Grand National Festival Tips | 13th April 2018
Racing expert Graeme Johnstone has picked out his best bets for the second day of the Grand National Festival from Aintree.
Day 2 kicks-off with a two-and-a-half mile handicap hurdle and with 20 runners on soft ground it’s a tough start for punters. There is one in the field here that I’ve backed on numerous occasions and I feel he will reward each-way backers on Friday.
Who Dares Wins is a hardened handicapper over the flat and hurdles and he is remarkably consistent. He ran a fine race at Cheltenham in the Pertempts Final where he travelled very well in the heavy ground before tiring close home losing places in the final furlong.
The ground may not be as testing here and the drop in trip along with the flatter track should play to his strengths here. He’s had an easy time of things over the winter so he should still be a fresh horse here and I have backed him each-way for this to get me off to a flyer on Friday.
The Melling Chase over two-and-a-half miles is my favourite race of the meeting and always throws up a good winner. This year looks a fascinating renewal and the prize money for the six runner race looks almost certain to be heading back to Ireland.
Since joining Willie Mullins, Min has been first past the post in six of his eight races and is now a two-time Grade 1 winner. His two defeats have been to Altior and he will grateful the highest rated chaser in Britain has not turned up here.
He is a top class horse and despite stepping up in trip he is the one to beat here. He’s won over this trip (lower grade) and handles soft ground so he should cope with conditions.
My only concern is he can be head strong, but as long as he settles okay he should finally win a grade one outside of Ireland.
The Topham Chase is always hugely popular as it’s over the National fences and this looks wide open. Thirty line-up however there does look to be a few you can write off pretty quickly, and I’m backing one who’s amateur jockey has a fantastic record over these fences.
Theatre Territory has yet to win over fences, and she’s only won once in 15 starts but this eight year-old is turning into a consistent handicapper. She has run five times over the larger obstacles for Warren Greatrex and is improving with each start. A good third in a Grade 3 last time being a career best.
Her jockey Sam Waley-Cohen is no ordinary amateur, he’s a good cup winning jockey who thrives over Aintrees unique fences. She has a great racing weight, stays well and handles softer ground and despite her poor win to run ratio strikes me as a fantastic each way-bet.
Graeme Johnstone’s Best Bets