Saturday Racing Tips for 13th April 2024 (Aintree)

Results for Saturday Racing Tips for 13th April 2024 (Aintree)

Saturday sees the biggest racing occasion of the year – and by some considerable margin – as the Merseyside venue of Aintree steps into the glare of the public spotlight once more. There simply isn’t any race anywhere in the world quite like the Grand National, with the combination of the marathon trip and imposing fences capturing the imaginations of all and sundry. From the racing diehards to the once-a-year punters, millions will tune in to see how it all unfolds.

Of course, the tote is there for the party, with the leading pool betting operator finding no reason to look elsewhere for this week’s Scoop6 bet. All six contests come from Aintree, with the Grand National providing the trickiest leg in this perplexing puzzle. Here, we present our best bets in each of the six events in this week’s Scoop6 Racing Tips.

1:30 William Hill Handicap Hurdle

Premier Handicap, 3m½f

Aintree
West Balboa
7/2

The opening leg sets the tone as 22 runners go to post in a fiendishly competitive handicap hurdle. A few of these bring solid form from the Cheltenham Festival to the table, including Monmiral (11/1) and Cuthbert Dibble (7/1), who finished first and third in the Pertemps Final, and Jonnywho (17/2), who finished a respectable eighth in the Albert Bartlett but may find this ground more to his liking. Amongst the outsiders, the Nicky Henderson duo of Bold Endeavour (25/1) and Chantry House (25/1) make some appeal, with the yard seemingly now over the troubles which all but wrote off their Cheltenham Festival.

Solid as the previously mentioned runners are, we suspect this may be another major handicap which falls the way of the red-hot Dan Skelton operation. Gwennie May Boy (8/1) arrives on a high, having won three of four starts this term, but the one to be on is last year’s winner, West Balboa (7/2).

It wasn’t so long ago that this mare looked destined for the top table. Whilst she hasn’t quite lived up to that billing, she suggested she may soon return to the winner’s enclosure when staying on late at Kempton last time out. A perfect two from two at Aintree, she’s now 1lb lower than for the most recent of those wins and can grab the opener to set us on our way towards that jackpot!

2:30 William Hill Handicap Chase

Premier Handicap, 3m1f

Aintree
Crebily
7/2

Dan Skelton also boasts solid claims in leg number two, with the lightly raced eight-year-old The King Of Ryhope (5/1). Having competed in Grade 2 company in his two most recent outings, he drops in class for his third start in a handicap. It seems highly likely we haven’t seen the best of him yet, but he does need to improve and is too short for our liking. The consistent Twig (15/2) is more solid, having run a cracker to finish second in the Ultima, whilst the classy Fugitif (16/1) is an appealing each-way option – if bouncing back from a pulled-up showing in the Ryanair Chase.

The one for our money is Plate Handicap Chase runner-up Crebily (7/2). He’s up 3lb for that narrow second to Shakem Up’arry but remains open to improvement on only his fifth start over fences. His verdict over Tahmuras from earlier in the season reads well, and that Cheltenham effort is worth upgrading, considering little went right for him during the race. The Green and Gold silks of JP McManus are a regular sight in the winner’s enclosure at this meeting, and we fancy the powerful owner can strike at Aintree once more.

3:05 JRL Group Liverpool Hurdle

Grade 1, 3m½f

Aintree
Hiddenvalley Lake
13/2

The first of the Grade 1s looks set to serve up a cracker, with a few of these arriving from the Stayers Hurdle at Cheltenham. Included in that number is the 2023 Stayers Hurdle king Sire Du Berlais (11/2), who has landed the past two editions of this. He’s 12 years old now but ran well enough when fifth at this year’s festival, and is a threat to all. Stayers Hurdle second, Flooring Porter (7/2) is another to note and will prove dangerous if allowed to dictate the running. However, that is by no means assured in this field, and he has come up short in the past two renewals of this.

Buddy One (12/1) and Crambo (15/2) also lined up in the Stayers Hurdle and could be in the mix, whilst the high-class duo of Monkfish (12/1) and King George winner Hewick (11/1) are likely to prove popular with each-way punters. However, we see this going to Henry De Bromhead.

Hiddenvalley Lake (13/2) arrives fresher than most following a light campaign but suggested he may be up to this level when comfortably seeing off his rivals in a Grade 2 at Navan last time out. With Rachael Blackmore in the saddle, he can make that freshness advantage tell on the run to the line.

4:00 Randox Grand National Handicap Chase

Premier Handicap, 4m2½f

Aintree
Galia Des Liteaux
28/1

Next up, the big one. The Irish have the numbers on their side in the 2024 Grand National, with 26 of the 34-runner field making the trip over from the Emerald Isle. The powerhouse operations of Willie Mullins and Gordon Elliott each fire nine darts at the race, with Mulliins, in particular, looking to boast a strong hand. Irish National champ, I Am Maximus, leads the Closutton charge, with the improving handicapper Meetingofthewaters, and talented but unpredictable Mr Incredible providing strong support.

The 2022 and 2023 winners of the race, Noble Yeats (25/1) and Corach Rambler (8/1) are both higher in the handicap than when coming home in front, but that proven ability over this most distinctive of courses counts for plenty. A repeat success for Corach Rambler is hard to rule out, with the Lucinda Russel star running a cracker to finish third in the Cheltenham Gold Cup last time out.

In a captivating edition of the great race, our shortlist of three consists of last year’s runner-up, Vanillier, who is weighted to turn the tables with Corach Rambler, the unexposed Limerick Lace from the same Gavin Cromwell operation, and Dan Skelton’s Galia Des Liteaux (28/1), with narrow preference for the last named.

This one went into our notebook when going down by just ¾l to the useful My Silver Lining in the Classic Chase at Warwick – when conceding fully 20lb to that rival. To go so close under 11st10lb was a mighty performance and she will be burdened with a far more manageable 10st7lb here. Take Skelton to round off the best season of his career in spectacular style.

5:00 My Pension Expert Maghull Novices’ Chase

Grade 1, 2m

Aintree
Hercule Du Seuil
6/1

Dan Skelton has another solid chance in the final Grade 1 event of the day in the shape of Etalon (7/1), who arrives at Aintree seeking a four-timer. He’s a likeable sort, but this represents a big step up from a Class 3 handicap and he may need to find around a stone of improvement to trouble a few of these. That’s by no means impossible, but we will look elsewhere.

Found A Fifty (2/1) brings the best recent form, having finished a decent second in the Arkle. That Gordon Elliott runner likely won’t be far away, whilst Henry De Bromhead’s Quilixios (11/1) is far better than he showed at Cheltenham and rates a solid each-way selection.

However, we will swerve the Cheltenham form and side with Hercule Du Seuil (6/1) from the yard of Willie Mullins. This son of Saddler Maker has won six of his last seven starts, including three at Grade 3 level or above, and arrives fresh following a break since landing a Grade 3 at Punchestown in October. Mullins won this with a similar type in Gentleman De Mee in 2022 and can repeat the trick two years on.

5:35 Weatherbys nhstallions.co.uk Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race

Grade 2, 2m

Aintree
Valgrand
12/1

On a day all about jumping, it is a flat contest which rounds off the Scoop6 bet, as 19 go to post in the closing bumper. As tends to be the case in events such as this, there isn’t all that much form to go on – and all of that which is available looks impressive on paper.

Of the 11 last-time-out winners in this field, the Jonjo O’Neill-trained Mister Meggit tops our list, having landed his two contests to date by a combined 16¾l. However, each of those wins came in Class 5 company and, at around the 9/4 mark, we will look elsewhere.

Continuing our Skelton-flavoured Scoop 6, the one to carry our cash in the finale is Valgrand (12/1). Showing plenty of promise when going down by just a head in an Irish Point to Point, this Highclere runner was a huge eyecatcher when staying on from a mile back to grab second in a Class 2 bumper at Cheltenham in October. Not seen at the track in the intervening months, it would be no surprise were he to have improved significantly under Skelton’s expert guidance, but even a repeat of that Cheltenham effort would put him in the mix.