Alan Thomson, the former Racing Editor at the Daily Record, picks 5 to follow on Saturday at Aintree, including the Grand National.
Gordon Elliott’s burgeoning career took root when ‘cast-off’ Silver Birch caused an upset in the 2007 National and Backstage may well have made it a notable double last year but for getting caught up in a typical Aintree melee at the 20th fence when still travelling strongly. Silver Birch’s preparation included running in points and Elliott has adopted the same policy with Backstage. He is at his best on good ground, so his backers will be hoping the taps are kept turned off.
Similar ground requirements apply to Arbor Supreme. Willie Mullins is well represented in the big race and he adopted his tried and tested preparation route in the Bobbyjo Chase at Fairyhouse where Arbor Supreme served notice that he is reaching concert pitch.
The McCain dynasty are folklore at Aintree and Donald junior’s PEDDLERS CROSS (2.50) ran out of his skin in the Champion Hurdle, making Hurricane Fly dig deep into his reservoir of courage up the run-in. The 2m 4f trip of the John Smith’s Aintree Hurdle will serve Peddlers Cross even better in a tip-top affair which has also attracted Binocular, Oscar Whisky and a rejuvenated Celestial Halo.
McCain has another likely sort in CINDERS AND ASHES (5.35) if allowed to take his chance in the John Smith’s Champion Standard Bumper. Cinders And Ashes disputed the lead until turning for home in the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham and will find this company slightly less demanding. He scored twice on flat tracks earlier in the season, so Aintree should suit.
There is an interesting Listed event at Lingfield where DUBAWI GOLD (3.00) is fancied to mop up the Freebetting.co.uk International Trial Stakes. Owner Andrew Tinkler switched his charge from Michael Dods to Richard Hannon for the new campaign and the combination struck at the first time of asking over seven furlongs here last month. The extra furlong won’t be a problem for Richard Hughes’ mount.