Gary O’Brien: My best bets for Grand National Day at Aintree

Home » Gary O’Brien: My best bets for Grand National Day at Aintree

The horse racing broadcaster picks out his best bets from across the card at Aintree on Saturday, including a selection for the big race/

13:20 HANDICAP HURDLE

WEST BALBOA

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unsurprisingly looks to have been laid out for a repeat bid in this race and the mare can strike again from a 6lb higher mark. After a couple of uninspiring efforts, she made a timely return to form when rattling home for a close sixth behind stable-companion Boombawn at Kempton last month.  

13:55 MERSEY NOVICES’ HURDLE

BRIGHTERDAYSAHEAD

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was a very costly failure at Cheltenham but she may be able to make amends under more suitable circumstances here. Gordon Elliott’s charge appeared to get tapped for toe after travelling powerfully for much of the Mares Novices Hurdle last month but retains huge potential.  

Stable-companion Staffordshire Knot provides useful back-up, and with cheekpieces now applied might be capable of hitting the frame. The Shantou gelding is a good deal better than his latest effort at Thurles might suggest. 

16:00 GRAND NATIONAL

CAPODANNO

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was my fancy for last year’s Grand National, and while he ultimately came up a bit short, there are grounds for believing he can do a lot better this year. First and foremost, the former Grade 1 winner has had a much clearer run at things this season, whereas in 2023 he managed just one run before Aintree. Indeed, there have been a string of creditable efforts this time around, the highlight when taking advantage of a good opening in the Cotswold Chase in January, and he turned in another fine effort back at Cheltenham last time when fourth in the Ryanair Chase.

Capodanno didn’t exactly enjoy the run of the race there, either, and the icing on the cake is the booking of Keith Donoghue. The Meath man is enjoying a tremendous season and it’s hard to imagine a more suitable jockey for a horse who did himself no favours by racing keenly twelve months ago. Limerick Lace – the choice of Mark Walsh – Delta Work, Mahler Mission and Panda Boy are all high on my shortlist as well. 

17:00 MAGHULL NOVICES’ CHASE

Found A Fifty deservedly heads the market here after his fine Arkle second but I think he’s worth opposing with HERCULE DU SEUIL

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, who brought off a five-timer before being given a winter break and promises to be ideally served by the track at Aintree. He bagged a Grade 2 novice hurdle around this time last year on the back of a similar layoff and hopefully he can avoid getting into an early battle with Nickle Back.  

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