Horse Racing

Grand National Festival 2021 tips and best bets for Aintree day two

It's time for day two of the 2021 Randox Grand National Festival.

Friday's card is full of quality after an action-packed Thursday, when Sir Alex Ferguson celebrated a 62-1 treble.

Among the wins for the Manchester United legend was Clan Des Obeaux's Betway Bowl, which carried a first prize of £84,195.

The Cheltenham Festival's top jockey Rachael Blackmore also put her name on the scoresheet in the Grade 2 Goffs UK Nickel Coin Mares' Standard Open NH Flat Race.

Her mount Me Too Please was sent off at 14-1 in the betting – and the horse she teams up with in Saturday's Grand National Minella Times is around those odds.

Tips for Aintree on Friday

1.45

NEWSBOY’S 1-2-3

1 EDWARDSTONE

2 WILDE ABOUT OSCAR

3 KATESON

EDWARDSTONE deserves a change of luck – and the step up to two and a half miles could be the answer.

Sixth, albeit at a distance of 23 lengths, to Shishkin in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham last year, Alan King’s son of Kayf Tara made an encouraging return to action when fifth to The Shunter in the Greatwood Hurdle at the home of jump racing in November.

The seven-year-old capsized at the fourth fence of his chasing debut, at Doncaster in December, but a confidence-boosting dismissal of three rivals in a handicap hurdle at Market Rasen the following month put my selection back on track.

Edwardstone ran a cracker when third to Soaring Glory in the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury in February, and when fifth to Belfast Banter in the County Hurdle at the National Hunt Festival last month.

Tom Cannon’s mount was keeping on in the closing stages on both occasions, so King’s move to tackle an additional four furlongs here makes sense.

Dangers lurk at every turn in a head-scratching start to proceedings, but Wilde About Oscar is on a roll and deserves his place at the head of the betting, with Monte Cristo, Kateson and Master Debonair others to consider.

2.20

NEWSBOY’S 1-2-3

1 THIRD TIME LUCKI

2 DUSART

3 AJERO

THIRD TIME LUCKI steps up to the highest level over hurdles for the first time on the back of two defeats – but don’t let that put you off.

Having signed off from bumpers with a fourth at Cheltenham in March 2020, my selection landed building-society odds on his first two attempts over hurdles at Uttoxeter and Wetherby last October.

Dan Skelton’s son of Arcadio almost certainly found the racing surface softer than ideal when second to For Pleasure at Prestbury Park the following month.

But he made handsome amends on Kempton Park’s King George VI Chase undercard on Boxing Day with a nine-length call from Flic Ou Voyou.

Skelton then sent Third Time Lucki to Musselburgh for the Scottish Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and the seven-year-old, ridden as usual by the trainer’s brother Harry, was challenging eventual winner Bareback Jack when losing all chance with a mistake at the final flight, returning home in fourth.

At Cheltenham last month, my selection ran sixth, beaten a shade over three lengths, to Belfast Banter – himself sixth at Musselburgh – in the County Hurdle.

But there’s a weight differential to the tune of a stone here, and that should enable Third Time Lucki to turn the tables.

Favourite Dusart, a half-brother to Nicky Henderson’s dual Cheltenham Festival hero Simonsig, has been off since a defeat of Soaring Eagle at Newbury on Guy Fawkes Day.

He is a horse of considerable potential and is not overlooked lightly.

For Pleasure, third in Cheltenham’s Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, and the going-places Ajero are next on the list.

2.50

NEWSBOY’S 1-2-3

1 CHANTRY HOUSE

2 SHAN BLUE

3 FIDDLERONTHEROOF

CHANTRY HOUSE is already a top-class novice chaser – and the opportunity of tackling beyond three miles should show him in his best light yet.

Having bolted up at Ascot in November on his chasing debut, last year’s Supreme Novices’ Hurdle third suffered a shock defeat at the hands of stablemate Fusil Raffles at Cheltenham 13 days before Christmas.

But Nicky Henderson’s veterinary team worked on a back issue after that defeat, and their labours bore fruit with a victory at Wetherby in mid-February.

The unbeaten Envoi Allen dominated the betting market at 4-9 for Cheltenham’s two-and-half-mile Marsh Novices’ Chase – but fell at the fourth of the 16 fences.

Nico de Boinville had to ask some questions when Shan Blue, winner of the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase at Kempton Park over Christmas, quickened the tempo at the halfway stage.

But Chantry House came up with the right answers, surging up the hill to beat Fusil Raffles by three lengths, with Shan Blue fading paying for his earlier exertions in fifth.

The additional yardage here looks right up the market leader’s street.

Fiddlerontheroof and The Big Breakaway filled the podium (Sporting John fell two out) behind Monkfish in the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham and warrant respect, as does the up-in-grade Espoir De Romay.

3.25

NEWSBOY’S 1-2-3

1 NUTS WELL

2 POLITOLOGUE

3 NOTEBOOK

NUTS WELL should not be underestimated as he steps into the big league for the very first time.

Trained in Northumberland by Ann Hamilton, the 10-year-old arrives at the highest level on the back of a steep upward curve over the past two winters.

Travelling south to Wetherby for a five-runner handicap chase on December 7 2019, the son of Dylan Thomas had two chasing victories to his name and a British Horseracing Authority rating of 130.

Danny McMenamin’s mount won that day and the pair have since embarked on a winning spree.

After successes at Musselburgh and Wetherby in the first two months of 2020, Nuts Well, third at Doncaster on his final outing of the last campaign, returned with a score at Kelso at the start of October.

And he gave his trainer the biggest success of her career when carrying top weight to a length-and-a-quarter margin over Clondaw Castle – with Itchy Feet third – in the Old Roan Chase over this afternoon’s course and distance three weeks later.

His revised mark of 159 still gives Nuts Well a few pounds to find, but he may even have more to offer, and Hamilton has hit the target with her last two runners.

Six of his seven rivals have won at the highest level.

Politologue, with a first and second in this race on his CV, has to be feared, while Fakir D’Oudairies did best of Allaho’s pursuers in Cheltenham’s Ryanair Chase.

Softer ground would suit Dashel Drasher, who beat Master Tommytucker in the Grade 1 Ascot Chase, while Notebook can get involved if lasting out the trip.

4.05

NEWSBOY’S 1-2-3

1 IBLEO

2 CARIBEAN BOY

3 LIVELOVELAUGH

IBLEO has plenty going for him after a fine third in the Grand Annual Chase at Cheltenham last month.

After silver medals at Ascot and Cheltenham in the first half of the campaign, Venetia Williams’ eight-year-old went one better at Sandown Park two days into the New Year.

Charlie Deutch’s partner then followed up at Doncaster at the end of January, before lining up as a 9-1 shot at the National Hunt Festival.

Ibleo with his reputation intact despite the defeat, coming from last place to make the podium behind Sky Pirate, who had beaten him at Prestbury Park in December, at a distance of three and three-quarter length.

A son of miler 2,000 Guineas and St James’s Palace Stakes runner-up Dick Turpin, Ibleo, whose sound jumping technique should serve him well over the National obstacles, has to prove his staying power at two and a half miles.

But his finishing effort last time raises hopes the distance will prove within range and, with eight outings to his name over fences – he has made the first three on each occasion – Ibleo still has his best days ahead of him.

Livelovelaugh enjoyed himself before weakening in the 2019 National and is well worth a second look, while Huntsman Son and Caribean Boy, respectively sixth and seventh in Cheltenham’s Paddy Power Plate can also get involved.

4.40

NEWSBOY’S 1-2-3

1 BRAVEMANSGAME

2 CAPE GENTLEMAN

3 GALLYHILL

BRAVEMANSGAME is a worthy favourite to regain the winning habit.

Paul Nicholls rates the six-year-old as good a novice hurdler as there has been at Ditcheat’s Manor Farm Stables in many a year.

Although beaten by Soaring Eagle at Chepstow in October on his obstacles bow, Harry Cobden’s partner went one better in handsome style with an 11-length supremacy at Exeter and a seven-and-a-half-length margin at Newbury the following month.

His sights were then raised to the top level for the Challow Hurdle at the Berkshire course two days before the turn of the year.

And Bravemansgame gave a command performance, motoring home 10 lengths to the good of Star Gate.

Sent off at 4-1 for the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham last month, my selection finished third, beaten 12 lengths behind Bob Olinger, making the running until unable to summon a change of gear when headed at the second-last flight.

Such is the esteem in which he holds Bravemansgame, Nicholls admitted to being underwhelmed by that effort.

But, with neither the winner nor runner-up Gaillard Du Mesnil in the line-up – and with the step up to three miles looking very much the right move – Bravemansgame stands out.

Cape Gentleman bounced back from a flat effort at Leopardstown’s Dublin Racing Festival to land the Grade 2 Dovecote Novices’ Hurdle at Kempton Park last time.

He has further progress up his sleeve and can fight it out with Alaphilippe and Gallyhill for the minor medals.

5.15

NEWSBOY’S 1-2-3

1 COPPERLESS

2 WILD MAX

3 THE GREY FALCO

COPPERLESS, lightly raced and progressive, has an attractive profile.

The son of Kayf Tara, third in a Lingfield Park bumper in November 2019, made his hurdles debut at Perth the following September, running second to Stoner’s Choice.

Copperless went one better in a maiden hurdle at Market Rasen 23 days later to earn a British Horseracing Authority rating of 117.

That assessment was not put to the test for 157 days, when the six-year-old lined up against nine opponents for a two-mile handicap at Taunton 17 days ago.

In the event, Copperless proved ahead of his mark, travelling strongly under Aidan Coleman – who makes way for 7lb claimer Lewis Stones – before asserting to beat Chez Hans by one length.

The runner-up won next time and a 6lb rise in the weights may not prevent Copperless, who is a long way from the bottom of the barrel, from doing likewise.

Top weight Wild Max is taken to chase the selection home, with Bold Enough and The Grey Falco others names to throw into the melting pot.

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