The Aintree Grand National meeting continues on Friday, April 13
AINTREE Grand National Festival Meeting – Day 2, Friday, April 13
GRAND PARTNER (14/1) can be competitive here going back up in trip after a good win last time out at Leopardstown. He enjoys soft ground and will enjoy this test. At 14/1, he represents a good each-way option.
SLATE HOUSE (14/1) is another each-way player here in a very open contest. This horse has not hit the heights once expected of him but he did beat the Supreme Novices winner Summerville Boy at Cheltenham last November on soft ground. He fell at last month's festival when Summerville Boy prevailed, but he can't be written off just yet.
This race may be an afterthought for SNOW FALCON (12/1) after he unseated midway through the Irish Grand National over Easter but before that he was just five lengths in arrears chasing home Monalee at Leopardstown. That horse went on to be second to Presenting Percy in the RSA at Cheltenham. A lot of these rivals were behind Monalee that day. Noel Meade's charge won't mind the soft ground and will stay.
MIN (13/8) hasn't done much wrong in his career to date. He's hugely consistent and has won six out of nine starts for Willie Mulllins. He lost one of those in the steward's room to Simply Ned after technically finishing ahead of that rival, and experienced his other two defeats at the hands of Altior, both at Cheltenham in two separate years. There is no Altior today and although fellow Irish raider Balko Des Flos beat Un Des Sceaux at Cheltenham, I think Min will be hard to beat at this distance. With Politilogue likely to be better than last month, this could be the race of the day.
Paul Nicholls has fallen down the training pecking order in recent years but he could certainly claim this race with ART MAURESQUE (18/1). His form with Waiting Patiently from earlier in the year worked out well with that rival going on to beat Cue Card. He may not be the yard's first string, but he can handle these fences and be there or thereabouts at the end.
If there's room for a crazy bet on Day 2 it is certainly here with ANOTHER STOWAWAY (66/1). You could virtually name your price on this horse but he may be lucky enough to steal a place. He has had a wind operation of late, with this being just his second run since. He was second on the comeback run, but before that was a close second to the hugely exciting On The Blind Side at this very track last October. That race was run on identical ground and at a silly price, he could spring a surprise.
A notoriously difficult race to dissect with a host of emerging talent, but the nod goes with DANNY KIRWAN (2/1) for Paul Nicholls. This horse was purchased by Offaly bloodstock agent Tom Malone, and he's been sweet on his prospects. Having bought the 2018 Gold Cup winner Native River, he knows a good horse, and this one has backed up the up so far with a sublime point-to-point win and a subsequent Kempton victory.