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2019 Grand National Festival tips - Brian Healy's selections for day three of the Aintree Grand National meeting

Brian Healy in Tips 6 Apr 2019

Brian Healy gives his race-by-race selections and best bets for each of Saturday's classy contests on the day three racecard at Aintree.

Arguably the biggest day in the entire horse racing calendar worldwide unfolds on Saturday and the latest renewal of the world’s most famous steeplechase, the Grand National, dominates the day’s racecard as the pinnacle of the third day of top-class horse racing action at the Aintree Grand National Festival.

The marathon contest spearheads a racecard which features three Grade One races as well as the famous steeplechase, with the big race of the afternoon getting underway over the fearsome and unique fences.

1:45 - Gaskells Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) Cl1 (4yo+) 3m½f
2:25 - Betway Mersey Novices' Hurdle (Grade 1) Cl1 (4yo+) 2m4f
3:00 - Doom Bar Maghull Novices' Chase (Grade 1) Cl1 (5yo+) 2m
3:40 - Ryanair Stayers Hurdle (Registered As The Liverpool Hurdle) (Grade 1) Cl1 (4yo+) 3m½f
4:20 - Betway Handicap Chase (Grade 3) Cl1 (5yo+) 3m1f
5:15 - Randox Health Grand National Handicap Chase (Grade 3) Cl1 (7yo+) 4m2½f
6:20 - Pinsent Masons Handicap Hurdle (Conditional Jockeys' And Amateur Riders' Race) Cl2 (4yo+) 2m½f

The ITV Racing cameras will be in action again on Saturday, and Ed Chamberlain and the team will again be on hand to cover all the TV racing with their usual expert tips, insights and post-race analysis; and Brian Healy gives his race-by-race selections for Saturday’s quality racecard.

1:45 - Gaskells Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) Cl1 (4yo+) 3m½f


Wind surgery appears to have raised the game for POKER PLAY (11/1, William Hill) who has shown good form back from a break with a runner-up effort at Exeter followed up by a win at Uttoxeter latest.

David Pipe’s charge forged clear to score readily on that occasion, posting a nine lengths’ defeat of Bold Plan and the smart Acey Milan in the process.

The handicapper has perhaps reacted harshly with an 11lbs rise in the weights, but the longer trip could unlock a further jolt of improvement in the Martaline gelding. 

He has made the frame in all but one start at around three miles, and it wouldn’t come as a surprise to see another bold show despite the additional burden that his rise in the weights demands.

2.25 - Betway Mersey Novices' Hurdle (Grade 1) Cl1 (4yo+) 2m4f


KATESON (11/1, William Hill) could be worth chancing to get back on the scoresheet having appeared to find three miles stretching him last time out.

Tom Lacey’s Black Sam Bellamy gelding was a dual-winner earlier in the season prior to finishing a good third to Champ in the Challow Hurdle; that rival has since gone close in the Ballymore Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival prior to winning here on Friday.

The six-year old was disappointing latest at Haydock in the Prestige Hurdle, fading to finish seventh after a late mistake, and he ought to be more appreciative of this lesser yardage as he bids to get back on track.

Softer ground also looks a plus to his chances, and still relatively unexposed he can bounce back from that last-time effort and it wouldn’t come as a surprise to see a better home.


3:00 - Doom Bar Maghull Novices' Chase (Grade 1) Cl1 (5yo+) 2m


Lalor has failed to fire the last twice in soft ground so US AND THEM (11/4, Bet365) gets the vote on the back of his string of runner-up efforts, which include chasing home Duc Des Genievres in the Arkle recently.

Joseph O’Brien’s Stowaway gelding had also found only Le Richebourg too strong in prior starts at Leopardstown in back-to-back Grade Ones, and there is an argument which suggests the Arkle wasn’t run entirely to suit.

However, there should be plenty of pace to this race, which should suit a good deal better and he can gain a deserved Grade One success here after a string of near-misses. 

He sets the form standard on those outings, and with most of his rivals coming into this race with a point to prove, he looks the most solid option and he ought to go close here.

3:40 - Ryanair Stayers Hurdle (Registered As The Liverpool Hurdle) (Grade 1) Cl1 (4yo+) 3m½f


It ought to be worth giving APPLE’S JADE (7/4 BetVictor) another chance to shine despite disappointing in the Champion Hurdle latest where the Saddler Maker mare scoped dirty afterwards which would account for her below-par effort.

Gordon Elliott’s charge had won all four prior starts which included impressive wins in both the Christmas Hurdle and Champion Hurdle, and he had Supasundae well in arrears in the last of those wins. 

That one has won since, and while it has to be taken on trust that she is over whatever ailed her at Cheltenham she could prove a tough nut to crack stepping back up to three miles if none the worse. Her overall profile marks her as one who could and should bounce back quickly, and no surprise if she were to leave her disappointing Cheltenham Festival run behind her.


4:20 - Betway Handicap Chase (Grade 3) Cl1 (5yo+) 3m1f


MISTER MALARKY (13/2, Bet365) didn’t do a whole lot wrong when outclassed in the RSA Chase latest behind Topofthegame, and Colin Tizzard’s charge could quickly bounce back to resume winning ways here.

The Malinas gelding had won three of his previous four starts, which included a defeat of Carlos Du Fruitier at Newbury and then beating Now McGinty to win the Grade Two Reynoldstown Novices’ Chase at Ascot in February.

The RSA Chase winner Topofthegame did the form no harm when finding only one too good here on Friday, and with a workable mark to contend with now he returns to handicapping then he could go well here and no shock to see him quickly getting back on the scoresheet with top conditional Jonjo O’Neill Jnr taking off a valuable 3lbs.

5:15 - Randox Health Grand National Handicap Chase (Grade 3) Cl1 (7yo+) 4m2½f


Eleven-year olds won three consecutive renewals of the Grand National between 2012 and 2014, and it could prove significant that RATHVINDEN (10/1, William Hill) was kept out of trainer Willie Mullins’ Cheltenham Festival team to spearhead the Closutton trainer’s assault on Aintree instead.

The Heron Island gelding might be an eleven-year old, but he remains a relatively lightly-raced horse for his age, and he could thrive for this longer test having seen off the challenge of Ms Parfois in last season’s National Hunt Chase.

He had been campaigning over shorter trips prior to that success, but he apeared to relish the marathon trip as he battled Anthony Honeyball’s charge to the line, prevailing by a half-length.

Fourth subsequently in the Growise Novices’ Chase behind The Storyteller at Punchestown, he wasn’t seen out again until readily beating Alpha Des Obeaux to win the Bobbyjo Chase at Fairyhouse.

Pleasant Company, who finished runner-up to Tiger Roll in last season’s Grand National had won the Bobbyjo Chase twelve months prior, and Rathvinden could be set to follow a similar path. 

Initially allocated 10-10 from his 154 mark when the Grand National weights were announced, he is now rated 159 following that Bobbyjo Chase success and carries 11-0 dead here following connections’ decision to switch out Bristol De Mai.

He looks a very well-treated horse who looks weighted to post a big run; while Ruby Walsh knows what it takes to win this race having steered Hedgehunter to success previously.

6:20 - Pinsent Masons Handicap Hurdle (Conditional Jockeys' And Amateur Riders' Race) Cl2 (4yo+) 2m½f


LORD YEATS (13/2, Paddy Power) has shown some useful form over hurdles, and Jedd O’Keefe’s charge can follow up his latest win at Hexham where he ran out a five lengths’ winner.

The Yeats gelding was returning from two months off having also scored at Sedgefield either side of runner-up efforts at Wetherby and Kelso; he was also pretty useful on the flat, winning at Listed level and reaching a mark of 108 in that discipline so he has the scope to find further improvement over timber.

He looks well treated at the weights switching to a handicap, and still unexposed as a hurdler he could have more to offer so it wouldn’t come as a big shock to see him go close here.

2019 AINTREE GRAND NATIONAL FESTIVAL DAY THREE - RACE-BY-RACE SELECTIONS


1:45 - POKER PLAY (11/1, William Hill

2:25 - KATESON (11/1, William Hill)

3:00 - US AND THEM (11/4, Bet365)

3:40 - APPLE’S JADE (7/4, Boylesports)

4:20 - MISTER MALARKY (13/2, Bet365)

5:15 - RATHVINDEN (10/1, William Hill)

6:20 - LORD YEATS (13/2, Paddy Power

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2019 Grand National Festival tips - Brian Healy's selections for day three of the Aintree Grand National meeting

Brian Healy gives his race-by-race selections and best bets for each of Saturday's classy contests on the day three racecard at Aintree.

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