Alan Thomson, the former Racing Editor at the Daily Record, puts up five tips at Aintree on Saturday including Seabass for the National. View selections below.
SEABASS (4.15) has been given the ideal preparation for the John Smith’s Grand National and can provide jockey Katie Walsh with her place in history as the first woman rider to win the Aintree showpiece.
Brother Ruby rode Papillon to victory in 2000 for father Ted and Seabass looked poised to give Katie glory 12 months ago when they hit the front two out. Although run out of it up the gruelling run-in by Neptune Collonges and Sunnyhillboy, Seabass posted an excellent effort. This year, after a spin over hurdles, Seabass was handed his Aintree pipe-opener over fences at Fairyhouse at the end of February, running on into third under considerate handling and he is a must for the shortlist.
Ireland has assembled another formidable raiding party and, with the Dessie Hughes team in great nick, Rare Bob is also worth an each-way dabble after being brought down at the fifth fence last year. The handicapper has given 2010 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Imperial Commander an outstanding opportunity (rated 158 here compared to 174 in his pomp at Cheltenham), while Roberto Goldback should go well at a nice price for Nicky Henderson/Barry Geraghty now that he encounters a sounder surface.
SOLWHIT (2.50) and Celestial Halo, who fought out a thrilling finish to the Ladbrokes World Hurdle, lock horns again in the John Smith’s Liverpool Hurdle and the Irish horse can confirm superiority. Solwit’s only previous visit to Liverpool saw him win the 2009 Aintree Hurdle, beating Fiveforthree, and he has form on good ground, too, going down by a neck to Hurricane Fly at the Punchestown festival. African Gold, who travelled and jumped so well at Cheltenham before being outgunned by At Fishers Cross, and impressive Coral Cup hero Medinas, add even more lustre to a fascinating contest.
Dodging Bullets bids to restore his reputation after flopping at Cheltenham and will be one of the market leaders for the opening John Smith’s Mersey Novices’ Hurdle. However, he had a distant view of Grumeti in the Anniversary Juvenile Hurdle here 12 months ago and preference is for UP AND GO (1.45). Donald McCain’s rising star is unbeaten in four completed starts, his latest victory romp coming at Ascot when routing Aaim To Prosper.
McCain, whose family name is so synonymous with Aintree, saddles ever-popular Overturn in the novices’ chase and he should be more at home here than at Cheltenham when so disappointing last time. However, he will have a fight on his hands against Arkle Trophy runner-up BAILY GREEN (2.15) who really served it up to Simonsig after travelling well throughout.
The concluding bumper is always a minefield but Nigel Twiston-Davies’ PURE SCIENCE (5.45) brings solid Cheltenham form to the table, having run sixth to Briar Hill in the Weatherbys Champion Bumper.
Compare horse racing odds and bet at the best prices