Horse Racing Tips: Matt Hulmes’ best bets for Day 3 at Aintree

 | 12th April | 

9 mins read

Aintree Grand National

Grand National Day. One of the most eagerly-anticipated days of the horse racing calendar as months of preparation and discussion come to a head for the world’s most famous race.

It has undergone many modifications in recent years in the name of horse welfare to make it a much safer spectacle, with a further change this year reducing the field to 34 runners.

It is still loved and watched by millions worldwide with fans and punters glued to their TV at 4pm this afternoon, but before then we have four other races to dissect.

Horse Racing Tips for Day 3 at Aintree

  • 13:20 - Johnnywho @ 7/1
  • 13:55 - Jimmy Du Seuil @ 4/1
  • 14:30 - Kilbeg King @ 12/1
  • 15:05 - Strong Leader (EW) @ 9/1
  • 16:00 - Panda Boy @ 10/1 & Limerick Lace @ 11/1

13:20 - Johnnywho @ 7/1

We start with a three mile handicap hurdle where once again Dan Skelton has a strong hand. West Balboa won this race 12 months ago by five lengths and returns jut 6lb higher after three no shows. The first of those was his reappearance in a Grade 1, while there was a little more life last time out at Kempton when sixth to a stablemate.

The yard also run impressive Uttoxeter winner Gwennie May Boy who has won both starts since switching to the yard and has a nice low weight.

The first and third form the Pertemps, Monmiral and Cuthbert Dibble renew acquaintances, but the novice JOHNNYWHO could be well treated on his handicap debut.

He caught the eye staying on strongly in the G1 Challow Hurdle at Newbury in December and got outpaced back down in trip at Cheltenham on Trials Day. He was disappointing at the Festival but a mark of 136 looks exploitable on his earlier efforts and conditions should suit him.

13:55 - Jimmy Du Seuil @ 4/1

The Mersey Novices Hurdle sadly doesn’t contains Supreme winner Slade Steel but we have a wide open contest as a result.

Brighterdaysahead has won over this trip at Navan in February, but being too keen at Cheltenham may have cost her in the closing stages when second in the Mares’ Novice Hurdle. If she settles, she could take plenty of beating such is the regard she is held, but at the prices I’m inclined to look elsewhere.

Caldwell Potter cost the tidy sum of 740,000 euros when joining Paul Nicholls from Gordon Elliott and they missed Cheltenham to come here instead. He has been billed as a Gold Cup horse of the future and was an impressive winner at Leopardstown over Christmas. That form hasn’t really worked out though and I’m happy to stick with the Willie Mullins team and back JIMMY DU SEUIL.

He wasn’t really given a mention in the Baring Bingham at Cheltenham but got closest to Ballyburn than anything else. He may have been ridden to pick up a place at a massive price, but Paul Townend is now in the plate and I don’t think that performance should be underestimated. He has won on heavy ground too so condition will hold no fears and he can take some big scalps.

At a price, Esprit Du Potier could run well. Lucinda Russell has a good record at this meeting and her novice hurdlers are often overlooked. His run when pulled up at Doncaster wasn’t his form and he has won easily either side of that. He may outrun his 33/1 quotes.

14:30 - Kilbeg King @ 12/1

The three mile handicap chase is always a cracker and a smaller field than usual are set to line up this year with thirteen declared.

Crebilly was all the rage at Cheltenham and ran a cracker to finish second. He steps up to three miles for the first time and many will latch onto him in his bid for compensation. He is probably still a well-handicapped horse on just his fifth chase start.

This is a race that usually falls the way of a first season chaser and another who fits that bill is KILBEG KING. Although yet to win over fences, he has had some very tough tasks taking on graded rivals and can be excused his run at Cheltenham over a marathon trip, behind Corbett’s Cross who advertised the form on Thursday.

His Ascot second, where he just about holds King Of Ryhope but is twice the price, does read well and he won a big field contest at Punchestown over hurdles last season. He is another who looks likely to be well treated in this contest and is one of two for Anthony Honeyball to have leading claims.

The other is Forward Plan, whose Kempton victory has worked out well and a 4lb rose is far from excessive, although they did finish in a heap that day. Sam Brown was a fast finishing fifth there, has won since and won this race two years ago, but he needs another mammoth effort off his big weight at the age of 12.

15:05 - Strong Leader (EW) @ 9/1

The Liverpool Hurdle for the stayers is the race that precedes the Grand National.

Sire Du Berlais bids for a hat-trick in the race having won at 16/1 and 8/1 in the last two years. He beat Flooring Porter here in 2022 and had him back in third last year and the two renew rivalries once again.

This pair head the market, but I think the prize may stay on these shores with one of the younger stayers on the scene.

Crambo was an easy winner here in handicap company earlier in the season and went on to win the Long Walk at Ascot over Christmas. He was, however, well beaten at this meeting last year, a contest in which STRONG LEADER finished second.

That form now looks excellent following the exploits of his conqueror Irish Point and his third in the Cleeve Hurdle proved he stays the three miles. With trip and ground ok plus good course form and a reasonable price, he rates a decent each-way play against the older guard.

Botox Has was back in sixth in the Cleeve but cant have the ground soft enough and that could bring him into the mix despite him falling just a shade below the standard required.

16:00 - Panda Boy @ 10/1 & Limerick Lace @ 11/1

The 2024 Randox Health Grand National will host a field of 34 runners after another modification was made this season.

Only eight British runners will line-up with the other 26 heading over from Ireland looking to continue their dominance in the spring festivals.

The reigning champion looks set to go off favourite though in the shape of Corach Rambler. He has been campaigned in Grade 1 company the last twice, finishing third on both occasions latterly in the Gold Cup. That form was franked on Thursday when Gerri Colombe won, and I don’t this we will see many easier Grand National winners as he could be called the victor someway from home in 2023. He has a huge chance but doubts about the ground and the hard race he had at Cheltenham coupled with his price make me search elsewhere.

Vanillier was the one I’ve had in mind ever since his never-nearer second here last year. The handicapper has also given him a huge chance and his whole season has been geared about a tilt at going one place better. The worry for him is his record, just a solitary chase success form 13 attempts, but he is solid as they come and you are almost guaranteed a run for your money. With the extra places on offer, he will be very hard to keep out of the frame.

There has been good support in recent hours for Irish Grand National winner and Grade 1 scorer I Am Maximus. Willie Mullins and Paul Townend have picked up here where they left off at Cheltenham and this horse warmed up for this with a 14-length defeat of Vanillier in the Bobbyjo Chase. He has the same weight as Corach Rambler and I’m not convinced he could have been as close as that horse was in the Gold Cup.

Ultima third Meetingofthewaters and Midlands Grand National runner-up Mr Incredible are two others to consider from the Mullins battalion while Gordon Elliott highlighted Delta Work as the pick of his eight runners, a prediction the market seems to have agreed with over the last 48 hours.

2022 winner Noble Yeats is another strong entrant from Ireland but it will be some performance to emulate Red Rum in regaining the Grand National off top weight.

Kitty’s Light winning would pull on the heartstrings with trainer Christian Williams young daughter Betsy fighting leukaemia. He is a horse that brought so much success and joy in difficult times last spring and if the racing gods are watching this one may get an extra lift.

Latenightpass is another extraordinary story. Foaled on the day his trainer Tom Ellis had his only ride over the Grand National fences by his mum Pippa, and will be ridden by his wife Gina Andrews in the greatest race of all.

The two who will be carrying my cash are PANDA BOY and LIMERICK LACE.,

PANDA BOY is another infrequent winner but he has a low racing weight and has run consistently well in big field handicaps. He is 11lb better off with Meetingofthewaters for being beaten four lengths at Leopardstown over Christmas, and showed he remained in good heart when a closer fourth over hurdles at the Dublin Racing Festival. He was also a close up fifth in last year's Irish Grand National and trainer Martin Brassil has won this race previously.

LIMERICK LACE was an impressive winner of the Mares’ Chase at Cheltenham and has been the choice of the JP McManus-owned contingent of his retained jockey Mark Walsh. She was an excellent second in the Troytown at Navan in November and there is hope in her pedigree she can stay the extra trip.

She relishes soft ground, is still to be improving at only seven years of age and bids to be the first mare since Nickel Coin in 1951 to win the Grand National.

Another mare with a chance is Dan Skelton’s Galia Des Liteaux. She was second in the Classic Chase at Warwick over a marathon trip and has lots on her favour including the ground and the track for her to run a big race at a big price.

Find more Horse Racing Tips here at Betfred Insights

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