Grand National 2016
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Aintree Festival day three preview

Frank Monkhouse | 8 April 2017

Grand National headlines Saturday’s card

It’s one of the standout days on the sporting calendar, the Grand National at Aintree. The nation’s best-loved horse race. It attracts attention from a wide-range of punters, from the once a year £1 gamblers who side with the name of a family member or the pretty pattern on the jockey’s jersey, to those who have been keeping a close eye on the build-up. Trawling through the results of warm-up races, looking for any small shred of hope or half-hint.

Whatever your tactic, Coral is the place to make your bets. We love the big day as much as you do, the carnival atmosphere and big prices, it’s a real sense of occasion in the office. Click here to place your 2017 Grand National bets, or to get on all of Saturday’s UK and Irish horse racing.

Still undecided? We give a selection in each of Aintree’s seven races, including our final pick in the main event…..

1.45pm – Handicap Hurdle

22-runner grade three contest over three-miles, we start as we mean to go on with Barney Dwan paying a visit to the winner’s enclosure to get the first of seven for us on Saturday. Well we can dream. The selection caught the eye last time when finishing second behind Presenting Percy in the Pertemps at the Cheltenham Festival. I had him noted as one to keep close, and am happy to give him another go at 15/2 here.

2.25pm – Novices Hurdle

The first grade one of the afternoon, and Finian’s Oscar is the pick we have our stake money on. Colin Tizzard’s four-year-old gelding remains unbeaten from three starts, including at Exeter last time when beating down Taws. A short-priced favourite that day, he more than lived up to the hype, running a perfect race with an inch-perfect display of jumping. There’s still more to come, and we’ll see it here at a delightful 3/1.

3.00pm – Novices Chase

Charbel fell last time out in the Arkle, but was going well at the time, and loves dragging his rivals out of their comfort zone early. There’s a lot to like about the selection, he’s as honest and they come and meets challenges head on. The fact he was involved in the Arkle shows his class, and if he’s over that fall, then I expect him to pick up exactly where he left off. Runner-up behind Altior in a grade one at Sandown the time before, should have enough to beat an uninspiring field. 4/6 jolly.

3.40pm – Handicap Chase

David Pipe and Tom Scudamore team up on the improving Starchitect, and we had him backed at Cheltenham last time, although with no luck. He finished off the pace that day, ending fifth in a race won by Road To Respect. On paper not the most impressive, but it was a decent effort in very good company and I expect his class to shine through here at 6/1. He deserves a little more respect than that.

Tom has sat on Starchitect (right) to get a feel for the horse.

4.20pm – Liverpool Hurdle

Supasundae is the one for us at a fantastic 11/2, third-favourite in a market dominated by Yanworth at 2/1. Punters will remember he was a solid winner of the Coral Cup at the Cheltenham Festival last time, beating Taquin Du Seuil into second. His finish won him plenty of admirers that day, staying on to get the job done. Has a nifty turn of foot, that will serve him well in this race against classy opposition. I believe there’s still more he can give.

5.15pm – Grand National

It’s the big one, and we have written plenty on this race, from past winners, to trainer profiles to a runner-by-runner guide. We’ve said everything we’re going to say, and now it’s time to pick what we think will go well. The National selection is Definitely Red. Brian Ellison’s rep made easy work of a warm up for this race, taking the Grimthorpe at Doncaster by some distance. Winning the Grand National would surprise no one, least of all traders. 10/1 at the time of writing.

6.15pm – Handicap Hurdle

It’ll be a strange atmosphere when this finale goes to post. Most race goers will be drowning their sorrows or celebrating backing the winner of the national. There’s a race to be won however, and for us Master Of Finance is the boy to be on. Has finished runner-up in each of his last two, but everything looks primed for him to strike at a chunky 11/1.

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