The most famous event in the British racing calender returns with the Grand National once again returning to Aintree.
First run in 1839, the steeplechase sees the 40 competing horses and jockeys clear 30 fences in the hopes of joining the likes of Red Rum and Tiger Roll in horse racing history.
Last year’s winner Noble Yeats is in the field once again and is hoping to emulate Tiger Roll’s recent antics and make it back-to-back wins in the Grand National.
Here’s everything you need to know about the Grand National including the best bets and tips for the racecard at Aintree:
When is it?
The Grand National will take place at Aintree Racecourse, near Liverpool, starting at 5.15pm BST on Saturday 15 April. It is the penultimate race of the festival, with the last race starting at 6.20pm BST.
Grand National Day tips
13.45 – EFT Systems Maghull Novices’ Chase: Jonbon (1/2)
Jonbon tackles the opening EFT Systems Maghull Novices’ Chase and it would be a surprise if he is beaten. No match for El Fabiolo in the Arkle, there does not appear to be a rival of that calibre in this field.
14.25 – Village Hotels Handicap Hurdle: West Balboa (8/1)
West Balboa is one for the shortlist in the Village Hotels Handicap Hurdle.
15.00 – Turners Mersey Novices’ Hurdle: You Wear It Well (9/2)
You Wear It Well’s claims in the Turners Mersey Novices’ Hurdle appear to be more straightforward, with her mares’ allowance likely to prove very handy indeed.
Jamie Snowden’s charge has only been beaten once in four hurdles starts, chasing home the reopposing Hermes Allen in the Challow Hurdle on identical terms back in December.
However, Hermes Allen subsequently made little impact at Cheltenham, while You Wear It Well’s star has continued to rise with a Grade Two win at Sandown followed by an all-the-way verdict under a penalty in the mares’ novices’ heat at the Festival.
You Wear It Well must take on the boys this time, but is clearly still making strides and has proven capable on both good and soft ground.
15.35 – JRL Group Liverpool Hurdle: Marie’s Rock (10/3)
Marie’s Rock is another mare tackling open company – and a hike in trip – in the JRL Group Liverpool Hurdle.
Connections were pondering a Stayers’ Hurdle tilt at Cheltenham but opted to stick to two and a half miles in the mares’ hurdle instead, a decision that did not really pay dividends as the race was not run to suit.
Nicky Henderson’s charge was far too keen off a slow early pace and had nothing in reserve when push came to shove, eventually coming home seventh.
With habitual front-runner Flooring Porter in the line-up, a solid gallop can be expected and the 7lb Marie’s Rock gets from her rivals here could prove crucial.
16.15 – William Hill Handicap Chase: Castle Robin (14/1)
Castle Robin should appreciate more cut in the ground in the William Hill Handicap Chase after a lacklustre effort on quicker going at Doncaster.
17.15 – Randox Grand National: Delta Work (8/1)
Delta Work can give trainer Gordon Elliott a record-equalling fourth victory in the Randox Grand National at Aintree.
George Dockeray, Fred Rimell and Ginger McCain currently share the honours as the leading handlers in the National Hunt highlight and Elliott has every chance of adding his name to the hall of fame.
Delta Work was beaten 22 lengths by Noble Yeats when third last year, but while that one has been hiked 15lb, the selection will actually carry 5lb less than 12 months ago after some mixed results in the interim.
There could be no arguing with the merit of his prep run though, following the same path as last year to fend off stablemate and reopposing rival Galvin in the cross-country chase at the Cheltenham Festival, with Delta Work keeping on well to win by two and a half lengths despite having a 7lb deficit on official ratings.
His stamina is still to be proven over this four-and-a-quarter-mile trip and clearly if ante-post favourite Corach Rambler takes to the course, the whole field will be up against it with a horse that is technically 10lb well in.
Corach Rambler’s come-from-behind style is also a risk in a 40-strong field and so Delta Work is the pick on the basis of his proven aptitude for the fences, which are the crucial part of this whole test.
Our Power could give him most to think about from the bottom of the handicap, while another Elliott runner in Coko Beach can make the frame and Noble Yeats cannot be ruled out back at the scene of his greatest hour.
13.45 – Jonbon
14.25 – West Balboa
15.00 – You Wear It Well
15.35 – Marie’s Rock
16.15 – Castle Robin
17.15 – 1. Delta Work, 2. Our Power, 3. Noble Yeats, 4. Coko Beach
17.20 – Blizzard Of Oz