Alan Thomson, the former Racing Editor at the Daily Record, puts up five tips from Aintree on Saturday, including Long Run for the National. View selections below.
LONG RUN (4.15) can stamp his class on the Crabbie’s Grand National and provide Sam Waley-Cohen with another Aintree scalp. The much-maligned amateur gave Warne an exemplary ride in Thursday’s Foxhunters’ Chase and Long Run has been afforded an outstanding chance by the handicapper. The former Cheltenham Gold Cup hero and dual King George winner can no longer sit at chasing’s top table but is no back-number. Nicky Henderson skipped Cheltenham this year and Long Run enjoyed a perfect prep at Kelso, proving much too good for solid yardstick Knockara Beau. He is chucked in here off a 160 mark and only needs some luck in running to play a leading role. Favourite Teaforthree, third last year, endured a fairly punishing race in the Gold Cup three weeks ago but is hard to ignore along with classy rookie Rocky Creek, last season’s Welsh National winner Monbeg Dude and popular top weight Tidal Bay.
TRIFOLIUM (2.05) was taken out of his comfort zone in the Arkle Trophy but the Irish raider can put his sound jumping to good use in the Maghull Novices’ Chase. Trifolium wasn’t beaten far in third at Cheltenham but is probably better judged on his wide-margin Leopardstown romp over Felix Yonger and Mozoltov.
ZARKANDAR (2.50) boasts some cracking course form and can reverse World Hurdle placings with At Fishers Cross in the Aintree Stayers’ Hurdle. Zarkandar repelled The New One 12 months ago in the John Smith’s Aintree Hurdle over a shorter trip but developed a frustrating dose of seconditis behind that same horse and Annie Power (twice). The seven-year-old was ridden less aggressively as usual when stepped up in distance in the World Hurdle but ran on steadily up the hill into fourth, one place behind At Fishers Cross. Paul Nicholls has reached for the blinkers Zarkandar wore when beating The New One last year.
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