Harry Fry: Ground at Aintree is dead, but rain should improve it
The trainer previews all the racing at Aintree on Saturday, and gives his 1-2-3 for the Grand National.
Thursday was a little disappointing.
We were maybe guilty of aiming a little too high with Air Horse One, and he's had a long, hard season of carrying big weights in tough races.
As for Overtown Express, he would probably have been better waiting another day for the rain to come.
They'll both go on their holidays now and we'll look forward to getting them back out in the autumn.
Harry Fry's Grand National 1-2-3: Total Recall , Houblon Des Obeaux , Baie Des Isles
Noel Fehily said the ground was pretty dead.
It will be interesting to see how the rain affects it - I think it might actually improve things a little bit.
It's certainly going to be testing, and the winner of the National is going to have to have stamina in abundance.
You need to have a horse in the form of their life to get competitive and all the trainers will be hoping there are no last minute scares.
We've had a couple of last minute withdrawals in the shape of Minella Rocco and Vicente and people wonder why connections leave it so late, but there's only one Grand National and you have to give it every chance.
They've obviously decided the extra rain is going to hinder their chances and it's then only fair to let the reserves get in the race.
Thunder And Roses now sneaks in at the bottom of the weights.
His form reads PFF so we'll be wishing his jockey all the best for a clear round!
Total Recall could be the one to side with and I can see why he's favourite.
He obviously won the Ladbrokes Trophy but then fell in the Gold Cup at Cheltenham last time.
He's a horse with plenty of ability and I think he's capable of putting that fall behind him.
There's been a trend towards the top weights doing well in recent years but on the softer ground it might be time to look at the out-and-out stayers at the bottom of the weights.
Venetia Williams has won this before with 100/1 shot Mon Mome and I think her Houblon Des Obeaux could run a big race.
He hasn't been quite the force of old but he was a very good horse at one point in his career and hopefully still is.
He's a horse that will stay and goes well on the ground.
I thought The Last Samuri might have a chance but he probably has enough weight to carry.
A lot of people are expecting a big run from the filly, Baie Des Isles.
There's been a lot of money for her and she's another that will handle conditions,stays well and she hasn't got masses of weight either.
Elsewhere on Saturday
The Betway Mersey Novices' Hurdle (2.25pm) looks a good match-up between On The Blind Side and Black Op .
On The Blind side looked very good earlier this season before having a setback and missing Cheltenham.
I suppose Nicky Henderson wouldn't be running him if he wasn't 100% happy and, purely because he's a slightly fresher horse, I'll side with him.
Black Op obviously ran a very good race behind Samcro last time and I can't see anything outside of those two troubling the judge.
Petit Mouchoir is the one to beat in the Maghull Novices' Hurdle (3pm).
He's well clear on ratings and it's a struggle to make a case for anything else in the race.
He went off too hard in the Arkle but I'd be surprised if he races like that again.
Dan Skelton's Shantou Rock could be the one to challenge him but I think he wants better ground.
Cheltenham to Punchestown has always been the plan for Uknowhatimeanharry but I'll certainly be an interested spectator of the Stayers’ Hurdle (4.20pm).
The race at Cheltenham wasn't run at a true pace so you may not want to look into that too much.
Most of them were still on the bridle coming down the hill and I think Sam Spinner probably wished he went a bit quicker that day.
He could well bounce back here if he runs up to his best and makes sure the pace of the race suits.
The Worlds End won the Sefton here last year and is a very good horse on his day but he's been crying out for better ground.
Wholestone could be the one.
He was been pretty consistent all season, was third at Cheltenham last time and goes well in testing ground.
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