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Aintree Day 1 Tips: Best bets for Thursday at the Grand National Festival

The Grand National Festival begins at Aintree on Thursday so get the best bets from our tipsters Tony Calvin, Kevin Blake and more as well as Paul Nicholls on his runners…

“The headline attraction will be the rematch between Epatante and Zanahiyr after they filled the placings behind Honeysuckle in the Champion Hurdle.”

Back Zanahiyr @ 3.02/1

“I’ve had this race in mind all season for Pic D’Orhy who is best on a flat track like Aintree with nice ground. We were never going to Cheltenham with him and probably shouldn’t have taken him to Sandown. He is exciting and looked smart when winning last time at Kempton which was his best performance over fences. He has won two Grade 2 Chases and it would be nice to win a Grand 1.



Trainer: Paul Nicholls
Jockey: Harry Cobden
Age: 7
Weight: 11st 4lbs
Back Pico Dorhy @ 3.953/1

“The Jewson Anniversary 4-y-o Juvenile Hurdle is another lay-friendly race with Pied Piper 2.1211/10 and Brazil 3.613/5 the two shorties. Petit Tonnerre 12.5 is next in the betting then it is 21.020/1 bar the three.

“The two that head the betting both come on from Cheltenham. Pied Piper went down fighting in the Triumph. Brazil floored a monumental gamble on Gaelic Warrior in the Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle. There shouldn’t be much between them but Pied Piper’s form is the classier and I would expect him to come out on top.”

Lay Brazil @ 3.613/5

“The headline attraction will be the rematch between Epatante and Zanahiyr after they filled the placings behind Honeysuckle in the Champion Hurdle. Given Epatante made quite a bad mistake at the final flight, she is sure to have plenty of supporters that feel she will uphold the form, but I have a different read on it.”

“The pair had notably contrasting spins through the Champion Hurdle. Epatante was given a quiet ride hard up on inner in an effort to get her settled. In contrast, Zanahiyr ended up getting a wide trip with no cover as Jack Kennedy sought to both have him forward and to keep Honeysuckle wide. The end result was that Zanahiyr ended up covering significantly more ground than Epatante, which puts a different spin on the true merits of their individual performances on the day.”



Trainer: Gordon Elliott, Ireland
Jockey: J. W. Kennedy
Age: 5
Weight: 11st 7lbs
Back Zanahiyr @ 3.02/1

“I am happy to give Frero Banbou another chance. You could argue he is short enough at around 8/1 in an 18-runner handicap, but I would make the case he is justifiably so.

“Quite simply, Charlie Deutsch, very much a golden jockey with the media of late (and rightly so), has probably had two obvious nightmares in the saddle this season and they have both been on this horse. And, even worse, they have resulted in his charge going up 2lb for those two defeats, one by four lengths and the latest one by six, so the handicapper clearly agrees.”



Trainer: Venetia Williams
Jockey: Charlie Deutsch
Age: 7
Weight: 11st 1lbs
OR: 142
Back Frero Banbou @ 9.08/1

Thursday 7 April, 3.30pm

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