Timeform bring you the three best bets on the opening day of the Grand National Festival at Aintree.
"...well clear on Timeform’s weight-adjusted ratings and may yet have more to offer now tackling better ground..."
Timeform on Eileendover
Hitman - 13:45 Aintree
Hitman has developed into a smart chaser in four starts for Paul Nicholls, putting up his best effort when filling the runner-up spot behind Allmankind in the Henry VIII Novices' Chase at Sandown in December. That form gives Hitman a bit to find with Fusil Raffles on Timeform's weight-adjusted ratings, but he is unlikely to have finished improving just yet (still only a five-year-old) and will arrive here fresher than most after missing Cheltenham. He rates a confident selection to get off the mark in Grade 1 company after a confidence-boosting victory at Newbury last month (beat two inferior rivals at odds of 7/1-on).
Monmiral - 14:20 Aintree
Monmiral maintained his unbeaten record over hurdles with an easy success at Haydock last time. He jumped well and quickly asserted from the second last to win by seven and a half lengths from Nassalam, dishing out a much more comprehensive beating to that rival than Adagio had when winning the Finale Juvenile Hurdle at Chepstow the previous month. The form Monmiral showed at Haydock would already be good enough to win an average running of this Grade 1, while the small 'p' attached to his Timeform rating denotes that he is still open to more improvement.
Eileendover - 17:15 Aintree
Eileendover looked something out of the ordinary when making it three from three in bumpers with another wide-margin victory in a listed mares' event at Market Rasen in January, once again showing a blistering change of gear to land the spoils by six and a half lengths. The third Grangee has since won a Grade 2 mares' bumpers at Leopardstown, so there is plenty of substance to the form. An exceptional bumper mare, Eileendover is well clear on Timeform's weight-adjusted ratings and may yet have more to offer now tackling better ground. She is very hard to oppose as a result.