LiveScore Racing Preview: Aintree Festival, April 9, 2022
It is the final afternoon of the Grand National Festival at Aintree on Saturday with everything leading up to the main event at 5.15pm.
There is a strong undercard with three Grade 1 races, including the Liverpool Hurdle as Flooring Porter bids to follow up Cheltenham glory, before Rachael Blackmore and Minella Times attempt to defend the Grand National crown.
The action begins at 1.45pm and we have got selections in all seven races, with the last one off at 6.20pm.
1.45pm - EFT Construction Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3, 3m½f)
Trainer Ian Williams may have filed PARTY BUSINESS in the unlucky loser category after last month's Martin Pipe at Cheltenham.
He met interference on more than one occasion and was doing his best work late on, finishing fifth.
From the same mark and with Charlie Todd claiming 3lb now, this six-year-old could have more to come tackling this increased trip for the first time.
Winter Fog, fourth in the Pertemps Final at Cheltenham, is a likely contender again for Emmet Mullins.
LiveScore selection: Party Business
2.25pm - Betway Mersey Novices' Hurdle (Grade 1, 2m4f)
This is a very open Grade 1 novice contest.
Three Stripe Life has thrice come up second best in this grade since Christmas and is the standard-setter but MIGHT I could be one to improve meeting this trip for the first time.
He impressed over 2m2f in a winning hurdles bow at Newton Abbot and his two runs since saw him tangling with Constitution Hill (second) and Jonbon (third) over the minimum trip.
That pair have gone on to Grade 1 glory at the spring festivals and Harry Fry's charge looks like he wants this longer trip.
LiveScore selection: Might I
3pm - Poundland Maghull Novices' Chase (Grade 1, 2m)
There seems no real reason to oppose Arkle winner EDWARSTONE here.
He was in total control at Cheltenham and has scarcely put a foot wrong this season for Alan King.
He likely can handle the British challengers. And while Gentleman De Mee is intriguing for Willie Mullins, he may need to find more to prevent this older rival adding to his trophy haul.
LiveScore selection: Edwardstone
3.35pm - JRL Group Liverpool Hurdle (Grade 1, 3m½f)
Flooring Porter won from the front in Cheltenham last month under a typically assured 'Canny Danny' Mullins steer.
Gavin Cromwell's charge is the one to beat, but he was trained to the minute for that Cotswolds contest and it is worth recalling he was pulled up at Punchestown last season after scoring at Cheltenham.
Something might be inclined to take him on now as well.
THYME HILL won this last year and, second last month, he might find it easier on this track if he does need to close down Flooring Porter late on.
LiveScore selection: Thyme Hill
4.15pm - Betway Handicap Chase (Grade 3, 3m1f)
Shan Blue holds the ace-hand for Dan and Harry Skelton on his best form but he did not put up much fight in the Ryanair last time and has to prove he has a big one in him.
SCENE NOT HERD perhaps was not suited by the track at Sandown last time.
He had won three on the trot over fences previously and could get back to his best by making the frame in this.
LiveScore selection: Scene Not Herd
5.15pm - Randox Grand National Handicap Chase (Grade 3, 4m2½f)
The market principles all merit their positions but some value might exist behind them in the likes of Commodore, Fortescue and Discorama.
Equally, SANTINI is a massive price if this unique test is something he relishes.
He has got fine course form and since very early in his career this was a race seemingly earmarked for him.
He has not run badly in three starts since moving to Polly Gundry and, cheekily, having left Nicky Henderson — who has never won a National in Britain or Ireland — might even turn out to be a positive.
He has got lots of stamina and the 2020 Gold Cup runner-up ran a fair race again in the Blue Riband last month.
LiveScore selection: Santini
6.20pm - Weatherbys nhstallions.co.uk Standard Open NH Flat Race (Grade 2, 2m1f)
Given Willie Mullins' propensity for hoovering up bumpers, once-raced Leopardstown winner Rath Gaul Boy is due enormous respect now under his son, Patrick.
It would be no kind of surprise to see them winning.
This is a deep race, however, and Huntingdon scorer WESTERN ZEPHYR could be one to go well for Charlie Longsdon.
That January race featured a pair of next-time-out scorers in second and third and Sean Bowen — Friday's winners — should get a good tune from his mount.
LiveScore selection: Western Zephyr