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John Duggan's Preview and Tips...
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John Duggan's Preview and Tips for Day One at Aintree

The Grand National meeting starts at Aintree and John Duggan goes through the card with his selections for some of the key races.

Ireland enjoyed its best ever Cheltenham with 23 winners, but there will be fewer horses travelling to Liverpool for the three-day Grand National meeting.

The big race goes to post at 5.15pm on Saturday, but in the meantime, there are some decent races on Thursday's seven-race card, where the going is on the easy side of good.

1.45 - Manifesto Novices' Chase 

I thought Fusil Raffles ran well at Cheltenham and his form ties in with Fakir D'Oudairies, while Eldorado Allen may appreciate the step up in trip. However, with Hitman and The Shunter also holding claims, the race looks trappy to me.

Recommendation: No bet

2.20 - 4-Year-Old Juvenile Hurdle 

This looks like a match between Monmiral and Adagio, but I can't split them. These juvenile races can often throw up unusual results.

Recommendation: No bet

2.50 - Betway Bowl 

There are a lot of exposed horses in this race; Native River, Clan des Obeaux, Waiting Patiently. I don't know why they are running Tiger Roll here and I think he won't find the fences to his liking. If Mister Fisher stays, he will have a chance. I like Clondaw Castle, who acts on the track, jumps well, will appreciate the ground and is improving.

Recommendation: Clondaw Castle each way.

3.25 - Aintree Hurdle 

Jason the Militant is favourite but I wonder if he wants a softer surface. Of the outsiders, I like Song for Someone, but it's hard for me to look beyond Abacadabras. This horse was fancied for the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham, but fell. The ground will suit, jockey Jack Kennedy knows the time of day, and I think a fast pace on a flat track will help Abacadabras to stay. He ran all the way to the line with Shiskin in last year's Supreme Novices Hurdle at Cheltenham.

Recommendation: Abacadabras to win

4.05 - Foxhunters Chase

In 1983, Willie Mullins rode Atha Cliath to win this race at Aintree for his father Paddy, and Patrick now bids to do the same on Billaway for father Willie. It would be great to see them do it, and Billaway sets the standard on his close second at Cheltenham. However, the one I like is Some Man, who should appreciate the conditions of the race and who won nicely at Down Royal last time. Jockey Barry O'Neill deserves to win one of these races and today might be his day.

Recommendation: Some Man each way

4.40 - Red Rum Handicap Chase 

I tipped On the Slopes each way at Cheltenham and I think he has a decent chance here because he jumps well and the flatter track will suit. However, it generally pays to be on the more lightly weighted types in this 2-mile blitz and the one I have plumped for is Sully D'OC AA in the colours of JP McManus. He didn't get going at Cheltenham, but his previous effort at Newbury on decent ground gives him a chance of making the frame here, especially if ridden positively.

Recommendation: Sully D'OC AA each way

5.15 - Mares Bumper 

The betting would suggest this is a match between Eileendover and Elle Est Belle, but neither are stone cold certainties. There are a lot of unexposed types in this race and the one that interested me was the Arthur Moore trained Me Too Please, to be ridden by Rachael Blackmore.

Recommendation: Me Too Please each way

Aintree Thursday - Virtual money advice - €15: 

4.05 - €3 each way Some Man 8/1 (1/5 odds the first 4 places)

3.25 - €3 win Abacadabras 4/1

2.50 - €1 each way Clondaw Castle 6/1 (1/5 odds the first 4 places)

4.40 - €1 each way Sully D'Oc AA 12/1 (1/5 odds the first 5 places)

5.15 - €1 each way Me Too Please 11/1 (1/5 odds the first 4 places)

Please gamble responsibly, never bet more than you can afford, and good luck!

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