Grand National Festival: Tips for day threeBy Timeform, Friday 08 April Get Timeform's tips and analyst verdicts for the third and final day of the Grand National Festival.
13:45 EFT Construction Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3)
A smashing staying handicap to kick off the card with the vote in favour of WINTER FOG. A low-mileage 8-y-o, he ran his best race yet when fourth in last month's Pertemps Final at Cheltenham, impressing with his move into contention. He's on a handy mark, and a strong pace to aim at will suit, so he looks sure to go well. Party Business was a big eyecatcher himself at the Festival and is feared, along with upwardly-mobile pair Serious Charges and Beauport. Punting Poet appeals each-way.
14:25 Betway Mersey Novices' Hurdle (Grade 1)
NORTH LODGE, a C&D winner on debut back in December, lost little in defeat when beaten by a very narrow margin by Nells Son under a 5 lb penalty at Kelso last month, and he's a very appealing candidate now back up in trip, especially with the prospect of more to come after just 3 starts. Three Stripe Life sets the standard on his runner-up effort to Sir Gerhard in the Ballymore at the Cheltenham Festival, while Good Risk At All and Walking On Air are others to take seriously.
15:00 Poundland Maghull Novices' Chase (Grade 1)
Whilst he might not be at the level of last year's winner Shishkin, EDWARDSTONE is clearly still a high-class novice and he gets the verdict to extend his winning sequence to 6 and crown a full campaign with a third success at Grade 1 level. The obvious threat to the selection is Irish-raider Gentleman de Mee, who doubled his tally over fences in bloodless fashion at Navan last month and is open to further progress in this sphere. Third Time Lucki looks best of the rest.
15:35 JRL Group Liverpool Hurdle (Grade 1)
It remains to be seen whether FLOORING PORTER is granted as soft a lead as he was at Cheltenham but his slick hurdling is a real asset and he still has to be considered the one to beat. Last year's winner Thyme Hill can confirm recent superiority over Champ and give Gavin Cromwell's charge most to think about.
16:15 Betway Handicap Chase (Grade 3)
A fiercely-competitive handicap but SHAN BLUE has a lot less on his plate than when a well-held sixth in the Ryanair Chase and can capitalise on a very attractive mark back in handicap company. Kempton-scorer Cap du Nord is another weighted to go well for the in-form Christian Williams team, while Ultima-fourth Tea Clipper figures high on the shortlist too.
17:15 Randox Grand National Handicap Chase (Grade 3)
ANY SECOND NOW ran a screamer without much going his way in last year's National, catching the eye with a big move late on having had little luck in-running. Clearly saved for this, he warmed up with a pleasing win in a good time from 3 of today's rivals at Fairyhouse 6 weeks ago and can give Ireland their fifth victory in the last 6 renewals. Gordon Elliott holds a mighty hand, Delta Work and Death Duty particularly strong. Last year's winner Minella Times may have his work cut out.
18:20 Weatherbys nhstallions.co.uk Standard Open National Hunt Flat (Grade 2)
Willie Mullins has been prolific in bumpers throughout the season and in RATH GAUL BOY he has another opportunity to land one of the top races in the division. The selection is unbeaten in two (a point and a bumper) and has loads more to come, so he's preferred to Ernest Gray, who made a striking impression on debut for Alan King at Warwick last time. Henri The Second is also considered.
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