14:25 Aintree

Connections of GOOD RISK AT ALL (best price 7-1) are either going to be geniuses or made to look pretty foolish forfeiting handicaps for a 137-rated horse in favour of running in a Grade 1, but with the theory that the son of No Risk At All is a good bit better than the official assessor suggests, he’s fancied to justify their bold policy. 

Undone by hesitant jumping on his hurdling debut at Chepstow back in November, Sam Thomas’ gelding then had his slightly suspect technique at the time put to the sword by Jonbon at Newbury next time out, but that said, he still ran a good deal better than he did a month previously. Once again undone by how the race panned out at Warwick next time, he left the overriding impression that he would be seen in a much better light when going a stride or two slower over further and as it turned out, that theory worked out beautifully at Ascot when last seen. The way he travelled through what was a fairly well-run race at the Berkshire venue allowed him to make a mockery of his opening mark of 127 and following that romp, he was soon installed one of the ante-post favourites for the Coral Cup. Missing out on that target due to the ballot, one would have presumed the natural target would have been the similar handicap won by Langer Dan here yesterday, but the mere fact he rocks up here up against quite a few horses rated far superior, probably is a fair indication of the regard the six-year-old is held at home. 

Good Risk At All - 1pt e/w @ 7/1

15:00 Aintree

As we saw yesterday with Langer Dan, the Skelton’s aren’t usually too far away when they have a plan and it would come as little surprise if THIRD TIME LUCKI (best price 5-1) were to go close to executing his long-term target in this Grade 1 with conditions to suit.

Not good enough for Edwardstone twice this season, the son of Arcadio did manage to get a good deal closer to his old rival at Warwick last time out and while his conqueror has gone on to claim ultimate glory in the Arkle at the Cheltenham Festival, the decision to stay away from the big meeting and come here fresh for another crack gives him at least a fighting chance to turning around the form. Moreover, as we saw at Doncaster two starts ago when he beat Do Your Job, the faster the ground the more likely he is to run to maximum capacity, and with today’s pace likely to be extremely strong from the start with both Gentleman De Mee and For Pleasure in the field, the race should set up nicely for Harry Skelton to bide his time and deliver him late. 

Third Time Lucki - 1pt @ 5/1
Third Time Lucki without Edwardstone - 1pt @ 7/4

17:15 Aintree

A Grand National where it’s almost impossible to have a strong view – 9-1 the field tells you all you need to know – but there are three who have a lot of the credentials befitting many other previous winners and they are worth playing against the field.

First port of call is FIDDLERONTHEROOF (best price 16-1) and this consistent performer has the class to give his supporters a decent spin. Placed at Grade 1 and 2 level as a novice, his second season has seen him run tremendous races in two of the most competitive handicaps either side of the new year, and if you look at how he was staying on in the latter stages of the first of those events at Newbury over 3m2f, you’d say he was crying out for further. The fact that he operated really well in a big field, strongly-run environment where the fences come at you thick and fast at the Berkshire track strongly suggests he will cope admirably with the Aintree examination and having missed Cheltenham with a view to coming straight here after a gallant effort under top weight at Ascot back in February, everything about the composition of his challenge appears spot on. 

As we know, the Irish raiders have a fine record in the great race in recent times and two from the Emerald Isle who have solid-looking profiles in this year’s renewal are ENJOY D’ALLEN (best price 14-1) and LONGHOUSE POET (best price 16-1).

The former, similarly to last year’s hero Minella Times, finished placed in the Paddy Power Chase at Leopardstown’s December meeting and since then, JP McManus has saw fit to add to him to his ranks. Completing his preparations with a gentle tootle around in a handicap hurdle back at the same venue a month ago – a tactic used by many previous winners of this race in the past – the son of Network could easily put his relatively small handler on the map. The latter also has quite a few things in his favour, none more so than being housed by Martin Brassil, who won the National with Numbersixvalverde back in 2006. Similar to his previous stablemate, the son of Yeats landed the Thyestes Chase on-route to Aintree glory and the form of this season’s renewal at the Co Kenny venue couldn’t have worked out any better since. A bit of a flop when sent off favourite back over hurdles last time out, in mitigation, the 2m4f journey was way short of his best, but this proper stamina test should be more to his liking, and this lightly-raced sort has all the hallmarks of being well-suited to the rigours of the race.

Fiddlerontheroof - 0.5pts e/w @ 16/1
Enjoy D'Allen - 0.5pts e/w @ 14/1
Longhouse Poet - 0.5pts e/w @ 16/1

18:20 Aintree

Alan King has won this race with Pangbourne and Harambe in the past, so he knows what it takes to capture this Grade 2 bumper, and the Barbury Castle handler looks to have a fine chance of adding to the roll of honour with ERNEST GRAY (NAP) (best price 11-2). 

A game-winner of a Punchestown bumper on his debut for Colin Bowe, the son of Walk In The Park was picked up for new connections for 105k at the Tattersalls Cheltenham sale and on the evidence of his first outing since switching yards, the money looks well spent. Sent of third favourite in what appeared a competitive bumper on paper at Warwick, the five-year-old had no trouble going with the strong pace and then when asked to go about his business inside the final half a mile, he readily drew clear of his six rivals. Posting a good number for a race of its kind, he created a favourable impression with the way he hit the line and with the distinct possibility of even more to come from this chasing type (ran a bit green late on), a big run should be forthcoming from this potentially smart prospect. 

Ernest Gray - 1pt e/w @ 11/2