The five-day entries for Saturday’s Randox Health Grand National were announced yesterday and no major surprises. Gordon Elliott’s Tiger Roll continues to head the market at 8/1 with BetVictor (ew 6 places) although there was a big name defection with Willie Mullins advising that his brilliant Arkle winner Footpad would miss Aintree having scoped dirty last week.
Might Bite is the star attraction on Thursday and is 4/7 at BetVictor to win the Aintree Bowl one of four Grade 1’s to open the meeting. Note Nicky Henderson’s We Have a Dream (3s from 7/2) who missed Cheltenham has been the best-backed horse in the Juvenile Grade 1 with Apples Shakira out to 2/1.
The form of Wood Pigeon’s Fakenham second was given a boost by the winner (Herecomesmynumber) at the weekend and he looks to have been given an ideal opportunity to go one better at Hereford this afternoon. Aidan Coleman keeps the mount for the Olly Murphy yard who have been quiet of late and could do with a winner.
The Philip Hobbs yard have had a number of inmates bounce back to form of late and I just wonder if the return to hurdles and first time blinkers will help Vieux Lille (3.10) in today’s test of stamina. The 8-y-o has struggled over fences in a light campaign so far this term but has bits of form over obstacles to suggest he is well treated.
Cloudy Bob (4.15) found the combination of 3m and heavy ground too much at Exeter last time but he is only 2lbs higher than when scoring at Taunton on his penultimate start and he has been given plenty of time to get over those two quick runs in a week.
There is a competitive handicap for three-year-olds at Wolverhampton this evening over 7f with a number of major yards represented. Roger Varian’s Faadhel did not get the clearest of runs when a never nearer fourth over C&D last month and makes his handicap debut from a favourable looking mark.
He may need further than tonight’s 7f trip, however, and marginal preference is for another making his handicap debut Jungle Room (6.45) representing the inform yard of Kevin Ryan. The selection shaped as if he would appreciate an additional furlong when third at Chelmsford having missed the kick last time although he stayed on well. If he is a bit sharper from the gates this evening, he must go close and he is certainly bred to be better than a 68-rated animal.
Dual course winner Lady Makfi (6.15) is fitted with cheek-pieces for the first time and has slipped to a favourable looking mark. The mare has run well at Southwell on her last couple of starts but the switch from fibresand to tapeta should suit this 6-year-old especially if the headgear works the oracle.
Connections appear to have found an ideal starting point for Count Octave 98.15) in the closing 12f Novice Stakes. The 4-y-old finished sixth in the St Leger at Doncaster when last seen back in September and this looks an ideal prep for the Yorkshire Cup at York next month, which has been nominated as the colts main early-season target.
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