ITV Racing Tips: Eclair Surf to make biggest splash in Grand National
It’s Grand National day, the one day when the eyes of the nation are on horse racing, if only because they have had a bet.
For many of those punters it will be a case of getting out the pins to pick their horse, but there are other routes to the winner, though they are never easy to navigate.
So much is down to chance in the Grand National with 40 runners competing over 30 fences along a marathon trip.
No doubt the lion’s share of public money will pour on history-maker Rachael Blackmore, who will attempt to complete back-to-back successes on Minella Times, this time as top weight.
There is a very strong Irish presence in the race yet a British horse is at the top of the betting in the shape of Snow Leopardess, whose unbeaten season includes victory over these fences in the Becher Chase.
Bred and owned by the Fox-Pitt family of which eventer William is married to ITV presenter Alice Plunkett, the grey mare would be another hugely popular winner.
The Grand National is the focal point of ITV’s coverage with the network showing five live races which will also feature two Cheltenham Festival heroes in Edwardstone and Flooring Porter.
Coverage begins on ITV from 14:00 and we have previewed the three most significant races of the day in our ITV Racing Tips.
Beaten three times by Sir Gerhard, Three Stripe Life has a chance to secure a decent prize with his rival sitting out this contest.
He got the closest yet to Sir Gerhard in the Ballymore at Cheltenham where he finished two and a half lengths behind the Willie Mullins star.
He’s been a model of consistency for Gordon Elliott and has yet to finish outside the first two over hurdles. It’s his turn to get his head in front.
Danny Mullins gave Flooring Porter a brilliant ride to win the Stayers’ Hurdle for the second time and will no doubt attempt to pull off another win from the front in the Aintree version.
His rivals will know what to expect but whether they can do anything about it is another thing. Thyme Hill and Champ, second and fourth at Cheltenham, will give it a go but it’s more likely to be the case that Flooring Porter is simply too good for them. He can win again.
All eyes will be on Rachael Blackmore and Minella Times to see if they can pull off a famous double after last year’s historic success.
We know it can be done as Tiger Roll showed, but Minella Times is not Tiger Roll and Tiger Roll never won off top weight of 11st 10lb. That is 21lb more than Minella Times carried to victory in 2021 and that will probably stop him.
Delta Work, a multiple Grade 1 winner, has the class and comes here after defeating Tiger Roll in the Cross-Country at Cheltenham, the route Tiger Roll used to take. But he too has plenty of weight.
At least they will not lack stamina, but nor will Eclair Surf who looks a much better candidate after scraping into the field as number 39 with 10st 6lb. He has already run over four miles, finishing second in the Eider Chase.
Time has shown that conceding 11lb to his conqueror Win My Wings was an impossible task considering the way that horse completed a hugely impressive win in the Scottish Grand National last week.
Eclair Surf front-ran his way to victory in the Classic Chase in January and up front is often the best place to be at Aintree to avoid fallers. Two For Gold and Fiddlerontheroof are others to consider with Any Second Now tipped to do best of the Irish.
ITV Racing Schedule, Saturday 9th April
14:25 Aintree – Mersey Novices’ Hurdle
15:00 Aintree – Maghull Novices’ Chase
15.35 Aintree – Liverpool Hurdle
16:15 Aintree – 3m2f handicap chase
17:15 Aintree – Grand National
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing