The second day of the Grand National meeting at Aintree is another cracker with some great action in store. Our man, Nick Luck, is back with his thoughts and fancies.


MONTE CRISTO can build on his Coral Cup performance by taking the opener on Ladies’ Day at Aintree (1.45pm). Put simply, he ran way better than his finishing position, trying in vain to give chase to the impressive winner, then being stopped in his tracks after the last. He had looked stylish in victory earlier in the season at Kempton, and I feel that this more speed-favouring track will play to his strengths at 8/1. I’ll also be having a tiny each-way bet on WEST TO THE BRIDGE at 25/1, for whom conditions will be just about perfect since winning at Newbury earlier in the season.

DO YOUR JOB is a huge price for a big race again, and again I think he’s got a much better chance than the market suggests in the Top Novices’ Hurdle (2.20pm). Be in no doubt this is a really smart horse: he was outstayed at Haydock having travelled a million times the best, sank on bad ground in the Tolworth (had breathing op since), then again travelled all over the very smart My Drogo (favourite for a Grade One this week) at Kelso before being outstayed. I’m convinced a strongly run two miles (For Pleasure will sort that out) on nice ground is what this horse wants, and I’m keen on him each-way at 22/1.

THE BIG BREAKAWAY has a big chance to confirm his promise in the Mildmay (2.50pm). He has a little ground to make up with stablemate Fiddlerontheroof from Cheltenham, but he was the one who tried to serve it up to Monkfish and paid the price. He has always had a hint of star quality about him and he seems a big price at 7/1 if you take the view that the Brown Advisory form at Cheltenham is a better guide to this race than the Marsh.

MASTER TOMMYTUCKER can come of age in the Melling Chase (3.25pm). Arguably his most impressive performance this season came when ridden by Sam Twiston-Davies at Haydock in November, when his jumping looked most assured and he coasted home. The configuration of this track should suit better than Ascot, where Dashel Drasher really ground it out up the hill with great toughness, and I can see him taking some stopping here at 9/2.

SNUGSBOROUGH HALL makes some each-way appeal at 33/1 in a Topham (4.05pm) which features some pretty reluctant heroes. This is a horse with a fair bit of pace (never a bad thing in this race), who jumps pretty soundly (ditto), and has won and run well in big field handicaps. More pertinently, he is well treated on his old form, looks like he wants around this trip nowadays, and shaped with quite a bit of encouragement off a layoff last time, when staying on eye-catchingly. Derek O’Connor takes over in the saddle – another plus. I’ll be saving on TWO FOR GOLD (12/1) – sure to be up there throughout – and possibly feeling the effects of his hard fought Warwick win when behind Cloth Cap at Kelso.

GALLYHILL represents some value at 11/1 against Bravemansgame in the Sefton (4.40pm). He made heavy enough weather of it at Newbury on his British debut, but the time wasn’t bad at all and it was a bit cosier than it looked. In a better race at Ascot, when going down to a very solid horse, he would probably have won but for ripping off a shoe, so well had he travelled. I like that he skipped the Albert Bartlett and arrives a fresh horse, and the vibes from the yard seem positive.

BOLD ENOUGH looks to have a strong chance in the concluding handicap (5.15pm) at 12/1. Off for some time before reappearing at Downpatrick recently, he emerged to run an absolute stormer, going down only to a completely unexposed and evidently very useful rival. He had Mitchouka, who was chucked in off his hurdles mark, back in third, and a rise plus a guess from the UK handicappers isn’t enough to stop him here.

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