneficial. Soft ground should play in to her hands and at an each way price she looks worthy of backing. Terrefort represents connections that had an almighty day here at Aintree yesterday and definitely looks the one to beat however I’m hoping that if he falters our selection will be there to pounce. MS PARFOIS (E/W)

15:25 Aintree Of the bigger priced runners Cloudy Dream could have enough in the tank to potentially trouble the main protagonists but it’s very hard to look past the favourite Min. Second behind Altior in the Queen Mother Chase reads as great form and although still a Grade 1 contest the level of opposition looks far removed. It shouldn’t take much for Willie Mullins’ charge to add to his former race successes and it would take a lot to see Min toppled. MIN (WIN)

16:05 Aintree As with each of the three days of this festival we have a contest over the national fences and today’s is The Topham. The Waley-Cohen family have a penchant for this course and it’s no surprise that jockey Sam is riding the favourite Theatre Territory for owner and father Robert. He’s got a very generous weight to carry and a big run is expected from Theatre Territory but without a victory in all five of his Chase starts it’s hard to side with him. Bouvreuil is another horse who looks a very viable opponent to our selection especially hailing from the Nicholls yard as is Ultragold who seems to love it around these fences. The best of the rest I would argue is Shanahans Turn who, if he can recapture his Irish form, would have a lovely chance at big prices. All this being said however and it’s the ten year old Mystifiable who gets our vote. Three very consistent runs this term including a fourth over these fences has shown how much ability he has. As he’s continued to creep down the weights his chances continue to improve and this looks like the race he’s been laid out for. MYSTIFIABLE (E/W)

16:40 Aintree It may seem unkind to the other competitors but this looks like a race that Nicky Henderson has to train the winner of. As the trainer to the first three in the betting it becomes very difficult to look past Santini, Ok Corral or Chef Des Obeaux. It seems to just be a case of which of the trio looks the most likely to grab victory. All three went head to head in the Albert Bartlett at Cheltenham and it’s actually the horse that was the most disappointing that day that becomes our selection. Chef Des Obeaux has to pull up in his last race but prior to that was very impressive in his three consecutive victories. If we can put that poor performance behind him then on his best he should be able to reverse the form with his stable companions. At bigger prices both Roksana and Sams Gunner could sneak into the places if one of the main protagonists falters. CHEF DES OBEAUX (WIN)

written by Rory Paddock

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