The Grand Sefton over the Grand National fences is the big race at Aintree on Saturday and Racing Post tipster Graeme Rodway returns with his best bets at the Merseyside track.
The Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle (1.35) is a wide-open staying contest and the one who catches my eye is GENTLEMAN AT ARMS. He is well handicapped if he can find his form.
Gentleman At Arms was second behind Gelino Bello in a Grade 1 over course and distance last year and returns to the track running off a mark of just 124. He was rated 19lb higher at the same time last year and could take this race apart if recapturing anything like his best.
The worry is that we haven't seen that for a long time, but Gentleman At Arms caught the eye on his seasonal reappearance at Uttoxeter last month. He was beaten 22 lengths by the winner and finished last of five, but went well for a long way and faded only in the straight.
The cheekpieces that he has worn with success in the past return and Stuart Edmunds has a decent record for the size of his stable at this track. Gentleman At Arms could bounce back.
The 2m handicap chase (2.10) comes up next and the Alistair Ralph-trained CHANCEUX is an interesting contender for a stable that has been going well and shows a profit at this course.
Chanceux has had only five runs over fences and he appeared to be progressing well last season. He failed to get his head in front, but ran three of his best races according to Racing Post Ratings and that includes his second at Uttoxeter last December, which came on heavy.
He will evidently have no problem with the prevailing testing conditions and is only 1lb higher than when a good second at Stratford in April. That again came on heavy ground.
Jack Tudor has a 20 per cent strike-rate when riding for the Ralph stable in recent seasons and Chanceux remains open to plenty of further improvement as a chaser. He can cause an upset.
The Grand National fences are jumped for the first time this season in the Grand Sefton Handicap Chase (2.45) and HALF SHOT might be well suited by the test as he jumps well.
The problem is that he struggles to get his head in front and has now finished second on four of his last five outings, but he recorded a career-best Racing Post Rating when beaten just a head into second at Kelso on his seasonal reappearance last month and should improve for it.
He showed he has no problem with a big field like this when going well for a long way in the Scottish Grand National at Ayr last year and this race is nowhere near as competitive as that.
It's a long time since he last ran on heavy, but he goes well on soft ground and there is every chance he will handle testing conditions. Provided he does, Half Shot should run well again.
This article was written by a partner sports writer via Spotlight Sports Group. All odds displayed on this page were correct at the time of writing and are subject to withdrawal or change at any time.