Forty will line up for tomorrow's Grand National at 4.15. In recent years the starter has encountered inexplicable problems when trying to send them on their way; let's hope the new man on the rostrum is up to the task. Two horses look well in at the weights - Cloudy Lane and Comply Or Die. Favourite Cloudy Lane is bypassed as he offers no value at all (as low as 9/2 with Ladbrokes) and I still need to be convinced he stays this marathon trip. Here are my selections...
1. Slim Pickings - third last year and may well have finished closer but for hitting the last; trained specifically for this. Best priced 12/1 with Ladbrokes.
2. Comply Or Die - has a nice racing weight and proved he stays over four miles by winning the Eider Chase at Newcastle in February. Generally a 10/1 shot.
3. Simon - going well when falling at Valentine's last year; has a touch of class and the weight to go with it. 12/1 with most bookmakers.
4. Bewleys Berry - likes Aintree and looked a player when falling at Becher's on the second circuit last time; 14/1.
Those looking for slighter bigger odds may want to consider an each-way wager on either Point Barrow (appears overpriced at 25/1 with Ladbrokes) - he was favourite for this last year but has been a little below his best this term, or Philson Run (28/1 with Corals) who would benefit from a drop of rain. Good luck!
I think the John Smith's People's Race is scheduled to be run at around 1.00pm (before the opener). I'm not sure if this will be televised live, but it will be worth watching should you get the chance. Well done to all the amateur jockeys - win or lose, tomorrow will be a day they'll all remember for the rest of their lives.