Best best for the Friday of the Grand National Festival at Aintree

Horse racing tips for Friday at Aintree

Check out our best bets, top Timeform ratings and view from connections ahead of day two of the Randox Grand National Festival.

Course Guide: The Grand National course is triangular with its apex (at the Canal Turn) the furthest point from the stands. Inside is the Mildmay course which has birch fences. A major feature of the Mildmay course is its sharpness although it's a tough jumping test.

The Grand National is run over two complete circuits taking in sixteen spruce fences first time around and fourteen the second. Alterations to the fences in recent times have had the effect of making it a less severe test of jumping than used to be case. Since 2013, the run to the first fence in the Grand National was reduced in a bid to also improve safety, resulting in the overall race distance shortening from the usual 4½m, though the run-in is still 494 yards long and includes an elbow.

Going & Weather

The going on Ladies Day at the Randox Grand National Festival is Good To Soft on all three courses following between 4mm and 5mm of overnight watering throughout. It’s a damp and grey morning at Aintree, but much less windy than on the opening day. The forecast for the day is for sunny periods, with the chance of a passing shower (0-2mm).

Grand National Festival: Friday Preview

Big race of the day

15.30 Marsh Chase

VERDICT: Aintree seems to bring out the best in FAKIR D'OUDAIRIES and Joseph O'Brien's 8-y-o can win this for the third successive season. Pic d'Orhy's winning run came to an end when second in the Ascot Chase in February but he finished 7 lengths in front of the selection that day so rates a huge threat. Hitman was an excellent third in the Ryanair at Cheltenham last month and should be in the mix again having finished second in this last term.

Timeform top rated: Fakir D'Oudairies

Pace Map:

Marsh Chase Pace Map

Pace Forecast : Even

Specific Pace Hint : Hold-up horses normally aren’t favoured at this trip here and the pace forecast suggests PIC D'ORHY (FR) should still be better placed than FAKIR D'OUDAIRIES (FR) to take advantage.

Individual Price Hint : PIC D'ORHY (FR) traded at less than half his starting Betfair SP when beaten last time out.

SKY BET OFFER: Paying three places instead of 2

Key Quotes:

Joseph O'Brien - Fakir D'Oudairies: "He’s in good shape and we’re looking forward to going back there with him. We know he likes the track and he’s going there fresh, so we’re hopeful of a good run anyway.”

Mouse Morris - French Dynamite: "He won’t run if it’s soft, but hopefully it should be all right. He seems fine. You never until you run them, but he hasn’t missed a beat since Cheltenham anyway. His form is there. He was second to Joseph’s horse and Hitman was just in front of him in Cheltenham.”

Paul Nicholls - Pic D’Orhy & Hitman: " Hitman put up arguably the finest performance of his career when third in the Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham a month ago, which came after another decent run at Newbury. After two quite hard races on the bounce we were deliberating whether to bypass Aintree and keep him for Sandown, but Hitman seems fine at home so we are rolling the dice again in the race in which he he was an excellent second to Fakir D’oudairies a year ago.

“Pic D’Orhy is among my favourites and has been in fantastic form this season, winning three Grade Two chases on the bounce before finishing second at Ascot to Shishkin, who looked unbeatable that day. We’ve deliberately kept him fresh for this race, he is in great shape and I think the track will suit him. Hopefully he has a really big chance.”

Other racing previews

13.45 Air Charter Service Mildmay Novices' Chase

VERDICT: GERRI COLOMBE only just failed to reel in the winner when losing his unbeaten record in the Brown Advisory at the Cheltenham Festival and he's taken to gain compensation here and record a third Grade 1 success over fences. Bronn was over 4 lengths behind Gerri Colombe that day but the way he travelled suggests it's entirely possible he can finish closer to the selection at this sharper track.

Timeform top rated: Gerri Colombe

Key quote: Gordon Elliott - Gerri Colombe: "He was just a bit unlucky to be beaten at the Cheltenham Festival. I’d say if you ran the race again tomorrow, he’d win it, but it doesn’t work like that unfortunately. Hopefully he can get back to winning ways on Friday.”

14.20 William Hill Handicap Hurdle

VERDICT: This is ultra competitive. CAMPROND shaped very well in the Coral Cup and could be the answer. No Ordinary Joe and Buddy One are also much respected on the back of excellent placed efforts at the Cheltenham Festival. Harry Derham is starting to make a name for himself in the training ranks and his hat-trick seeking Dargiannini is also on the shortlist along with Imperial Cup third Playful Saint, who could prove suited by this longer trip.

Timeform top rated: Camprond

14.55 Poundland Top Novices' Hurdle

VERDICT: HULLNBACK was a fine second in a Grade 2 bumper at this meeting 12 months ago and made it 2 from 3 over hurdles when scoring in a good time at Warwick in February, so he's the tentative selection in a very interesting renewal of this Grade 1. Inthepocket unquestionably sets the standard on his excellent fourth in the Supreme, but there's still a strong suspicion he'll be seen in a better light when returning to further. The unbeaten Altobelli, Found A Fifty and Luccia complete the shortlist.

Timeform top rated: Inthepocket

Key quote: Rachael Blackmore - Inthepocket: "This looks like a very competitive race, as you would expect for a Grade One, but none of the first three home in the Supreme are running. Inthepocket seems to have come out of Cheltenham well. I think that he is a horse with a big future, he has lots of potential. He travels well and he jumps well and I hope that he can run a big race.”

Friday - MBAC Aintree 2.55

16.05 Randox Supports Race Against Dementia Topham Handicap Chase

VERDICT: HAUT EN COULEURS produced another highly likeable display when fifth in the Plate and, as an assured jumper, he strikes as the sort to take to these fences, so he makes the most appeal. Al Dancer and Ashtown Lad have both won here already this term and appear to have been laid out for a big run, so they head the numerous dangers in another fascinating renewal.

Timeform top rated: Al Dancer

DELETE - Friday Topham

16.40 Winners Wear Cavani Sefton Novices' Hurdle

VERDICT: GREY DAWNING is going the right way and showed bundles of stamina when winning a Grade 2 at Warwick in January. His shrewd handler will no doubt have targeted this event and he is taken to land the spoils. Absolute Notions will also appreciate this stiffer test of stamina and looks sure to make his presence felt, whilst sole mare Apple Away will be dangerous if let loose on the lead. Cheltenham Festival winners Stay Away Fay and Iroko also enter calculations in what looks a cracking contest.

Timeform top rated: Iroko

Key quote: Oliver Greenall - Iroko: “He’s the second top-rated horse in the race, so I think he deserves a crack at it. He came out of Cheltenham well and having that extra week between there and Aintree has helped him. The softer the ground, the better for him. The flat track is a bit of a concern, but I think the extra trip will be ideal.”

17.15 Abersoch Land And Sea Handicap Hurdle

VERDICT: PARRAMOUNT continued his upward trajectory over hurdles with another dominant display at Fakenham 4 weeks ago and, with his in-form rider's claim off-setting a fair chunk of his subsequent 10 lb rise, he looks sure to make another bold bid. This is ultra-competitive however, with the prolific Soul Icon a big threat returned from a short break. Go Dante, Gaoth Chuil and Blueking d'Oroux are a trio of others fancied to be in the mix also.

Timeform top rated: Parramount

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