Grand National Festival tips plus best bets for Fontwell, Sedgefield, Kempton, Ballinrobe and Dundalk


NOTEBOOK (4:05) can give Henry De Bromhead more big-race glory in the Topham Trophy.

Day 2 of the Grand National meeting at Aintree awaits following last week’s thrills and spills Scottish Grand National.

The gelding showed serious talent as a novice with back-to-back Grade 1 victories at Leopardstown.

The nine-year-old put in another career best when routing Fakir D’oudairies on his return at Naas.

The son of Samum then held his own against the cream of the two-mile crop for most of last season.

Impressive on his comeback at Navan in November, he failed to repeat that form at Cork or Thurles.

However, he really caught the eye with a staying-on third behind Sizing Pottsie at Naas last month.

The chaser will be primed and his sound jumping will be a huge asset over the huge National fences.

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The Gigginstown hope is fairly-treated so he can strike under the all-conquering Rachael Blackmore.

COBBLERS DREAM (1:45) can put his best foot forward for Ben Case in the Aintree Handicap Hurdle.

A promising novice, the six-year-old bolted up from Leoncavallo on his handicap debut at Doncaster.

The gelding improved again when routing Highway One O Two in the Lanzarote Hurdle at Kempton.

He ran another blinder when second to the high-class Banbridge in the Martin Pipe at Cheltenham.

The son of Yeats looks a true Graded-performer so he can defy a 4lb hike in another red-hot contest.

THE FABIOLO (2:20) can bag the Betway Top Novices’ Hurdle for Closutton Master Willie Mullins.

The gelding was an odds-on favorite for his Irish debut at Tramore after some fair efforts in France.

And the five-year-old oozed class when dispatching the talented Tempo Chapter Two by 13 lengths.

That was a superb performance so the rising star can take a promotion to Grade 1 level in his stride.

BRAVEMANSGAME (2:55) can shade a magnificent renewal of the Mildmay Novices’ Chase.

Paul Nicholls’ charge was famously beaten by Ahoy Senor over hurdles at this meeting last year.

The gelding got back on track over fences with devastating wins at Newton Abbot and Haydock.

He then turned the tables in deadly style on his Liverpool conqueror in the Kauto Star at Kempton.



Runners and riders in action

The seven-year-old wasn’t as good at Newbury but he still convincingly denied the game Pats Fancy.

The superstar will love the fast ground so he can reward his trainer’s decision to swerve Cheltenham.

FAKIR D’OUDAIRIES (3:30) can repeat last year’s success in the Melling Chase for Joseph O’Brien.

The gelding built on some excellent efforts when routing Nuts Well in this Grade 1 12 months ago.

The seven-year-old looked better than ever when hacking up on his return in a Clonmel Grade 2.

He underlined his well-being with a pair of creditable runs in defeat against the magnificent Allaho.

The son of Kapgarde summarized winning ways by brushing aside Two For Gold in the Ascot Chase.

JP McManus’ star is still in peak form so he can power to the sixth top-level victory of his career.

CRYSTAL GLORY (4:40) has a clear chance for Nicky Richards in the Sefton Novices’ Hurdle.

The six-year-old looked smart when crushing West End Lady on his timber debut at Hexham.

He soon confirmed that impression when hosing up from Phil De Pail over 2m 6f at Newcastle.

The gelding stayed on track when second to the improving Rafferty’s Return at the same venue.

He was then unlucky to encounter the classy Hillcrest on his first run over three miles at Haydock.

The hurdler looks nicely unexposed as a stayer so he can land a warm Grade 1 for his in-form yard.

Olly Murphy’s WASHINGTON (5:15) can lay down the law in the Park Palace Handicap Hurdle.

The six-year-old was hugely impressive when thrashing Hurlerontheditch on debut at Bangor.

He took another step forward with a fine second to I Like To Move It in a Cheltenham Grade 2.

The gelding ran to a similar level of form when third to Datsalrightgino back at Prestbury Park.

The son of Westerner wasn’t disgraced again when third to the progressive Barrichello at Warwick.

He made no mistake when cruising to victory from Daniel Deronda in a strong Stratford handicap.

There is plenty more to come from this pacey type who can take advantage of an attractive mark.

Donald McCain remains in top gear so I’m backing BIRD ON THE WIRE (4:35) at Sedgefield.

The hurdler returned to form when second to Bobbie The Dazzler over course and distance.

The gelding handled this gruelling test well so he can go one better in a slightly weaker event.

The Cheshire Ace can double-up with KILLANE (5:42) in the bet365 Handicap Hurdle.

The seven-year-old atoned for some poor efforts when cosily dismissing Tommydan at Carlisle.

That race is working out pretty well so the tough gelding can shrug off a reasonable 5lb rise.

BALLINTOGHER BOY (5:08) can land the spoils for shrewd Chris Grant in the staying chase.

The eight-year-old recorded a career best over fences when chinning Rapid Raider at Newcastle.

The gelding goes well at this venue so he can defy a potentially lenient 4lb hike up two furlongs.

FANFARON DINO (2:00) can triumph for Anthony Honeyball in the handicap hurdle at Fontwell.

The gray bounced back when easily denying Moromac on his return to timber over track and trip.

The gelding still lurks on an inviting mark in this sphere so he can follow up in a better contest.

I SEE YOU WELL (2:35) can continue his excellent run in the Attheraces.com Handicap Chase.

Seamus Mullins’ horse can score with a repeat of his cozy defeat of Drumlee Watar at Plumpton.

aintree

1:45 COBBLERS DREAM

2:20 THE FABIO

2:55 BRAVEMANSGAME

3:30 FAKIR D’OUDAIRIES

4:05 NOTEBOOK (NAP)

4:40 CRYSTAL GLORY

5:15 WASHINGTON

GARRY’S DOUBLE: NOTEBOOK (NAP) AND EL FABIOLO

Fontwell

1:00 MILAN BRIDGE

1:30 GOA LIL

2:00 FANFARON DINO

2:35 I SEE YOU WELL

3:10 HERON CREEK

3:45 GO ALL THE WAY

4:20 CAPTAIN FANTASTIC

sedgefield

2:10 SPOT ON SOPH

2:45 WHERE’S HECTOR

3:20 MINELLA DESTINATION

4:00 COOL COUNTRY

4:35 BIRD ON THE WIRE

5:08 BALLINTOGHER BOY

5:42 KILLANE

Kempton

5:25 TIMELESS MELODY

6:00 ALL GO

6:30 ILHABELA FACT

7:00 LIGHT LILY

7:30 Q TWENTY BOY

8:00 JUNGLE RUN

8:30 CATBIRD SEAT

ballinrobe

4:30 BERET ROUGE

5:00 SHOW BUSINESS

5:35 THE DARA MAN

6:10 FIVE AFTER MIDNIGHT

6:40 FLASHTHELIGHTS

7:10 ALL WALKS OF LIFE

7:40 THE LAST MARDI

Dundalk

5:20 BLACKBEARD

5:50 COLLECTIVE POWER

6:20 GOODWILL

6:50 PERSIAN WOLF

7:20 TIMIYRA

7:50 HONEY GIRL

8:20 ALICE MILLIGAN




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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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