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Lucky Loader’s Day 3 Aintree Preview: Corach Can Defend His Crown

It was a better day for us at Aintree on Friday, as we got two winners, Kateira and Mystical Power. Saturday looks like a cracking card, and I think that there is plenty of value to be had. Good luck with whatever you’re backing in the Grand National, and please remember to gamble responsibly!

Aintree National Fences Horse Racing

1.20 Aintree – Bold Endeavor (Each Way) / Monmiral (Each Way) / Flouer (Each Way)

This is a great betting race, and there are a few I really like here. The first one on my shortlist is Bold Endeavour. He doesn’t hold any secrets from the handicapper, but he’s a horse that you can usually hold your hat on in these kinds of races. The last time he saw him, he ran a solid race to finish fourth in the Pertemps Final at the Cheltenham Festival, and I think a repeat performance here will see him in the mix. The eight-year-old gelding is just an out-and-out galloper, and I can see Aintree suiting him very well.

Next on the list is the Pertemps winner, Monimiral. We’ve always known he’s a talented horse from his juvenile days, as he won the Grade 1 Juvenile Hurdle at this meeting in 2021, but he had kind of lost his way between trying fences. However, last time out at Cheltenham, he was brilliant, and he seemed to react well to the first-time blinkers. He’s now 6lbs higher in the weights, but with his proven back class, he could still be on a dangerous mark, and he should not be discounted.

 My last selection in this race might require a bit of a leap of faith, but Floueur looks like a lurker waiting to happen. The son of Legolas hasn’t recaptured much of his old form since he left Gordon Elliott, but he did put up a good performance to finish a close second at Doncaster in March behind Curly Finger when he was beaten by a nose. He is now 7lbs lower than when he joined Rebecca Menzies yard, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if a race of this nature has been the plan.

1.55 Aintree – Esprit Du Potier (Each Way)

There aren’t many that appeal here, but the dark horse could be Esprit Du Potier. His trainer, Lucinda Russell, is no stranger to success at Aintree with her Grade 1 novice hurdlers, as the likes of Ahoy Senor and Apple Away have won at big prices for her in recent years. The last time we saw the five-year-old gelding, he bolted up to make all at Newcastle. He might not have beaten much, but he could have won any more impressively. We know he’ll stay further, and if Derek Fox decides to go forward with him, he could be hard to peg back.

2.30 Aintree – Forward Plan (Each Way) / Twig (Each Way)

Again, I like a couple here, and I think both have good chances. The first of them is Forward Plan for Anthony Honeyball. He’s a horse that’s been on a massive upward curve this season and was a good winner of a Grade 3 Handicap Chase at Kempton, rallying well in the closing stages. The handicapper has raised 4lb for that success, but I wouldn’t rule out further improvement, and I think the long straight at Aintree will be right up his street.

The other one I like is Twig, trained by Ben Pauling. He’s a bit of a cliff horse for me, as he often draws me in, but unfortunately, I didn’t fancy him in the Ultima when he finished second. I thought he’d hate the ground that day, but he seemed to handle it, and he even surprised his trainer. He’s now 4 lbs higher, but Beau Morgan will be able to take off a handy 5 lbs off his back, and I can see him running well.

3.05 Aintree – Sire Du Berlais (Each Way) / Strong Leader (Each Way)

Whenever Sire Du Berlais comes to Liverpool, he just seems to love it, and I can’t let him go unbacked. We know plenty about a lot of these, including Sire Du Berlais, but with no Teahupoo, it’s an open enough race. I thought the 12-year-old gelding shaped with promise at Cheltenham, and he was staying on well in the closing stages, suggesting that this has probably been the target. If he is in the mix coming up to the last hurdle, he’ll go very close.

Elsewhere Strong Leader is a horse I want to keep on side. He’s got a very good record at Aintre being two from two. He’s been kept fresh for this race and he ran a cracker at Cheltenham to finish third in the Cleeve Hurdle, considering he looked like he didn’t handle the course. He’ll have a good chance if the ground continues to dry out.

4.00 Aintree – Corach Rambler (Each Way) / I Am Maximus (Each Way) / Limerick Lace (Each Way) / Kitty’s Light (Each Way)

Some of you probably know what I have liked for the Grand National if you read my shortlist last week, and I am pleased that the majority of them all feature here.

The first place to start is with Corach Rambler. Some people may say he had a hard race at Cheltenham, but people have got to remember that was his first race since the Betfair Chase at Haydock in November, and that form was boosted on Thursday by Gerri Colombe. His season has all been geared around this race, and Lucinda Russell was more than likely using the Gold Cup as his prep run. Overall, the race reminds me of the year that Tiger Roll won it, and I think he’s the one they’ve all got to beat.

 I Am Maximus, is another one who has been on my radar for this. He’s already won an Irish National and won a Grade 1 Novice Chase at Fairyhouse this season. He’ll stay all day and was impressive in his preparation for this race when winning the Bobbyjo Chase last month.

Next on my list is Limerick Lace, who has come in for support for this race since I put her up at 25/1 last week. She’s been a superstar mare for Gavin Cromwell this season, and she was a gutsy winner of the Mares’ Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. I think she’s been crying out for this step up in trip, and her half-brother Inothewayurthinkin won the Kim Muir and Grade 1 Mildmay Novice Chase, so there is plenty of stamina in her pedigree. I am hopeful she’ll put up a bold bid.

 My last selection for the Grand National is Kitty’s Light. He’s another who’s had his sights set on Aintree, and I thought he shaped ok when finishing seventh in the Ultima at Cheltenham. The eight-year-old gelding has been a terrific horse for Christian Williams, and last season he won an Eider Chase, a Scottish National, and the Bet365 Gold Cup. He’s a horse who just loves a proper test of stamina, and he’s always looked like a National horse. As long as the ground isn’t too testing, he’s got a great chance.

5.00 Aintree – Found A Fifty (Win)

Found A Fifty has the best form on offer here with his second in the Arkle, as it’s already been franked by Il Etait Temps winning the Manifesto earlier in the week. I don’t think the opposition here are near his level and I suspect him to take all the beating.

5.30 Aintree – Good And Clever (Each Way) / Got A Dream (Each Way)

It’s as competitive as always in the lucky last, but again, there are two that have made my shortlist.

My main selection is actually one of the outsiders, Got A Dream for Nicky Martin. I was at Huntingdon when he won last month, and he was very impressive. If you go back and watch the race replay, he looks like he was going to fall in a hole, but he battled on well and was very green, which suggests there should be more to come from him. The yard knows what they’re doing when they’ve got a nice horse, and I can see him surprising a few people at a big price. 

The other horse who made my shortlist was Good And Clever for Warren Greatrex. He won at a canter last month at Warwick, beating a previous winner. His trainer always used to have a strong hand in bumpers a few years ago, but has been a little bit quiet in recent years. This year, he seems to have had a better crop of bumper horses, and this might just be the best of them.

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