14:05 Thrisk

The brilliantly named PRINCE OF BEL LIR (best priced at 6-1) won on his reappearance last season off a mark of 74 and should hold strong claims off only 1lb higher this year. Following that victory last season he went on to finish a ¾ length 3rd off a mark of 79 and a ½ length 2nd off the same mark.

Prince Of Bel Lir struggled towards the end of the season but that has meant that he has dropped down to a mark of 75 and he should run well yet again on his reappearance with up to five places on offer.

Prince Of Bel Lir - 0.5pts e/w @ 6/1

17:15 Aintree

The Grand National looks a high class renewal of this race this year and I fancy three against the field with bookmakers offering up to seven places on the race.

The first is ANY SECOND NOW (best priced at 11-1) who ran extremely well in the race last season to finish 3rd despite being badly hampered by a faller at the 12th fence. The Ted Walsh trained ten-year-old races off a 7lb higher mark this year but that makes him 8lbs better off with Minella Times and he has had a better preparation than his rival this year. He comes into this race having won the Grade 3 Bobbyjo Chase last time which has often been used as a prep run for this race and I think he is really solid for this race from a place perspective.

The second is RUN WILD FRED (best priced at 18-1) who should be well suited by this race as a prominent racer and it would be a surprise if he doesn’t stay this trip. The Gordon Elliott trained eight-year-old finished 2nd in the Irish Grand National as a novice last year off and has run consistently well this season on his four starts. He won the Troytown Handicap Chase earlier this season off a big weight before finishing 2nd in both the Grade 1 Neville Hotels Novice Chase and the Grade 2 National Hunt Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. He gets the services of Davy Russell this time following the absence of Tiger Roll and he should run well.

The third and final selection is LONGHOUSE POET (best priced at 16-1) for Martin Brassil who trained Numbersixvalverde to win this race in 2006 and had Double Seven finish 3rd in 2014. The eight-year-old has been lightly raced since defeating Run Wild Fred in a novice chase at Punchestown in 2020 but it was his Thyestes Chase win in January that makes him one of the main contenders for this race. He stayed on well over 3m1f on soft ground that day giving the impression that this extreme test would suit and he can be excused his below par prep run at Navan in the a hurdle race. He was a high class novice hurdler with placed form behind the likes of Envoi Allen and Latest Exhibition and this will have been the target for a long time.

Any Second Now - 0.5pts e/w @ 11/1
Run Wild Fred - 0.5pts e/w @ 16/1
Longhouse Poet - 0.5pts e/w @ 16/1