We’ve had a few cracking days of racing already, but it’s all led up to the big one. The race that stops the nation. The race that is watched all around the world.

Grand National preparation

The Grand National is the pinnacle of it all. We’re all very happy with Any Second Now . His prep was grand, and he's done everything we've asked of him.

Obviously, getting the horse ready and getting the horse there are just two tiny parts of what it takes to win the greatest race of all, but we’re happy. It’s all down to him and Mark Walsh now.

He was unlucky last year as a horse fell in front of him and it stopped him to a standstill. He still stayed on well to finish third. We’ll need plenty of luck, as you always do, but I tell you what, it’ll be some result if he can win it for all of the family. Let's hope he can do it.


The first race is a proper competitive handicap hurdle.

I loved the way Emmet Mullins’ Winter Fog ran at Cheltenham. He ran a cracker and finished fourth in the Pertemps. I think he’s still improving and will like the track at Aintree.

I also think that Dans Le Vent has been ultra-consistent this season. It wouldn’t surprise me if he ran into a place at all.


It looks as though Three Stripe Life will finally win a Grade 1 this season. He’s just bumped into a very good horse in Sir Gerhard on his last two starts, but he ain’t here this time! This is easier and I think he’ll win well.


Obviously, Edwardstone is going to be short in the betting, but he was ace in the Arkle, and I think he’ll win again. This looks easier, anyway.


The Liverpool Hurdle looks another good renewal. Flooring Porter was a very popular winner at Cheltenham and if he’s in the same form, he’ll take all of the beating. Thyme Hill was very good in the race last year and has done very little wrong this season. He’ll like the decent ground, that’s for sure.


The Betway Handicap Chase looks another competitive handicap. Shan Blue is clearly a well handicapper horse on what he was going to do in the Charlie Hall before he tipped up. He wasn’t great at Cheltenham last time, although I’m not sure that’s his track. He’ll prefer this flatter track and could just be too good.


As I mentioned, all eyes will be on Any Second Now  . There are a few others in the race who I think will run well and they include Discorama, Kildisart, Delta Work and Fiddlerontheroof. With Betway paying seven places, I’d like to think that at least one of those selections will hit that very generous frame.


The last race of the festival is a really hot bumper. I keep getting drawn to the Willie Mullins runner, Houlanbatordechais , who was smashed in the market at Cheltenham. Everything went for him that day, but the vibes beforehand were strong, and this is clearly not as tough a race as that one.

If he keeps his head early on, it'll be interesting to see what he can do. Whatever happens, it’ll be a race to watch back as I’m sure it’ll throw up plenty of winners for next season.

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