Grand National Festival: Three horses to follow including 12/1 shot at Aintree

Grand National Festival: Three horses to follow including 12/1 shot at Aintree

Three horses to follow on the last day of the Aintree Grand National Festival from Declan Rix including a 12/1 shot in the world’s biggest race, the Grand National.


2.30 Aintree – The Freebooter Handicap Chase (Premier Handicap) (5yo+) – 3m210y

Drying ground would certainly be in the favour of the strong-staying FORWARD PLAN, who has had an excellent four-run 2023/24 campaign thus far.

While he badly needed his seasonal debut at Wincanton, subsequent wins at Doncaster and Kempton have really shown how progressive he is. Sandwiched in between those wins was an unlucky second in the Great Yorkshire Chase, again at Doncaster, where those on the speed never truly came back to the field while Forward Plan was also unlucky in the run.

Last time out, Forward Plan was incredibly impressive visually; he didn’t half travel for fun before hitting the line so well. His win deserves an upgrade, too, as a couple of slow leaps put him on the back foot down the side of the track before coming home strongly.

I just hope the ground dries out for him as Aintree soft vs Kempton soft could possibly be a touch slow for him.

Declan Rix opts for Forward Plan in the Freebooter Handicap Chase


3.05 Aintree – JRL Group Liverpool Hurdle (Grade 1) (4yo+) – 3m149y

FLOORING PORTER doesn’t make life easy for himself or his jockey at times, his habit of hanging left under pressure seeing him as a less than straightforward ride.

In terms of ability and recent form however, he is right to the top of this race, where a 12-year-old in Sire Du Berlais is the race second favourite. This is a sub-standard division, no doubt, but at least Gavin Cromwell’s inmate doesn’t have the likes of Teahupoo or an Irish Point to deal with, after both weren’t declared.

In terms of tactics, the race looks like it will set up nicely for Flooring Porter, too. He has the ability to make his own running, but as a strong stayer, Keith Donoghue could easily take a lead if the gallop is deemed too quick.

Drying ground would also suit, not just because I’ve always felt he does everything that bit easier on it, but it would also inconvenience quite a few of his rivals.


4.00 Aintree – Grand National Handicap Chase (Premier Handicap) (7yo+) – 4m2f74

A different Grand National this season with a smaller field and a standing start just two of the new changes to the great race.

The latter amendment I hope won’t cause MR INCREDIBLE too many issues given he hasn’t jumped off in the past, but given his ability, recent form and weight of 10st 11lb, I hope he can run well and get a little bit more luck this season.

He looked to be running a nice race in last year’s National before his saddle slipped, causing Brian Hayes to unseat out the side door. If returning in better form, and getting more luck, hopefully he can run a big race given we know he will stay this far.

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