After a 25/1 winner on Friday, Timeform's Premium tipping service are back on Grand National day...
"‘Jockeys don’t make that much of a difference do they? It’s the horse that does the running and jumping!’ The second part of that statement may be correct, but the first most definitely isn’t."
13:30 1 pt 3 Days of Heaven, 0.5 pt 12 Seedling
With the Neptune form still to start working out it could pay to overlook the seemingly obvious claims of Parlour Games and Nichols Canyon. The most progressive Days of Heaven has arguably achieved a similar level of form, anyway, impressing with the way he accounted for Vago Collonges in the Dovecote last time after a blunder at the second last had briefly put him on the back foot. He's raced only at two miles so far but the emphasis is likely to be more on speed than stamina here, anyway, and that's why we also feel it's worth having Seedling onside. He didn't get any further than the fourth in the Supreme, but prior to that had proved himself a useful novice in winning three out of three this season and, as a Flat bred, has long since given the impression that better ground could see him do better still.
14:05 1 pt 6 Traffic Fluide
Gods Own is the clear form choice in this, and that's not just based on his second to Un de Sceaux in the Arkle, but there's no disputing that he'd been trained with that race in mind since his pre-Christmas exploits and he has had difficulty stringing together back-to-back good efforts in the past. Conditions should suit Court Minstrel and he has to be feared as a result, but the way in which Traffic Fluide has dealt with the useful Seventh Sky on his last two starts marks him down as more than capable of coping with this step up to graded company. His jumping was superb as he defied a BHA mark of 135 by 10 lengths at Sandown last time out and it's hard to imagine not being thereabouts if he produces a similar display here.
14:50 1 pt 3 Cole Harden
As is so often the case, the World Hurdle holds the key to this Grade 1 event. Six of the nine runners contested the World Hurdle on their most recent start and, at the odds, we feel that Cole Harden represents fair value to confirm his superiority over the other quintet. Admittedly, he was allowed the run of things to some extent, but we don't subscribe to the view that he was flattered that day or that he'd necessarily have come off second best had Zarkandar not belted the second last when still to be asked for his effort. And yet the betting on Friday evening suggests that plenty do take such an opinion.
15:25 2 pts 2 Buywise
'Jockeys don't make that much of a difference do they? It's the horse that does the running and jumping!' The second part of that statement may be correct, but the first most definitely isn't. And we're firmly of the belief that a change in jockey is what Buywise needs to finally fulfil his potential as a chaser. It's perfectly possible that the horse's tendency to make mistakes is ingrained and that whoever rides him won't be able to eradicate it, but we're willing to pay to find out if that's the case here when Adam Wedge takes over from Paul Moloney. The latter once again overdid the waiting tactics when Buywise was a never-nearer fourth behind Darna at Cheltenham last month, providing yet more evidence (if any was needed) that it's only a matter of time before he gets his head in front again in a valuable handicap.
16:15 1 pt 17 The Druids Nephew, 0.5 pt 10 Spring Heeled
The latest renewal of the Topham provided excellent evidence as to why it's rarely a good idea to get carried away about any horse's prospects over the National fences. That said, it does provide the opportunity for a hefty payday on the rare occasions it's called correctly, and with Shutthefrontdoor taking an unrealistically large chunk out of the book we can have a dab at a market leader and a bigger-priced one. Druid's Nephew should arguably be a bit shorter than the 14/1 which can be had on Friday evening, racing from the same mark as when winning a highly competitive handicap at the Cheltenham Festival. His lack of experience over the National fences is a slight worry, but he's still unexposed over long distances, seems to go particularly well on decent ground and his chance from a handicapping aspect is an undeniable one. At longer odds, we'd also like to keep Spring Heeled on side. The fact that the yard has gone so long without a winner is obviously a worry, but it's not as if we're siding with a short-priced one to break that sequence and Spring Heeled has long since appealed as an ideal type for the Grand National, a notably sound jumper who goes especially well away from the mud and has bene trained with the race in mind.