Grand National Festival (Aintree) Day Two Betting Tips – Friday 13th April 2018

There are another four Grade 1 contests on Day two as Aintree continues to spoil us rotten. With top class handicapping action in support, including the always thrilling Topham Chase, run over the Grand National fences, there’s plenty to look forward to here as the clock continues to tick down to Saturday’s big one. With this being Ladies’ Day, its not just the racing on the track that’s a sight to behold. When it comes to donning their finery and getting into the party spirit, no one does it better than the Liverpool lasses.

Seven races on offer altogether, meaning seven winners to find. Here we take a look at each of the day’s contests and pick out our best betting options. Friday the 13th or not we will be giving it our best shot and we don’t believe in bad luck!

1.40 - Alder Hey Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3), 2m 4f

Dame De Compagnie each way at 16/1 with Betfair

Competitive handicapping action kicks off the day two card. The likes of Spiritofthegames and Early Doors arrive on the back of solid runs at the Cheltenham Festival and make the shortlist, but we just prefer the claims of one who skipped that March festival altogether.

Nicky Henderson has ben the man to follow here with three wins, a second and a third in the past six years. The one to make the most appeal from his current clutch of entries is the mare Dame De Compagnie. This one made an encouraging start to life at the Henderson yard when scoring over two miles at Uttoxeter but disappointed when stepped into Grade 2 company over that trip on her next start when looking in need of further. Staying on all the way to the line when going down by just a nose last time over 2m3½f at Ascot, the slight increase in distance should be in her favour.

2.20 - Top Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1), 2m ½f

Claimantakinforgan each way at 6/1 with BetVictor

Ben Pauling’s Global Citizen is the one they have to beat on ratings and is greatly respected having hacked up at Kempton last time out. This looks competitive though and he’s just a little short for our liking.

If Nicky Henderson’s record is good in our opening race, its even better here, with the Champion Trainer having sent out the winner five times in the past eight years. Third in last season’s Champion Bumper, Claimantakingforgan has made an encouraging start to life over hurdles, winning two of his four starts and finishing fifth in what looked a good Supreme last time out. That’s up with the best form on offer here and he looks solid to go well.

2.50 - Mildmay Novices’ Steeple Chase (Grade 1), 3m 1f

Mia’s Storm each way at 5/1 with BetVictor

This race can often prove a pointer towards great things to come, with Silviniaco Conti, Native River and Might Bite amongst the names on the recent roll of honour. Whether there is anything of that class in this year’s line-up remains to be seen but we do look to have a competitive renewal in store.

The one we like is the Alan King runner Mia’s Storm. This one struggled to jump out of the soft ground when eventually coming down behind Black Corton last time out, but had looked extremely good in winning her two previous starts easily on good and good to soft. On the back of a 108-day break and with the ground currently described as good to soft here, this should be much more suitable, and she can resume her progression.

3.25 - Melling Steeple Chase (Grade 1), 2m 4f

Balko Des Flos to win at 2/1 with Bet365

A small but select field go to post for the next Grade 1 on the card which sees a clash between the Champion Chase runner up and this year’s Ryanair Chase winner.

Willie Mullins’ Min boasts strong form, but mainly over shorter and may have his work cut out to outstay Balko Des Flos on the run in. Henry De Bromhead’s seven year old appears to be on a steep upward trajectory at present and made Un De Sceaux look ordinary in the Ryanair last time. There aren’t many horses in training that can do that, and he can justify his status as the best horse in the race on official ratings. Paul Nicholls’ Politologue has it to do on the book, but will stay, and may find improvement for a first time tongue tie. The grey may prove the biggest danger.

4.05 - Topham Steeple Chase (Grade 3), 2m 5f

Ultragold each way at 25/1 with Ladbrokes

The big spectacle of day two comes in our next race as we get our first glimpse of the legendary Grand National fences. A big field to go with the big fences in a race won by 50/1 shot Ultragold last year.

Repeat winners aren’t unheard of in this and Ultragold returns to defend his crown. He didn’t show much last time out at Cheltenham but ran well to be second in the Grand Sefton here in December. Just 5lbs higher than in 2017, and with this likely to have been set as his main target for the season, he’s a big price once again but a liking for these fences counts for plenty and he looks worth an each way punt.

4.40 - Sefton Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1), 3m ½f

Tower Bridge each way at 12/1 with Bet365

The Albert Bartlett at the Cheltenham Festival looks to be the key race to look at here. A number of these took part in that contest including the Nicky Henderson duo of OK Corral and Santini who finished second and third that day. That pair are tough to split but certainly haven’t been missed by the market. Slight preference would be for OK Corral as he appeared to finish off his race the better of the two, but the bet for us here is the horse who finished fifth that day.

Joseph O’Brien’s Tower Bridge would likely have finished even closer but for clattering the final flight and already has a Grade 1 to his name over in Ireland. O’Brien states that this one will be better on a better surface, which bodes well for his chances with the ground expected to be good to soft here.

5.15 - Champion Standard Open NH Flat (Grade 2), 2m 1f

Danny Kirwan to win at 9/4 with Betfair

We haven’t had a winning favourite here in the past nine years, but we fancy that may change in 2018. Spoken of in glowing terms by his handler Paul Nicholls – who certainly knows a good horse when he sees one – it was hard not to be taken by the performance Danny Kirwan put in last time out at Kempton in what looked a good maiden. In a race run at a solid pace, this imposing son of Scorpion loomed large approaching the run in and when Sam Twiston-Davies pushed the button, the race was over in a matter of strides. If able to show similar acceleration here, it will take a good one to beat him.