You've landed in our Grand National day one preview for the first day of the 2021 Aintree Festival. Everything builds at the Liverpool venue to the world's most famous steeplechase. Before that, though, read on and see which horses appeal to Betting.co.uk experts in our Grand National Thursday preview below.
The action on Merseyside starts with the Manifesto Novices' Chase at 1:45, and ELDORADO ALLEN shaped like going up to two-and-a-half miles should suit him. His runs behind Shishkin saw him staying on at the finish for Colin Tizzard. This race sets the tone for the meeting, because its pretty open.
Fusil Raffles is favourite ahead of Hitman and Cheltenham Festival winner The Shunter, a real money spinner for his connections. Just 5lb separates six of the seven runners on official ratings. That's how tough it is picking the winner here.
Only six go in the Anniversary Juvenile Hurdle for four-year-olds at 2:20, where MONMIRAL is an odds-on favourite. Not the most original selection, but he's much more lightly-raced this season than main market rival Adagio. This may prove one race too many for the latter.
If there is to be an upset, and Paul Nicholls doesn't win with Monmiral, then Fiveandtwenty may provide it. She gets weight all-round as a filly and hails from the yard of local trainer Donald McCain. Both he and his late father Ginger have had big winners at Aintree.
The open Grade 1s in our Grand National day one preview both look very competitive. First up is the Betway Bowl over the Mildmay course at 2:50. You can make an easy enough case against the established steeplechasers Clan Des Obeaux, Native River, Tiger Roll and Waiting Patiently.
Clan Des Obeaux hasn't won since the 2019 King George. Native River and Tiger Roll are both 11-year-olds. The former is having his third run in two months, while the latter has only shone in the Cross Country and over the Grand National fences in recent years. Waiting Patiently is searching for a first success since February 2018.
It could be worth chancing MISTER FISHER, trying an extended three miles for the first time. He loves good ground, according to trainer Nicky Henderson, but couldn't go the pace in the Ryanair Chase. If on a going day, he makes for a solid each-way bet in his ideal conditions.
Next in our Grand National day one preview, the Aintree Hurdle at 3:25 which is even more open. JASON THE MILITANT is one of six in this rated 158 by the British handicapper. Any could be the winner.
Off the back of his Fairyhouse win, Jason The Militant might be well worth trying at the trip. Others to consider include McFabulous for Nicholls, Brewin'upastorm from the Olly Murphy stable and Song For Someone, who has some each-way juice in his price. Abacadabras could also have a say.
The Open Hunters' Chase at 4:05 is the first time the Grand National fences are jumped at the meeting. It's an event where having a strong view looks pretty difficult. The reason for that is the amateur jockeys haven't been allowed to ride for much of the winter due to restrictions.
Our Grand National Thursday preview advises similar caution with the Red Rum Handicap Chase at 4:40. These end-of-season festival handicaps are always a minefield. It's wiser to just watch or limit yourself to small stakes. The concluding bumper at 5:15, a National Hunt Flat race for fillies and mares, is all about EILEENDOVER.
She will probably never jump an obstacle in her career. Eileendover has a speedy Flat pedigree and could well end up with a summer campaign on the level after this. The apple of trainer Pam Sly's eye looks very hard to beat, despite Cheltenham Champion Bumper third Elle Est Belle in opposition. If you're looking to make the best of your bets this year then remember to check out the betting sites with high odds before you place a single penny on anything.
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