Grand National Tips 2018
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Aintree 2015: Alder Hey Handicap Hurdle preview (13:40)

Some Buckle looks nicely treated on the pick of his form and decent each-way value in the 2m 4f Alder Hey Handicap Hurdle at Aintree (13:40).

Trained by Tom George, this gelding has only had four starts over hurdles and, after winning in good style on his debut at Southwell, ran a cracker to be beaten a short-head by Glingerburn at Doncaster.

The pair pulled 11 lengths clear of the field, and the winner is a very useful sort who has gone to win twice since and is now rated 152.

That makes Some Buckle’s mark of of 135 look very workable, and the six-year-old posted a solid effort off it on his handicap debut last time out when sixth of 23 to Ebony Express in the ultra-competitive Imperial Cup over 2m 1f at Sandown.

Some Buckle kept on well from off the pace to be beaten just four lengths, and it was a cracking effort for an inexperienced novice against seasoned handicappers.

Judge on that run, the son of Milan should appreciate the step up in trip in this and, with Denis O’Regan in the saddle, Some Buckle looks weighted to run a huge race.

Champion jockey AP McCoy has chosen to partner the JP McManus owned The Saint James instead of Snake Eyes, but I feel that the latter may well prove the better of the pair and the biggest danger to Some Buckle.

Trained by Nicky Henderson, this gelding has always had a big reputation but, after finishing a highly promising third of 19 to Clodaw Kaempfer in a hot bumper at Fairyhouse on his debut, failed to trouble the judge in his four starts over hurdles.

The seven-year-old was turned over at 1/5 and 2/5 in two of those, but looked weak and far from the finished article.

It looked as if Snake Eyes needed more time to strengthen and mature, and that view was confirmed when he made a winning return to action at Sandown on his seasonal reappearance back in December.

Despite not being always fluent at the obstacles, the son of Oscar made smooth headway from off the pace and, after being produced at the last, showed a nice turn of foot to beat Amore Alto by 1/2 a length.

Snake Eyes scored with more in hand the the winning margin suggests, and was far from disgraced last time out when 10th of 24 to Katie T in the valuable Boylesports Hurdle at Leopardstown on soft ground.

The better going that Snake Eyes now encounters should suit, and he should be really competitive off a mark of 128 having been given an 82 day break to freshen up.