80/1 ‘Banker’ Acca for the Grand National meeting
The Grand National meeting is just around the corner now, and we’ve picked out our ‘Banker’ acca to cover all three day’s racing. Read who the selections are below, or if you’re in a hurry you could add it straight to your SkyBet betslip by clicking here.
PIED PIPER (2:20pm Thursday, Jewson Anniversary 4-y-o Juvenile Hurdle) 10/11
We start things off with a confident pick on Thursday, as Pied Piper should prove far too good for the opposition. He has made a solid start to his hurdles career, notably beating Vauban on debut and following up with an impressive win in Grade 2 company at Cheltenham next time out.
He was one of the trio who pulled clear in the run-in for the JCB Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham Festival, eventually losing out to Vauban and Fil Dor. But there is nothing like that sort of quality in this race!
Vauban has already comfortably beaten Knight Salute, and Petit Tonnere would need to come on plenty to trouble the market leader. His biggest danger will no doubt be Brazil, but he shouldn’t prevent us from getting off to a winning start with the banker acca.
JONBON (2:20 Friday, Top Novices’ Hurdle) 6/5
Another one coming straight from Cheltenham Festival is Nicky Henderson’s Jonbon. Quite simply, he is a better horse than anything in this, with the exception being perhaps El Fabiolo, but Jonbon’s experience should see him come out on top.
Having won his first three hurdles races, including two Grade 2 victories, he went into the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle full of confidence. However, it wasn’t to be as stablemate Constitution Hill delivered one of the performances of the Festival, cruising to a 22 length victory. Jonbon came out of that race with plenty of credit though, finishing second and beating some quality Novices’, including Willie Mullins’ Kilcruit.
There is no Constitution Hill to worry about in this race, and it would take a monstrous performance for one of the others to finish ahead of Jonbon on Friday.
BRAVEMANSGAME (2:55 Friday, Mildmay Novices’ Chase) 1/1
This one could be one of the trickier picks, but a fresh Bravemansgame can take this. He missed out on Cheltenham Festival after trainer Paul Nicholls decided the ground was too soft for him, and with the ground more to his liking at Aintree, we can expect to see a superstar performance from him.
His jumping has been virtually perfect so far this season, and that is a huge bonus in a race like this. L’Homme Presse will pounce on any mistakes he makes, but as of yet Bravemansgame is yet to really show any!
He couldn’t have been more impressive when winning the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day, and he excelled again in Handicap company at Newbury to win comfortably, despite giving the field over a stone in weight.
Bravemansgame is simply the best of the three horses at the head of the betting. Providing he is fit and the ground stays suitable, he should prove himself to be better than the L’Homme Presse and Ahoy Senor. Nothing else should come close to those three.
FAKIR D’OUDAIRIES (3:30 Friday, Marsh Chase) 5/4
We’re backing Fakir D’oudairies to land back-to-back victories in the Marsh Chase. His form is far superior to anything else in the race, and with no Allaho here he can continue his superb form. In fact, in his last four races to have not featured Allaho, his form reads 1st, 3rd, 1st, 1st. That third came in the Punchestown Gold Cup, which was an unsuitable distance for him, plus the two that finished in front of him were Clan Des Obeaux and Al Boum Photo so he hardly disgraced himself!
He’s been to Aintree twice so far in his career, finishing a neck second in the 4-y-o Juvenile Hurdle back in 2019, before running out a convincing winner in this race last year.
Trainer JP O’Brien side-stepped Cheltenham Festival to keep him fresh for Aintree, and that proved to be a shrewd move as Allaho romped to victory yet again in the Ryanair. His biggest challenge here will come from Funambule Sivola, but he should have too much class for him.
EDWARDSTONE (3:00 Saturday, Maghull Novices Chase) 4/7
Edwardstone sauntered to victory in the Arkle last month and we expect to back up that performance at Aintree on Saturday.
Alan King’s stable star has been a revelation since going chasing. After being brought down on his chase debut, he hasn’t looked back and has won all of his five races since. He demolished the field in the Henry VIII Novices’ Chase at Sandown in December (including beating the reopposing Third Time Lucki by over 16 lengths), and was equally as comfortable next time out at Kempton.
Following that, he again got the better of Third Time Lucki at Warwick in February, before proving his class at Cheltenham Festival. If he is fit and well, Edwardstone will take the world of beating on Saturday.
FLOORING PORTER (3:35 Saturday, Liverpool Hurdle) 7/4
We round off our ‘Banker’ acca with the staying star that is Flooring Porter. He quite simply never looked like losing in the Stayers’ Hurdle at Cheltenham last month, and there’s no reason for any of those reopposing in this to reverse that form.
Last years winner Thyme Hill is best when fresh, so a turnaround of less than a month will not suit him. He skipped Cheltenham last year, so was fresh for the race and did deserve to win that day. But after finishing behind Flooring Porter last month, that will have taken it’s toll on him and we can’t see him closing the gap at Aintree.
Champ couldn’t handle Flooring Porter at Cheltenham and we’re expecting a similar outcome this time too. None of the rest should come close to the front three, and Flooring Porter will hopefully prove his superiority in the staying division to sign us off with one final winner in the ‘Banker’ acca!
*ODDS CORRECT AT TIME OF WRITING*