Randox Grand National Festival at Aintree – day one best bets

It is day one of the Randox Grand National Festival at Aintree on Thursday with plenty to get stuck into if you wish. I am taking a slightly careful approach again this year again' as it can throw up some surprises being so close to the Festival at Cheltenham as it is and the end of the Jumps season. It is a decent card on Thursday and I have a couple that I fancy.

The going is officially soft for Thursday with the chance of rain every day of the three-day meeting.

Best bets for the horse racing at Aintree Thursday 11th April

The 2m4f Grade One Close Brothers Manifesto Novices' Chase gets the meeting underway at 1.45. Il Etait Temps put in a fair effort in the G.1 Arkle over two-miles and returns to a longer trip for this. There has been some cash for him but I think that is the Willie Mullins effect rather than a true reflection of his chance.  Grey Dawning heads the market having beaten the re-opposing Ginnys Destiny in the G.1 Turners Chase at Cheltenham. I backed the second at the Festival and they arrive 1-1 in their personal duel in the Novices division this year. On this flatter less testing track I wonder if the front-running Ginnys Destiny may be able to take the jolly out of his comfort zone, Grey dawning stays three-miles, and nick this from the front. At the prices, I am prepared to back the Paul Nicholls trained eight-year-old again and I am on at 9-2.

Sir Gino is short of the Grade One 2m1f Boodles Anniversary 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle. On all known form he should win but following the well publicised issues the Henderson stable had during the Cheltenham festival (this one missed his intended engagement there) I can’t be backing him at such skinny odds.

The 3m1f Grade One William Hill Bowl Chase looks like a cracker of a renewal. Shishkin always has to be considered but is another from the Henderson yard so has that question mark with the form of the string very much an unknown at the moment. Bravemansgame is an old favourite of mine but is winless this season and simply hasn’t looked the force of old recently; was perhaps unlucky in the King George where I did back him. Corbetts Cross was an easy winner of the 3m6fG.2 National Hunt Chase at Cheltenham but this is tougher and he may find things happening a bit too quickly for his liking. Gerri Colombe was my pick in the Gold Cup where he was a valiant second and is the form pick providing that effort hasn’t left a mark. There is no Galopin Des Champs here today and with more rain forecast the going should prove testing enough to see him tough this out and basically outstay his rivals. I am on at 15-8.  

Be lucky