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2018 Grand National Festival day three tips - Race-by-race selections for Saturday's final day at Aintree

The Dutchman can win the 2018 Aintree Grand National.

Brian Healy gives his race-by-race selections for the third and final day of the 2018 Grand National Festival, including the world's most famous steeplechase.

The third and final day of the 2018 Aintree Grand National Festival goes to post on Saturday, and the world’s most famous steeplechase dominates the day three racecard which also features a trio of Grade One contests.

The nation-stopping contest that is the Grand National features as the penultimate race on the card, and another classic renewal of the famous race awaits punters.

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1:45 Gaskells Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) Cl1 (4yo+) 3m½f RUK

Debece has been given a huge chance by the handicapper if Tim Vaughn’s charge returns to action from a year off in the same vein of form which saw him go close in last season’s Sefton Novices’ Hurdle; but despite finishing only third at Haydock last time out, GOLAN FORTUNE (16/1, William Hill) could prove the answer to a very tricky opening race on the final day of Aintree.

Philip Middleton’s Golan gelding has progressed well over hurdles this term, winning three times and going close behind Topofthegame at Sandown in a Grade Three contest back in February.

Third last time out behind Chef Des Obeaux in the Prestige Novices’ Hurdle, having made a bad blunder two out when in contention, he may appreciate the return to handicap company where he features on a handy mark; while Richard Patrick’s 5lbs claim adds further strength to his chances.

Proven in the mud, he will need to brush up on his jumping; but there could still be some further improvement to come, and he can post a big effort.

Golan Fortune can strike in the Aintree day three opener.

2:25 Betway Mersey Novices' Hurdle (Grade 1) Cl1 (4yo+) 2m4f ITV

Nicky Henderson is enjoying a fine Aintree Festival, and ON THE BLIND SIDE (9/4, Unibet) can give the Seven Barrows maestron further success at the Liverpool venue.

The Stowaway gelding was considered the main home hope against Samcro in the Ballymore Hurdle, but a minor niggle saw him miss out on a Cheltenham engagement; as such he arrives here fresh, and he has looked a top-drawer performer in his three wins over hurdles since joining this yard from the point-to-point sphere.

A winner here on debut over this distance, he has since won back-to-back Grade Two contests, readily coming clear of Springtown Lake last time to claim the Winter Novices’ Hurdle impressively.

He takes another step up the ladder here, but there could be plenty of further improvement to come from him and he is taken to get the better of Ballymore runner-up Black Op who had a hard race at the Festival.

3:00 Doom Bar Maghull Novices' Chase (Grade 1) Cl1 (5yo+) 2m ITV

This looks a good opportunity for PETIT MOUCHOIR (4/7, BetVictor) to make amends for his Cheltenham Festival disappointment where the Al Namix gelding set off like a scalded cat alongside fellow trailblazer Saint Calvados before folding tamely behind impressive winner Footpad.

While it is unlikely he would have beaten that rival in any case with a more patient ride, he might have finished second and with no Footpad in the field today he ought to be hard to beat.

He had found the same rival too strong the time before when the pair clashed at Leopardstown; but it was his first outing in four months and he might have needed it following his win at Punchestown in October. This flatter, sharper track could suit him better than Cheltenham, and with a fair bit in hand on official ratings he should collect.

Petit Mouchoir ought to be hard to beat in Saturday's Maghull Novices' Chase.

3:40 Betway Handicap Chase (Grade 3) Cl1 (5yo+) 3m1f ITV

VERY FIRST TIME (18/1, William Hill) had been in good heart earlier in the season, scoring at Hexham and Newcastle towards the end of 2017, and Tim Easterby’s charge chased home Acdc - a winner since - at Kelso in January, denied by only a half-length.

The Champs Elysees gelding was never competitive when thrust into the Kim Muir at the Cheltenham Festival, perhaps unnerved by an early mistake before finishing down the field.

He isn’t judged too harshly on that effort, as that was a strong renewal of the amateurs’ contest, and he features here from a workable mark. While this does demand a jolt of improvement, the six-year old could well still have more to offer over fences and he can get competitive, especially with the soft ground a plus point.

He’s not written off despite his slightly lesser run last time out, and he is given another chance.

4:20 Ryanair Stayers Hurdle (Registered As The Liverpool Hurdle) (Grade 1) Cl1 (4yo+) 3m½f ITV

The progressive SAM SPINNER (6/4, BetVictor) got his tactics wrong in the Cheltenham Stayers’ Hurdle, where jockey Joe Colliver set only a steady pace out in front and the Black Sam Bellamy gelding couldn’t find a change of gear at the business end.

His earlier successes, which included a defeat of Thursday winner L’ami Serge had seen him bowl along in front, making every post a winning one, and a return to a stronger pace could see him quickly resume winning ways.

He still finished a creditable fifth at Cheltenham, but with the sharper, flatter track at Aintree likely to play more to his strengths then he could be hard to peg back if ridden slightly more aggressively from the front.

A repeat of his impressive earlier wins at Haydock and Ascot ought to be good enough to see him resume winning ways, and can gallop these rivals into submission.

Sam Spinner could prove hard to beat in the Stayers' Hurdle if setting a stronger gallop.

5:15 Randox Health Grand National Handicap Chase (Grade 3) Cl1 (7yo+) 4m2½f ITV

Colin Tizzard has already enjoyed success over the Grand National fences at this meeting, and THE DUTCHMAN (22/1, Paddy Power) could give the Dorset handler another famous winner to add to stablemate Native River’s Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Previously trained by Sandy Thompson - who saddles Seeyouatmidnight - the King’s Theatre gelding kicked off his time with Tizzard with a solid runner-up effort over hurdles behind Sam Spinner at Haydock, after which he perhaps wasn’t at home on the Cheltenham undulations when only sixth behind Arthur’s Gift in the Citipost Hurdle.

Reverted back to fences following that run, he headed to Haydock where despite very testing conditions he hacked up to post a wide-margin success in the Peter Marsh Chase where he was always racing prominently. Aside from a mistake at the second-last, he had jumped and travelled well as he posted a 13 lengths defeat of Captain Redbeard.

Having returned to Haydock to contest the Grand National Trial, the Tizzard runner failed to fire in the race where he burst a blood vessel and was pulled up mid-contest, so a line can be drawn under that run; the Tizzard runners weren’t in particularly strong form during February in any case so the outing is forgiven and he could well pick up again back from a break.

He looks to have been handed a nice weight for the Aintree showpiece, and with conditions on Grand National day on the soft side and in his favour then he must have a solid chance despite his big odds.

6:20 Pinsent Masons Handicap Hurdle (Conditional Jockeys' And Amateur Riders' Race) Cl2 (4yo+) 2m½f RUK

A tricky finale can go the way of Ian Williams’ MICHAEL’S MOUNT (5/1, Ladbrokes) who is 2-3 over hurdles, with his sole defeat coming behind Global Citizen in the Dovecote Novices’ Hurdle at Kempton.

A useful flat perfomer, the Mount Nelson gelding made a good impression when winning on debut at Doncaster, and he followed up on the back of that Kempton third to resume winning ways at Ludlow, beating Veiled Secret easily.

Stepping into a handicap, he looks to have been handed a workable opening mark, and with the potential to improve he ought to go close under crack conditional James Bowen who can take off 3lbs.


1:45 - GOLAN FORTUNE (16/1, William Hill)

2:25 - ON THE BLIND SIDE (9/4, Unibet)

3:00 - PETIT MOUCHOIR (4/7, BetVictor)

3:40 - VERY FIRST TIME (18/1, William Hill)

4:20 - SAM SPINNER (6/4, BetVictor)

5:15 - THE DUTCHMAN (22/1, Paddy Power)

6:20 - MICHAEL’S MOUNT (5/1, Ladbrokes)

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2018 Grand National Festival day three tips - Race-by-race selections for Saturday's final day at Aintree

Brian Healy gives his race-by-race selections for the third and final day of the 2018 Grand National Festival, including the world's most famous steeplechase.

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