Crabbie’s Grand National Festival – Opening Day
Punters can barely control their excitement as the most illustrious and watched race in the calendar year is only days away, with Opening Day of the 2014 Crabbie’s Grand National starting on Thursday.
Last year’s renewal of the big race saw Auroras Encore stride to victory for Sue Smith and Ryan Mania to land a massive surprise 66/1 shot.
The two days leading up to the main event are always almost equally entertaining, with some of the season’s most talented horses lining up in a variety of races.
Opening Day is host to both the Doom Bar Aintree Hurdle and the Betfred Bowl Chase, which are only two of the day’s four Grade 1 contests.
Aintree Hurdle Betting Tips
THE NEW ONE is a strong favourite for the Hurdle, a race which he managed second place in 12 months ago. He was just held by Zarkander last time round, but after a fine season including a great effort in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham, a win looks very much on the cards.
At a very short price of 4/9 with Sky Bet, the value is not worth betting on for most people; however it adds value to a multiple bet and a forecast is another likely and valuable option.
Rock On Ruby is switched back to hurdles, following a disappointing run ruined by an early mistake at Cheltenham and represents decent value at 9/1.
Betfred Bowl Betting Tips
The Betfred Bowl Chase is lined up to be an interesting renewal and one that is likely to trouble the punters. Dynaste flew to victory in the Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham in March and will have to take on both last year’s winner FIRST LIEUTENANT and King George winner Silviniaco Conti in this.
Paul Nicholls’ eight-year-old could not hold on in the Gold Cup and was beaten in to fourth close home, but is sure to run well in this. First Lieutenant was another scheduled to enter the Gold Cup, only to be withdrawn before the race due to not eating up.
Geraghty is likely to be aboard Michael Morris’ entry that is currently best price 10/3 with Coral. He usually runs well in the spring and may be the best bet here. Fehily is again aboard Silviniaco Conti who finished third last year and is 9/4 with Sky Bet.
The first race on the card sees two Cheltenham Festival winners, Tiger Roll and Hawk High both face one another, among a large field of entries.
Tiger Roll won bravely over this distance then and had a whole list of this field behind him on that occasion. A bold run is expected once more and we are likely to see him go close.
Hawk High will be stepping up from 2m and also had a large number of this field behind him when he won at Cheltenham. Both warrant huge respect.
Another to keep an eye on if he is entered on the first day is Double Ross. He has been fantastic at Cheltenham and finished third at the Festival. A big performance is expected from him in whichever race he is entered for over the three days.
BETS OF THE DAY:
THE NEW ONE @ 4/9
FIRST LIEUTENANT @ 10/3
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