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Aintree Day Three – Dave Young’s Through-The-Card Picks

The third and final day of the Grand National Festival features plenty more fantastic racing, and includes the feature race of the three day Festival – The Grand National.

Racing expert Dave Young (AKA @cheltmentalFB on Twitter) gives us his through-the-card selections for the second day of the Aintree Festival.

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13:45 – Maghull Novicess’ Chase

JONBON will be looking to win at back to back Aintree Festivals after another good effort at Cheltenham in defeat. This looks much easier and it’s his race to lose but the price reflects that and we’ve got a decent card to get stuck into.

Selection – JONBON

EFT Systems Maghull Novices’ Chase (Grade 1) (GBB Race)

14:25 – Village Hotels Handicap Hurdle

GOOD TIME JONNY was a very smart winner at Cheltenham and off just a 5lb higher mark it’s hard to keep him out of the frame but I’m taking a chance on the Stuart Edmunds trained MEXICO who had been crying out for the step up to 3 miles which he showed when bolting up earlier this month. He probably needed that win to get him in to this race having been raised 7lbs for it and the last one in just 2lbs lower than his mark now. His trainer knows how to ready one for a target and has used this festival in the past to pick up big handicaps including this in 2021 with Hometown Boy.

Selection – MEXICO

Cover – GOOD TIME JONNY

Village Hotels Handicap Hurdle (Premier Handicap) (GBB Race)

15:00 – Turners Mersey Novices’ Hurdle

I’m hoping for redemption with HERMES ALLEN who didn’t go on with things at Cheltenham as I expected and in turn I can’t believe he gave his true running. The line with Marble Sands there and in the Challow Hurdle suggests it too. I do worry about his vulnerability if being pressed again and with 14 opponents he’s probably not going to get a freebie out in front so there are clear concerns. However, he’s a big price in comparison to his SP at Cheltenham and I’m more than happy to give him another chance.

Dark Raven & Irish Point will both appreciate this trip more than the 2 miles they ran at last time and there’s not a huge amount to split those in my mind.

Selection – HERMES ALLEN

Turners Mersey Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) (GBB Race)

15:35 Liverpool Hurdle

This looks a wide open race and a good quality renewal too. Last years 1-2 who are also the last two Stayers Hurdle champions too will take up plenty of the market along with this year’s runner up, while Marie’s Rock flopped at Cheltenham but has looked to be crying out for this step up in trip. Home By The Lee made a mistake enough to forgive him defeat last time out while Champ may be an 11yo but he showed at Newbury earlier this season he’s still got ability.

However, PROSCHEMA was a horse I put up in my Antepost column for the Stayers hurdle and he didn’t run. In fact he seemed to be avoiding racing after his defeat at Newbury (the race after I put him up) and his last run at Fontwell would have been nothing other than a prep for this target I feel. He’s a big price to land this and I appreciate it’s a deep field but he has won here before and providing the ground doesn’t get too soft (in which case I think they pull him) I expect him to outrun his odds.

Selection – PROSCHEMA

JRL Group Liverpool Hurdle (Grade 1) (GBB Race)

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16:15 – William Hill Handicap Chase

Just the 15 runners in this handicap means that looking for extended place terms would be advised but let’s be honest, we’re trying to find the winner and I’m going to throw two in against the field. 

There’s plenty in here who have stamina concerns so the first selection of mine is a course and distance winner back here in October & KINONDO KWETU was put into Grade 2 company when last seen which, despite his price, wouldn’t have been a race he was likely to win. I feel this is a target race and I don’t believe the mark of 137 he currently resides on is out of reach.

The second will be COCONUT SPLASH who I think is becoming a horse who plenty have given up on and not without reason. However, I’ve always thought he was an Aintree horse and his trainer is more patient than most so I think there’s still more to come and this looks a good race, but it might not be a great one.

Selections – KINONDO KWETU & COCONUT SPLASH

William Hill Handicap Chase (Registered As The Freebooter Handicap Chase) (Premier Handicap) (GBB)

17:15 – Randox Grand National Handicap Chase

I’ve put a couple of articles together for this race including a line on every runner and a star rating. The main selections from those articles are listed here but if you want to look at the reasoning then check out the links below.

2023 Grand National Trends – Who The Stats Suggest Will Win – GG.co.uk

Grand National Runner-By-Runner Guide – Part One – GG.co.uk

Grand National Runner-By-Runner Guide – Part Two – GG.co.uk

Selections – LIFETIME AMBITION, THE BIG BREAKAWAY, ROI MAGE

Winners Wear Cavani Sefton Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) (GBB Race)

18:15 – Weatherbys NHF Bumper

The lucky last & the getting out stakes looks to be one of the hardest races to solve of the entire meeting so I’m not confident however I am excited to see Nicky Richards with a potentially good prospect again in FLORIDA DREAMS. He achieved an RPR of 111 in January when eased at the finish after being ridden from the rear and having to take a bit of time to get into top gear. The long straight at Aintree will afford him as long as he needs to reach that top gear and I think there’s much more to come.

Of those towards the head of the market I think CAPTAIN CODY has the most consistent form and with the most substance having finished 6th at Cheltenham and already taking the scalp of his stable-mate Blizzard Of Oz. I really rate Jody Townend as a rider too.

Selection – FLORIDA DREAMS 

Cover – CAPTAIN CODY

Weatherbys nhstallions.co.uk Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race (Grade 2) (GBB Race)

Take a look at Dave’s Runner-By-Runner preview to the feature race of the Festival – The Grand National. He gives a verdict on every runner, including a 1-5 star rating for each horse:

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