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Daryl Carter’s Best Bets – Saturday, 15th April

Top Tipster Daryl Carter gives nine selections for Saturday’s Aintree card, including his picks for the Grand National.

Back his selections with BetUK’s HUGE new customer offer of £30 in Free Bets when you deposit and bet £10!

Posted: 4.35pm April 13th (Odds correct at time posted)

Updated: 3.20pm April 14th (Dark Raven selection added)

Updated: 7.30am April 15th (Meet And Greet added)

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2.25 Aintree – MEXICO (1.5pt E/W – 18/1 William Hill, 16/1 Bet365, 14/1 generally)

MEXICO is not flashy and has completely gone under the radar here. He relished the step up in distance in a Class 4 Novice Hurdle contest last time, winning with ease, and he ran a cracking race at this venue last year when well worth an upgrade having come from off the pace. A five pounds rise for his latest effort at Uttoxeter is very lenient given the time figure he recorded there, and he is improving fast. Unexposed and on the upgrade, he looks potentially the best-handicapped horse in the field.

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

3.00 Aintree – SPRINGWELL BAY (1pt E/W – 10/1 generally) + DARK RAVEN (1pt win – 5/1 generally)

SPRINGWELL BAY was impressive at Aintree and Wetherby when he stepped up to 2 1/2 miles, and the time figure of his hurdle debut significantly suggested that a move up in distance would benefit him – as mentioned in my Betfair column. He is now starting to get his act together in the jumping department and now is the time to side with him. He doesn’t have much to find on official ratings with many of these, and he is open to significant progress. He was never out of second gear at Wetherby when cruising to victory. He can get the better of Hermes Allen and the not-so-strong Irish contingent.

Sometimes during these festivals, you have to adjust as you go, and while I am very keen on the each-way chances of Springwell Bay, I can’t let DARK RAVEN go unbacked at the prices. The step up in distance could see him in a better light after running a creditable sixth in the Supreme Novice Hurdle last time. The Supreme Novice Hurdle has worked out very well these past few days with the wins of Fennors Cross, Inthepocket and the good run of Strong Leader. Dark Raven was on the sharp end of a strong pace in the Supreme, and having made a mistake at the last he battled on again well. He is very unexposed, and if Hermes Allen again runs poorly (Paul Nicholls has a poor record backing horses up from Cheltenham to Aintree), he will only need to run into the mid-140s to get close to winning here. His form is the strongest in the race, and 9/2 – 5/1 is a very fair price.

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

3.35 Aintree – Meet And Greet (1pt win – 14/1 generally)
MEET AND GREET was the horse I originally fancied for the Stayers Hurdle back in December, and he might be worth chacing today at big odds. Those at the top of the market had a hard race at Cheltenham, and I am not convinced this track will suit Home By The Lee. Maries Rock has to prove her stamina, having flopped at Cheltenham, while Flooring Porter has been behind the selection this season. Champ has never been out of the first two when arriving after 100 days off or more, but he dictated his win at Newbury to perfection, and he is showing signs of regression. Sire Du Berlais has good claims, having won this last year, but he has never backed up a victory, and this is a big ask just 30 days later for the 11-year-old. Dashel Drasher’s trainer is 0-11 when fitting cheek-pieces, while the remainder have big questions to answer. The 2-mile and 2 1/2-mile distances the last twice for the selection have been on the short side, and the move back up to 3m looks like a good decision by his trainer. He may have been eyeing this race for some time, and his unexposed seven-year-old boasts two Grade 1 placed efforts the twice he has run over this distance. There’s more to come from him, and he holds some of the strongest form in the race. With just three lengths to find with Home By The Lee, he looks good value to improve past that rival.

4.15 Aintree – COCONUT SPLASH (1pt E/W – 18/1 William Hill, 14/1 generally)

I know this has been a cliff horse for me, but hear me out. Those at the top of this market are suspect stayers. Nassalam ran on well on his penultimate start over 2m4f, but his closing sectionals – despite the widespread belief he would improve for 3m – do not back up that theory. Beauport has failed to stay on both attempts at this distance over hurdles and fences, and his best form has come at on deep ground over 2 1/2. Kindo Kwety has picked up some run-of-the-mill novice contests, and this is a far deeper contest than he has contested. Karl Philippe, Midnight River, and Shakem Up’Arry all come under the non-staying bracket. COCONUT SPLASH has been frustrating, granted, and I am not a fan of backing these colours as much as I once was. However, he is very fairly handicapped – probably the best-handicapped horse in the race on many pieces of form – and he stayed the 3m well at Hereford in January behind what will turn out to be a smart horse in City Chief of Nicky Henderson’s. He has been crying out to go up to 3m since his Novice Chase days, and it’s interesting his dominant point-to-point win came in April – he hasn’t raced beyond February in his career. This is there for the taking, and it’s now or never for connections, surely.

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

5.15 Aintree – GRAND NATIONAL TIPS

MR INCREDIBLE (1pt win – 14/1 generally), VANILLIER (1pt win – 20/1 generally), DIOL KER (0.5pt E/W – 80/1 generally), DUNBOYNE (0.5pt E/W – 66/1 generally) + FURY ROAD (0.5pt E/W – 66/1 William Hill + Coral, 50/1 generally)

There’s only one Grand National, so I am having a few cracks at this, but the points laid out amount to just five, so follow the staking plan according. The first is MR INCREDIBLE has long been a favourite of mine. He was a big eye-catcher in the Warwick Castle when having a near-impossible task from the rear of the field but stayed powerfully on heavy ground over 3m5f. His stamina is assured for this contest, and it was an excellent prep run in the Kim Muir. He looks very fairly handicapped on balance and has so much further improvement to come. It’s good to see Brian Hayes in the saddle.

Randox Grand National Handicap Chase (Premier Handicap) (GBB Race)

VANILLIER makes plenty of appeal, having improved his jumping for the fitting of the cheek-pieces at Fairyhouse. He, of course, comes with risks attached, but his excellent second to Kemboy at Fairyhouse on his latest start back up to 3m for the first time this season was a brilliant effort considering he was attempting to give eight pounds to the classy Grade 1 winner. There’s more to come from him over staying distances, and the ground is in his favour.

Randox Grand National Handicap Chase (Premier Handicap) (GBB Race)

DIOL KER has an in-and-out profile, but at wild odds, he is worth chancing. He is very lightly raced for a nine-year-old with just 22 starts under his belt, and nothing went right for him at Punchestown in the Grand National Trial in February – that’s now the second time he has performed poorly at that venue. Interestingly, his chase record right-handed reads 090425F, and his left-handed record reads 21. It may well be the case he prefers going left-handed. He was a big eye-catcher in the Paddy Power at 40/1 at Xmas when a fast finishing second in first-time blinkers. He is unexposed at staying distances, and he is certainly best not judged on his 10th in the 2022 Irish National, having been badly hampered at the first and then twice further throughout the contest – which was on a right-handed track. He also ran a blinder in the Thyestes in 2022. He is not out of this.

Randox Grand National Handicap Chase (Premier Handicap) (GBB Race)

DUNBOYNE ran a scorcher in the Thyestes Chase at Gowran in January and stuck to the task well. I would forgive his below-par run in the Kim Muir – although he did shape well for a moment in the contest. He was given too much to do there. The interesting angle is the switch of the cheek-pieces for the blinkers. He almost certainly wants a stern test of stamina and looks well overpriced. He is improving and is on a very handy rating of 143. This distance, given the way he travels through the race, could really suit his strong travelling style.

Randox Grand National Handicap Chase (Premier Handicap) (GBB Race)

FURY ROAD is another I will have a crack at, having done some prep for the Marsh Chase before declarations. His run at this venue in the race mentioned above last year was excellent, and it screamed of a potential National candidate. His rating is lofty, but his recent form suggests he has a huge run in him. The Ryanair didn’t quite go to plan, but he is hard to ignore on the best of his form, and he has always shaped to my eye like a real stiff test of stamina will suit him. Returning to his Novice Hurdle days, he looked a dour stayer and has been remarkably consistent when tackling three miles. Interestingly the higher the top-speed figure of a three-mile contest, the better he has performed, suggesting he needs a good test of stamina.

Randox Grand National Handicap Chase (Premier Handicap) (GBB Race)

Daryl Carter’s Best Bets

2.25 Aintree – MEXICO (1.5pt E/W – 18/1 William Hill, 16/1 Bet365, 14/1 generally)

3.00 Aintree – SPRINGWELL BAY (1pt E/W – 10/1 generally) + DARK RAVEN (1pt win – 5/1 generally)

3.35 Aintree – Meet And Greet (1pt win – 14/1 generally)

4.15 Aintree – COCONUT SPLASH (1pt E/W – 18/1 William Hill, 14/1 generally)

5.15 Aintree – GRAND NATIONAL TIPS

MR INCREDIBLE (1pt win – 14/1 generally), VANILLIER (1pt win – 20/1 generally), DIOL KER (0.5pt E/W – 80/1 generally), DUNBOYNE (0.5pt E/W – 66/1 generally) + FURY ROAD (0.5pt E/W – 66/1 William Hill + Coral, 50/1 generally)


Hear what Daryl has to say about his Saturday Aintree selections – including his thoughts on his Grand National selections:


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