Grand National Festival

Grand National Festival Tips | 12th April 2018

Racing expert Graeme Johnstone has picked out his best bets for the first day of the Grand National Festival from Aintree.

1:45 Aintree

The Grand National meeting kicks-off with a small field Grade 1 novice chase over just short of two-and-a-half miles and there is plenty of Cheltenham Festival form on offer. With the ground being particularly soft in March, I think it may have left it’s mark on a few of these so I’m looking for something fresh.

Cyrname has had five starts over fences and is yet to be out the places with three wins to his name already. He has progressed with each start, finding only one too good in a Grade 1 before surviving a mistake late on to win easily last time out.

He likes to force the pace and handles soft ground, both of which are hugely important this week. He has a little bit to find with some of these but he’s progressive, fresh and his stable is in great form. I expect him to run a huge race.

2:20 Aintree

The four-year old hurdle is a Grade 1 but it seems to be lacking a little in terms of strength and depth, to me. There is some high-class form on offer, but there are question marks about the favourites and I’m taking a chance on one each-way at a huge price.

Beau Gosse came to these shores from France in February when he was third in the Adonis. He’s a big sort and the ground that day was very different to what he’ll experience on Thursday, which I think will suit him well. He has to turn around the form with Malaya from that race but he’s fresher, and on this ground may be a different animal.

He has plenty of experience from his time in France and has raced in Grade 1 company there. It’s possible he was below his best there coming in off the back of a heavy fall and in a race where there only looks to be a couple of top performers he could well reward backers with some place money or even more.

3:25 Aintree

The Aintree Hurdle is one of the highlights of the meeting, however unfortunately it was robbed of it’s star attraction – reigning champion hurdler and last year’s winner Buveur D’Air.

It’s still a high class race and in his absence there will be plenty of confident connections here.

My Tent or Yours is now 11 and has amassed one of the most impressive CV’s for runner-up enthusiasts in the history of racing. Remarkably consistent, he’s been unfortunate to continually bump into really top class rival’s down the years.

There is nothing in the field here he can’t beat and missing Cheltenham (unlike his main rivals) could prove a huge plus. He will be played late and probably doesn’t want too much rain to arrive, however at the prices he is the value play in this race.

Graeme Johnstone’s Best Bets

1:45 Aintree – Cyrname to win

2:20 Aintree – Beau Gosse each-way

3:25 Aintree – My Tent or Yours to win