Early Bird – 14th April

1:45 Aintree – Dream Berry & Prime Venture

Taking two here. The favourite is the first one in Dream Berry. A noted horse for me from the Martin Pipe handicap. Never really put into the race it stayed on notably from the back. This was its first run for almost a year so is entitled to come on for that. Seems to handle any ground and with Geraghty on board then a big run can be expected.

The other is Prime Venture, who was only 8th in the Pertemps Final though is another that was held up and never got into the race. Has some decent staying form on soft in big handicaps and whilst I am not so keen an amateur riders in big handicaps, she does have a noticable 33% strike rate in hurdles including a winner for this yard earlier in the week. Finished 4th on this horse in a Pertemps qualifier when she dropped her whip late on possibly costing the horse a place. Under a similar patient ride then it would be no surprise to see it staying on for the places again.

1pt win Dream Berry @ 15/2 Betfair and Paddy Power

0.5pt e/w Prime Venture @ 25/1 Paddy and Betway

2:25 Aintree – Lostintranslation

In a race in which any number are open to improvement I will chance the Colin Tizzard trained Lostintranslation. Outpaced in the Supreme it suggested a step up in trip would make sense which is no surprise coming from a point to point background. Handles the bad ground, it does still have a bit to find with the market principles though the ground and course can be a leveller and the yard are in cracking form including a 1-2 in the Topham along with a win yesterday for Finians Oscar and places for Vision Des Flos and Elegant Escape today.

0.75pt e/w Lostintranslation @ 16/1 WillHill and Paddy

5:15 Aintree – Ucello Conti & Milansbar

The Grand National is set to be an attritional battle this year, run, quite possibly on heavy ground. Therefore you will be looking for a dour stayer, whilst previous trends suggest you should be aged 9-11 (11 of last 13 winners), run between 10-14 times over fences (7 from 10 including last 4) and carrying 10st 6lb to 11st (12 of last 18 though more prevalent on soft ground). Personally I think Tiger Roll has a big shout as one of my favourite horses, though goes against the trends as an 8yo who lacks experience here and the ground is going to be a concern. The main two I want on my side is Ucello Conti and Milansbar. The former has the course form, having been 6th here two years ago when run on heavy ground, a late blunder costing it the momentum it was making. Was still going ok last year till unseating at Bechers second time round. Now 2lb lower last year, it ran really well in Paddy Power Chase at Xmas, splitting Anibale Fly and Squouateur which reads very well now. Was disappointing at Gowran last time but its season has been geared towards this, has top jockey in Daryl Jacob on board and if getting a clear run it is likely to take an order.

Milansbar lacks the course form but hopefully as a front runner it will get a good sight of the fences and absolutely loves the ground, the worse the better for it. Stays really well, a slog in the mud when it is out front and out of trouble seems ideal. Gets on well with this jockey having won the Betfred classic at Warwick over 3m 5f. The form of that run looks solid after the third won the Kim Muir at Cheltenham. Not overly raced for an 11yo, he could his jockey a great spin and who knows, may well become the first female jockey to win the National.

0.75pt e/w Ucello Conti @ 20/1 188bet 1/5th odds 6 places

0.75pt e/w Milansbar @ 33/1 Betway 1/5th odds 6 places