1.30 Aintree, Saturday
Experience of the Grand National fences at Aintree is vital to winning this race, with only classy types Vic Venturi and Mr Pointment winning in the last ten years without a prior race over these big imposing fences and interestingly, both were the only two to carry over eleven stone. Blaklion obviously comes into that category after a fourth in the Grand National last April and produced a career best when second in the Charlie Hall Chase behind future Betfair Chase winner Bristol De Mai. There are not many more consistent horses than Nigel Twiston-Davies’ eight year old and he must surely be in the frame @ 7/2.
Last year’s first and third, Vieux Lion Rouge and The Last Samuri are obvious contenders again but of the three aforementioned horses, which can shoulder over eleven stone to victory? Gas Line Boy, fifth in the Grand National, was in the process of winning a veterans chase at Aintree last time before falling three out and looks a definite contender @ 10/1 while regular in this race and second last year, Highland Lodge can again run a big race @ 14/1.
Kerry Lee’s Goodtoknow will enjoy conditions, has a second in a Warwick Classic Chase to his name and ran well in the National on ground faster than ideal and may represent value @ 20/1. Sue Smith’s Straidnahanna should come into calculations, like Gas Line Boy, Goodtoknow and Highland Lodge, has the right profile for this race. This Becher Chase also can be won when out of the handicap and Federici, the veteran Portrait King and Dare To Endeavour are worth a second look at big prices.