Aintree Grand National Meeting: An Early Look at The Big Grade 1 Events

Best bets for the Grade 1 races at the Aintree Grand National Meeting

With a little over a week to go until the biggest jumps race on the planet, Grand National fever is beginning to sweep the nation. Hot on the heels of another dominant Cheltenham Festival, the Irish appear well positioned for further success in the big race on Saturday 13th April, with the bulk of the 34-runner field likely to hail from an Irish yard.

However, it is not ALL about the marathon chase. The Grand National Festival lasts for three days and includes 11 Grade 1 events. Seven of those top-tier contests are novice affairs, but here, using 10-year trends data presented by, we pick out our best bets for the four open Grade 1s.

Aintree Bowl – Thursday 11th April 2024

  • 10 of 10 winners had previously won at Grade 1 level
  • 9 of 10 had previously won over 3m or further
  • 9 of 10 had an official rating of 168 or higher
  • 8 of 10 most recently ran at the Cheltenham Festival, including 6 who ran in the Gold Cup
  • 7 of 10 were 8 or 9 years of age
  • 6 of 10 were trained by Paul Nicholls or Nicky Henderson

There are no shortage of solid trends fits amongst the likely contenders for the opening day highlight. Bravemansgame has seen his rating slip to 167, but the Paul Nicholls star hits every other trend. Nicky Henderson’s Shiskin hits the rating trend but missed the Cheltenham Festival and is now 10 years of age. Overall, the one we like best is the Gordon Elliott-trained nine-year-old Gerri Colombe. Second in the Gold Cup last time out, he’s a dual Grade 1 win at 3m and beyond and is currently rated 170.

  • Recommended Bet - Gerri Colombe to win @ 15/8 with BetMGM

Aintree Hurdle – Thursday 11th April 2024

  • 10 of 10 most recently ran at the Cheltenham Festival, including 8 who ran in the Champion Hurdle
  • 10 of 10 had previously won at Grade 1 level
  • 7 of 10 had an Official Rating of 161 or above
  • 7 of 10 finished in the first 4 last time out
  • 4 of 10 were trained by Nicky Henderson

Not so many near-perfect trends fits in this 2m4f Hurdle event. Current favourite Bob Ollinger is one of only a handful likely to hit the desired rating but missed the Cheltenham Festival. Impaire Et Passe falls just short on ratings and skipped Cheltenham. Lossiemouth is interesting for Willie Mullins in receipt of the mares allowance, but the vote goes to another Cheltenham Festival runner-up from the Gordon Eliott yard. Three-time Grade 1 winner Irish Point ran a cracker to finish so close to State Man in the Champion Hurdle and is only just shy of the 161 rating target.

  • Recommended Bet - Irish Point to win @ 2/1 with BetMGM

Melling Chase – Friday 12th April 2024

  • 9 of 10 had an Official Rating of 161 or above
  • 9 of 10 finished in the first 4 last time out
  • 8 of 10 most recently ran at the Cheltenham Festival, including 5 in the Queen Mother Champion Chase
  • 8 of 10 were 7 or 8 years of age
  • 8 of 10 had previously won over 2m4f or further

2023 winner Pic D’orhy heads the market in this Day 3 highlight but is nine years old and missed the Cheltenham Festival. Jonbon comes close, but his only win over 2m4f or further came back in his point-to-point days, whilst El Fabiolo has done all of his winning at 2m and finished pulled up in the Champion Chase. The closest fits are Ryanair winner Protektorat and Irish raider Banbridge. Protektorat boasts a two-from-three record at Aintree and is more versatile regarding the ground, which earns the Dan Skelton runner our vote.

  • Recommended Bet - Protektorat to win @ 7/2 with BetUK

Liverpool Hurdle – Saturday 13th April 2024

  • 8 of 10 most recently ran at the Cheltenham Festival, including 4 in the Stayers Hurdle
  • 7 of 10 were between 7 and 9 years of age
  • 7 of 10 had previously won at Grade 1 level
  • 7 of 10 were sired by Kayf Tara, Poliglote, or Astarabad
  • 6 of 10 had previously won over 3m or further
  • 6 of 10 finished 1st or 2nd last time out

2022 and 2023 hero Sire du Berlais seems set to defend his crown, but at 12 years of age, he is becoming more of an outlier on the trends with each passing year - that won’t necessarily stop him, but he’s a shorter price than for his two previous wins, and we will look elsewhere. Teahupoo is the obvious one, having won the Stayers Hurdle in such impressive style, but seems to enjoy more time between his races. Irish Point is a solid fit if stepping back up to this trip, but the one to carry our cash is the 2021 and 2022 Stayers Hurdle champ, Flooring Porter. Still only nine years old, he ran an excellent race to finish second behind Teahupoo last time, giving the impression that he may improve for the run.

  • Recommended Bet - Flooring Porter to win @ 4/1 with BetUK

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