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26th May 2024 5:12 pm

“A difference of opinion is what makes horse racing and missionaries."

Aintree Grand National Meeting: Day 3 THE GRAND NATIONAL

These Donors Are AMAZING Thank You

William S – MEJi – Peter N – Nigel B – Ken C – Mark S – James D – William M – Fiona M – Julian A – Jonathan H – Mrs V.M – Pete BN – Gavin C – Thom S – Sarah C – Mark S – Sam H – James R
The 2024 Grand National Trophy

It happens pretty well every weekend. Of the half dozen or so races that I explore to suggest and sometimes select a winner, I inevitably – if only as a matter of statistical probability – get it right. Sometimes, of course, you have days like today. Days when one forensically examines the possibilities and then, depressingly, with all the keen-eyed accuracy of Mister Magoo on a Ketamine binge, we manage to swerve the blindingly obvious and draw a conclusion that defies common sense. Thus, in the Mildmay today, I knew and said

The biggest fear is that INOTHEWAYURTHINKIN, who won the Kim Muir in the most facile manner and had patently hoodwinked several handicappers, wasn’t trying!

Well, now we know, and here’s a thing: It was the Grand Master of the Plot, Gavin Cromwell, and the horse is now 12/1 for next year’s Gold Cup! Our selection, GIOVINCO, suffered a fatal fall at last, just when he looked as though the second place was a possibility. In the next race, we said here’s a stat that says KATEIRA should win and he did, but of course, we walked right past and selected a non-runner, the third and the still-out-there-somewhere 14th. In the next, we said: “…which makes MYSTICAL POWER the obvious choice.” So we ignored that and tipped the second. The only thing I had right by 3:30 was swerving The Melling because JONBON couldn’t win, but nothing else could. A bit like saying JP McManus can’t have a treble; there are so many things we can be certain about! I never even considered the winner of the Topham until they were lining up and thought I recognised the name – the client’s racing club owns ARIZONA CARDINAL, so I had a last-minute lunge but didn’t have time to tell you. Although, to be fair, with the sudden turnaround on the Betfair account again, I had rather forgotten about you. All was less well with the Skelton camp, who lost PIKAR in the last.

Without wanting to sound too Irish, we just have to keep trying, and you, gentles all, have just got to get used to reading between the lines. Here, then, are some more to read between.

13:20 – William Hill Hcap Hdl (C1) (4YO plus) 3m ½f

A first stab at the trends suggests a short list of WEST BALBOA – MONMIRAL – CUTHBERT DIBBLE – ALLIE ROSE – BOLD ENDEAVOUR. The first of those, WEST BALBOA, won the race last year and looks to have been laid out for this with some moderate pound-saving performances of late. Not that Dan Skelton would ever do that… MONMIRAL ran a huge race at Cheltenham in the Pertemps and arrives here with 6lbs extra. He keeps the blinkers, and also don’t forget he won the anniversary here a couple of years back. CUTHBERT DIBBLE was third in the Pertemps and also has the look of a plot horse. Not on my trends but he caught the eye at Uttoxeter LTO is GWENNIE MAY BOY – also from the Skelton Handicap Factory.

CUTHBERT DIBBLE 4 pts win – MONMIRAL 3 pts e/w – BOLD ENDEAVOUR 2pts e/w

Those three with GWENNIE MAY BOY and WEST BALBOA in the following exotics (racecard numbers) 2-3-6 to beat 4-17  6 x ½ pt SFC. 4-17 to beat 2-3-6, 6 x 1pt SFC

13:55 – Turners Mersey Novices’ Hdl (G1) (C1) (4YO plus) 2m 4f

You don’t really need to be looking past the first three in the betting on either form or trend terms. I rather thought Gordon Elliott, would aim his mare BRIGHTERDAYSAHEAD at the Sefton, but instead he has chosen this race for the Kapgarde mare who lost her unbeaten record at Cheltenham LTO suggesting that she is a stayer in the making. However, for me, the selection has to be the Gallagher Novices Hurdle third ILE ATLANTIQUE who also looks a sensible working man’s price.  It’s probably a Mullins 1-2


14:30 – William Hill Hcap Chs (C1) (5YO plus) 3m 1f

There is only one trends selection and that is TWIG from Ben Pauling. He was a disappointment in the Coral Gold Cup Handicap Chase Hennessey at Newbury, but after a break, came bouncing back to take 2nd in the Ultima Handicap behind Chianti Classico. He’s 4lb higher for that run, although I do have a slight concern, having seen the tank empty on Chianti Classico in the Mildmay. Ben won this in 2019 with Kildisart, who was 4th in The Golden Miller that year – but that was a G1 and not a handicap. FORWARD PLAN has some terrific stats on a flat track (last 10 runs: 2121126121) and this is first visit to Aintree. He keeps his 3lb conditional in the plate and is not without hope. SAM BROWN won this in 2022 and has Freddie Gingell’s useful claim to boost the form he showed at Ascot LTO over the distance. However, he has the dubious honour of lugging top weight around. CRUZ CONTROL won a C3 handicap at Newcastle LTO and ran well for a long way in the Eider. He’s a good sort physically and will again this season. I think the winner is amongst that lot and possibly there is a forecast there as well, but I’ll leave that open to you.

TWIG 5 pts e/w

15:05 – JRL Group Liverpool Hdl (G1) (C1) (4YO plus) 3m ½f

Surely SIRE DU BERLAIS cannot win this again at his age. He makes Methuselah look like a Guineas runner! Common sense and some trends suggest CRAMBO is worth looking at despite disappointing at Cheltenham in the Stayers Hurdle. The jockey said he ran flat – but i just wonder whether he is actually better with ground with some cut in it rather than heavy. He has won on it before I know, but there is a definite pattern of inconsistency in his form. Shark Hanlon turns up with HEWICK, and I think it would be good for the game if the Big Man took this – just probably not with my money. FLOORING PORTER is probably the biggest threat to any selection unless something very good steps up to the plate and shows some rediscovered ability. Say hello to MONKFISH and welcome back to Hurdling. He was the winner of the Galmoy and once won the Albert Bartlet. If Willie says he’s worth a run and on the assumption, this isn’t a prep race for Punchestown, that’s good enough for me.

MONKFISH 3 pts e/w

16:00 – Randox Grand National Hcap Chs (C1) (7YO plus) 4m 2½f

I always feel obliged to give you a couple of interesting stats I have gleaned for The Grand National – if only to be different! Thus I can tell you that:

29 of the last 32 winners had gone no more than 9 races without a win [ELDORADO ALLEN – VANILLIER – RUN WILD FRED – PANDA BOY]

28 of the last 32 winners had gone no more than 18 months without a win [VANILLIER – MR INCREDIBLE – ROI MAGE – STATTLER- EKLAT DE RIRE – ELDORADO ALLEN – FAROUK D’ALENE – RUN WILD FRED]

22 of the last 23 winners had at least 1 top 3 finish in one of their last 3 runs [GALVIN – ELDORADO ALLEN – RUN WILD FRED – THE GOFFER – CHAMBARD – KITTYS LIGHT]

If I were to eliminate all those from the shortlist and then remove any horse that had not won a 3m chase before or had not raced in the last 55 days, I would be left with I AM MAXIMUS—CORACH RAMBLER—MEETINGOFTHEWATERS—NOBLE YEATS—CAPODANNO and Nos 20, 2, 22, 23, 21 in order of SP.

At this stage, I have not considered the weight carried. With the last 20 winners carrying less than 11st 9lbs and 18 of those having carried 11st 5lbs or less, I think it is entirely reasonable to eliminate NOBLE YEATS. One could also take a median view and eliminate NASSALAM and CAPPODANNO. Back-to-back performances make Hens Teeth look ten a penny, so goodbye, CORACH RAMBLER.

Sadly I have now eliminated my entire antepost portfolio and I, therefore, suggest that the winner will be MEETINGOFTHEWATERS with I AM MAXIMUS 2nd. The next four places will be filled by LATENIGHTPASS – ADAMANTLY CHOSEN – MAC TOTTIE – MINELLA CROONER.

Away from that, horses I do fancy are:

LIMERICK LACE – The one horse that JP has mentioned as having his money on. He is not a man to tuck the people up and he’s already taken his cream off the top.

MAHLER MISSION was second in the Hennessey – a race that supplied 9W and 15P.

CAPODANNO won the Cotswold Chase in January and was fourth over too short a distance in the Ryanair. He was fancied for this last year despite being only a 7-year-old.

KITTYS LIGHT went into my notebook after what I thought looked like a flimsy piece of roughing off before coming onto the main target – here. His chase mark was protected by hurdling and he also did’nt wear the CPs he’d worn when winning the Scottish National and the Bet365 Gold Cup last season. I assume everything has been aimed at this one shot. Trust me his form and everything about his preparation has been flawless.


17:00 – My Pension Expert Maghull Novices’ Chs (G1) (C1) (5YO plus) 2m


17:35 – Weatherbys Bumper (G2) (C1) (4YO to 6YO) 2m 1f

I’M A LUMBERJACK was 25s yesterday. He is now 14s and 16s.

I’M A LUMBERJACK 4 pts e/w


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