The Aintree Grand National Festival 2024 is well under way and to make sure that you don’t miss out, Karl Hedley has put together a preview of each race on the second day.

With a little bit of knowledge and a few choice tips, it’s a great guide to Day Two.

MILDMAY NOVICES CHASE – 1:45PM

Tip: Iroko

The Mildmay Novices’ Chase holds a storied legacy, with its inaugural editions boasting victories by notable names like Bregawn and Borough Hill Lad, who went on to claim Gold Cup glory.

Over its initial decade, the race also saw triumphs by subsequent Grand National champions Rhyme ‘n’ Reason and Royal Athlete.

Elevated to Grade 1 status in 2014, the race has continued to attract illustrious winners, including the likes of Native River, a Gold Cup victor eight years prior.

Paul Nicholls has stamped his authority on the event, securing victory four times since 2006, with his roster of champions including the esteemed Big Buck’s and the dual King George winner Silviniaco Conti.

Not to be outdone, Nicky Henderson boasts an impressive record of six wins overall, highlighting the race’s status as a showcase for future stars in the making.

Past Winners

Below are confirmed runners who are entered for The Mildmay Novices’ Chase with some recent form notes to help point you in the right direction of identifying the winner.

BROADWAY BOY – NIGEL TWISTON DAVIES & SAM TWISTON DAVIES

Known for his front-running style and proficiency on soft ground, Broadway Boy had a lacklustre performance at Warwick three months ago.

However, his overall progression has been positive, highlighted by a strong victory in a Cheltenham handicap over 3m2f on a previous outing.

With the introduction of first-time headgear and with him being in a fresher condition compared to his competitors, he could well be poised to rebound.

CHIANTI CLASSICO – KIM BAILEY & DAVID BASS

Versatile on any ground, Chianti Classico has shown steady improvement in handicap chases this season, boasting impressive form figures.

His dominant victory in the Ultima Chase at Cheltenham over 3m1f displayed his class, guts and determination.

He enters this field as a worthy contender deserving of respect.

GIOVINCO – LUCINDA RUSSELL & STEPHEN MULQUEEN

Thrives on heavy ground and holds the distinction of being the sole course and distance winner in the field.

Coming off a solid performance in the Brown Advisory at Cheltenham over 3m, representing a trainer with a previous win in this race, Giovinco brings respectable credentials and cannot be discounted.

It would not be the biggest of shocks if he were to put in a big run.

HEART WOOD – HENRY DE BROMHEAD & RACHAEL BLACKMORE

Seems to excel in heavy conditions and enters the race fresher than most, following a successful chase debut at Leopardstown over 2m5f two months ago.

He has the potential to build on that victory and if he adjusts well to the new trip, he is certainly not out of this and holds presents promising possibilities.

INOTHEWAYURTHINKIN – GAVIN CROMWELL & MARK WALSH

Flourishes on this type of ground and delivered a remarkable performance in the Kim Muir at Cheltenham over 3m2f, defying his handicap mark with ease.

With a new rating placing him at the top of the field, Inothewayurthinkin commands attention as a strong contender and he could well prove the one that the rest have to beat.

IROKO – OLIVER GREENALL/JOSH GUERRIERO & JONJO O’NEILL JR

Prefers softer ground and displayed promise with a facile victory at Warwick in November before succumbing to injury.

Although unable to contend in the Turners at Cheltenham over 2m4f upon his return, he still holds potential for improvement, especially considering his commendable performance over 3m in the Sefton on this card last year.

Returning to a longer trip makes him an intriguing prospect.

Key Trends

  • The past 10 winners finished 1st or 2nd at the Cheltenham Festival
  • 5 of the past 10 winners contested the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase
  • 3 of the past 6 winners were trained by Nicky Henderson
  • 27 of the past 33 winners had won over 2m7f+
  • 21 of the past 23 winners had run at least 4 times over fences (12 of them 5+)
  • The past 21 winners returned at 13-2 or shorter (13 of them 3-1 or shorter)

Mildmay Novices Chase Tips

This race promises to be an intriguing showdown between Cheltenham Festival handicap champions Inothewayurthinkin (considered second choice) and Chianti Classico as they elevate their game to a higher grade.

Additionally, IROKO (narrowly favoured) presents an intriguing case with his return to a longer trip, showcasing continued promise over fences.

With a proven track record of progression, IROKO is expected to improve upon his performance in the Turners.

While the competition is formidable, none of the other competitors can be easily dismissed.

TRUSTATRADER TOP NOVICES HURDLE – 2:55PM

Tip: Dysart Enos

When the ground is good, the Top Novices’ Hurdle can be a real speed test.

Handed Grade 1 status in 2016, this race often offers up another chance of spring festival glory to those who ran well in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.

Nicky Henderson boasts a fine recent record in the race and his dual Champion Hurdle winner Buveur d’Air won the first running of the race as a Grade 1, some eight years ago.

Look for a high-class novice who possesses plenty of natural pace.

Past Winners

Below are the confirmed runners for The Trustatrader Novices’ Hurdle with some recent form notes to help point you in the right direction of identifying the winner.

FIREFOX – GORDON ELLIOTT & JACK KENNEDY

Excels on soft ground, holds the prestigious title of being the sole horse to outshine the promising Ballyburn.

Despite encountering trouble, the recent third-place finish in the Supreme, just behind Mystical Power, warrants recognition.

Elevating the bare form is essential, making Firefox one of the prominent contenders.

LOOKAWAY – NEIL KING & JACK QUINLAN

Performs well on soft ground, although he faltered in the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury two months ago.

Yet, his consistency throughout the season suggests a potential positive run, especially with the introduction of first-time cheek-pieces.

He did win at this meeting two years ago and with formidable Greatwood form from last autumn, Lookaway remains an intriguing contender.

LUMP SUM – SAM THOMAS & SAM TWISTON-DAVIES

Acts on any going and gained useful Grade 2 form the last twice, finishing second at Doncaster then going one better in clearcut fashion at Kempton, both over 2m.

He faces a stiffer assignment upped again in class but he is improving and comes here fresher than most having bypassed Cheltenham.

This small yard does well with its limited amount of runners, so may well be best watched.

MISTERGIF – WILLIE MULLINS & PAUL TOWNEND

An ex-French 5yo who opened his account at Limerick (2m, heavy) on debut for Willie Mullins.

He finished behind Mystical Power and Firefox when fifth in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham since but shaped as if this much sharper track will suit, having faded and lost two places towards the finish.

He is still unexposed and remains of some interest.

MYSTICAL POWER – WILLIE MULLINS & MARK WALSH

Hails from distinguished lineage with Galileo as sire and Annie Power as his dam and made an impactful debut, securing a clear second in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham.

Despite succumbing to the late surge of the winner Ballyburn.

Mystical Power retains his headgear and asserts strong claims to go one better this time around.

PERSONAL AMBITION – BEN PAULING & KIELAN WOODS

Thrives on soft ground and recently seized Grade 2 glory at Kelso, extending his hurdles record to three wins from just four starts.

However, the narrow margin of victory and workman-like performance hint at the amount of further improvement needed here.

Personal Ambition faces a substantial test against this much tougher competition.

Key Trends

  • 13 of the past 24 winners ran in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle (9 of them finished in the first 4)
  • The Supreme Novices’ Hurdle runner-up is 6-7 in the past 24 renewals
  • 6 of the past 13 winners were trained by Nicky Henderson
  • 21 of the past 24 winners were aged 5 or 6
  • 20 of the past 26 winners were sent off at single figures

Trustatrader Top Novices Hurdle Tips

In summary, this year’s Supreme Novices’ Hurdle fell well below expectations, yet it doesn’t discount the potential for Mystical Power, Firefox, and Mistergif to exceed previous ratings.

Their anticipated rematch adds a significant element to this race, paralleled by the rematch between the formidable mares, Dysart Enos and Golden Ace.

This presents an opportunity for DYSART ENOS to elevate her hurdles rating significantly, thus she receives the nomination to win.

Mystical Power follows closely, as his performance at Cheltenham indicates a preference for the sharper 2-mile distance, suggesting an ideal fit for this particular event, but it may come too soon.

MY PENSION EXPERT MELLING CHASE – 3:30PM

Tip: Pic D’Orhy

Before the inception of the Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham, the Melling Chase stood as the lone Grade 1 steeplechase over a middle distance at any of the spring festivals.

It was common to witness two-mile specialists extend their range to compete against stayers in this prestigious event, renowned for its illustrious history and distinguished Roll of Honour.

Past champions include esteemed names such as Remittance Man, Deep Sensation, Monet’s Garden, Master Minded, Finian’s Rainbow, and Don Cossack, each contributing to the race’s legacy.

Notably, Sprinter Sacre delivered a remarkable performance a decade ago, dominating a field of high-calibre competitors in a display of exceptional talent.

Viking Flagship stands as the inaugural member of an elite group of six dual winners of the race, followed by Direct Route, Native Upmanship, Moscow Flyer, Voy Por Ustedes, and more recently, Fakir D’oudairies.

It’s prudent to hold in high regard any horse with Grade 1 success over this distance and those demonstrating winning or placed form from previous Grand National meetings.

Past Winners

Below are the confirmed runners for The My Pension Expert Melling Chase with some recent form notes to help point you in the right direction of identifying the winner.

CONFLATED – GORDON ELLIOTT & JACK KENNEDY

Versatile in terms of ground preference, Conflated secured dual Grade 1 victories over 3 miles in 2022.

His recent performance in the Ryanair, when finishing third behind Protektorat and Envoi Allen over 2 miles 4 furlongs, showcased promise.

However, his chances of reversing those placings hinge on how effectively he responds to the addition of first-time cheek-pieces.

EASY GAME – WILLIE MULLINS & PAUL TOWNEND

Adaptable to most ground conditions, Easy Game has been absent from any form of competition since clinching Grade 2 honors at Gowran Park (2 miles 4 furlongs) last September.

While boasting a respectable win rate, including when returning from long breaks, his Grade 1 record lacks consistency.

He would be one for the notebook here as he needs to reaffirm his prowess at the very top level.

ENVOI ALLEN – HENRY DE BROMHEAD & RACHAEL BLACKMORE

Comfortable on any ground surface, Envoi Allen delivered a credible performance at Cheltenham, albeit finishing just 4 lengths behind Protektorat in the Ryanair.

Despite being a ten-year-old, he retains all of his ability.

However, it is worth remembering that it has been 19 years since a veteran claimed victory in this event.

JONBON – NICKY HENDERSON & NICO DE BOINVILLE

Flexible to varying ground conditions, Jonbon has been a dominant force in the 2-mile division, securing Grade 1 victories in both hurdles and chases at this meeting for the past two years.

Despite a disappointing performance at the Cheltenham prior to the Festival due to jumping errors.

He ended up missing the Champion Chase due to the poor form of the yard, but he remains a strong contender if in peak form.

Additionally, his pedigree suggests potential for success at the new trip.

MINELLA DRAMA – DONALD MCCAIN & BRIAN HUGHES

While achieving a creditable third place in this race last year, Minella Drama’s chances of repeating that feat in this competitive renewal are uncertain.

His recent performance, finishing second in the Old Roan on reappearance, may have been flattering due to omitted fences.

Furthermore, he hasn’t displayed the same level of form since last year and comes in to the race sitting at the bottom in terms of ratings.

PIC D’ORHY – PAUL NICHOLLS & HARRY COBDEN

A consistent performer over approximately 2 miles 4 furlongs, Pic D’Orhy boasts an impressive form line of 11121121 since the start of last season.

His recent victory in the Grade 1 Ascot Chase and previous success in this contest highlight his proficiency over this course and distance.

Returning here commands respect, particularly after denying Fakir D’oudairies a third consecutive win in this race last year.

PROTEKTORAT – DAN SKELTON & HARRY SKELTON

With a Grade 1 triumph over 2 miles 4 furlongs at this meeting three years ago, Protektorat has predominantly campaigned over longer distances.

However, his convincing victory in the Ryanair at Cheltenham, where he comfortably beat Envoi Allen by 4 lengths, suggests he is well-suited to the drop back in trip.

Unexposed at this distance in open company, Protektorat has to be considered a leading contender.

Key Trends

  • 24 of the 32 winners had won or placed at the Grand National meeting previously
  • 15 of the past 17 winners had contested either the QMCC (8) or Ryanair (7)
  • Both QMCC winners to have run in the past 14 years have won
  • 20 of the 32 winners contested the QMCC on their previous start
  • 18 of the 23 winners this century returned at 5-1 or shorter
  • 16 of the past 17 winners were aged 7-9

Melling Chase Tips

Jonbon holds the prime opportunity, contingent upon a return to sharper jumping form and successfully translating his peak 2-mile performance to this extended trip.

While Ryanair victor Protektorat stands as a prominent contender, PIC D’ORHY emerges as a fresher option, having once more skipped Cheltenham, thus earning a slight preference.

With a commendable track record in this division, the chosen horse presents strong credentials in pursuit of a second triumph in this event.

TOPHAM HANDICAP CHASE (Grade 3) (Class 1) – 4:05PM

Tip: Bill Baxter

Danger: Kandoo Kid

The Topham Chase which is a Premier Handicap is open to runners aged five or older and is run over a trip of two miles and five furlongs.

The runners will race a total of eighteen fences during the race. In April 2012 the race was won for the third consecutive year by Always Waining, trained by Peter Bowen and ridden by Tom O’Brien.

It is always highly competitive and usually gives a guide as to how many runners will make it home in the Grand National the following day.

Willie Mullins, Nicky Henderson and Peter Bowen are the trainers to follow here as they have all won the race on multiple occasions.

Past Winners

Below are the confirmed runners for The Sefton Novices’ Chase with some recent form notes to help point you in the right direction of identifying the winner.

CLASSIC GETAWAY – WILLIE MULLINS & PADDY MULLINS

Despite a listed chase victory and a Grade 3 second, Classic Getaway has faltered in recent outings.

With previous mistakes and a challenging distance last time out, he faces an uphill battle against a competitive field.

JAMES DU BERLAIS – WILLIE MULLINS & PAUL TOWNEND

Despite a recent setback at Cheltenham where he failed to live up to his revised handicap mark, James Du Berlais’ Irish form this winter makes him a worthy each-way consideration.

He is dropped a pound in the ratings here, but will just be playing for a place.

SHAKEMUP’ARRY – BEN PAULING & BEN JONES

Showing impressive form with recent victories at Cheltenham in the Trustatrader Plate, Shakem Up’arry enters this race as a leading contender.

With a commendable rise in weight, he remains a strong contender and ran well at this meeting last season.

EMPIRE STEEL – SANDY THOMPSON & RYAN MANIA

Following a successful operation, Empire Steel secured victory at Kelso last time out.

However, facing stronger competition away from his preferred course poses a challenge to his winning run and he may well struggle as a result.

FANTASTIC LADY – NICKY HENDERSON & NICO DE BOINVILLE

Despite a disappointing performance at Doncaster, Fantastic Lady demonstrated resilience with a solid finish in last year’s race and a commendable fifth-place in the Grand Sefton Chase.

With the potential for improvement and with the yard back amongst the winners, she remains an interesting contender.

EMBITTERED – GORDON ELLIOTT & SAM EWING

Despite a promising victory at Navan earlier in the season, Embittered has struggled to replicate that form in subsequent races, including a disappointing outing at the Cheltenham Festival.

He must elevate his performance to contend in this field and find at least sixteen lengths with Shakemup’Arry based on their recent clash.

RICHMOND LAKE – DONALD MCCAIN & THEO GILLARD

Despite his previous successes, Richmond Lake’s recent form has been inconsistent.

It requires a leap of faith in order to see him return to his previous winning form as he faces one of the most competitive fields he has ever tackled.

FLEGMATIK – DAN SKELTON & HARRY SKELTON

With recent victories at Kempton, Flegmatik enters his first Aintree race with a promising record.

While his prowess at Kempton is notable, his consistent performance across various courses suggests he holds each-way potential, especially on this flatter track.

KANDOO KID – PAUL NICHOLLS & HARRY COBDEN

Following a strong finish in a Newbury handicap, Kandoo Kid enters this race in decent form.

With potential for improvement and a lenient weight rise, he remains firmly in contention for the Champion Trainer.

AIME DESJY – WILLIE MULLINS & DANNY MULLINS

This relatively untested 9-year-old has shown glimpses of potential for his top yard, yet he needs a notable improvement from his current rating.

Furthermore, his lack of experience in jumping and chasing may hinder his chances here in such a competitive field.

LIFE IN THE PARK – HENRY DE BROMHEAD & RACHAEL BLACKMORE

Showing signs of improvement with a strong finish in the Plate at Cheltenham, Life In The Park holds each-way potential under Rachael Blackmore.

He is still only lightly raced and can only improve with experience. His trainer often knows the time of day with his handicappers and this one might go well again.

QUEL DESTIN – PAUL NICHOLLS & BRYONY FROST

Despite previous victories, Quel Destin’s recent form at Chepstow has sparked concerns as he was beaten 46l.

With such a challenging field including the biggest amount of opposition he has ever lined up against, he faces an uphill battle to be competitive here.

CELEBRE D’ALLEN – PHILLIP HOBBS/JOHNSON WHITE & MICHEAL NOLAN

Despite a disappointing performance at Cheltenham in the Kim Muir, Celebre D’Allen’s previous endeavours over these fences and notable finish in last year’s race demonstrate his each way potential.

With a standout victory on the Mildmay course here earlier in the season, he remains an intriguing prospect, despite unseating his rider last time out.

YOUR DARLING – BEN PAULING & KIELAN WOODS

Despite inconsistent performances, Your Darling’s previous victory at Ascot demonstrates his potential on a flat track.

With a slight weight rise, he remains a contender as he comes here relatively fresh off a near six-month break.

No surprise to see him confirm form with Flegmatik who he beat fair and square when last seen out.

ARIZONA CARDINAL – STUART EDMUNDS & CIARAN GETHINGS

Enjoying a successful run with victories at Leicester and Ludlow, Arizona Cardinal now faces a stiffer challenge in much tougher company.

Despite a considerable increase in the weights and a more competitive field, his trainer’s commendable form in 2024 makes him a live each way contender all the same.

SHANTREUSSE – HENRY DE BROMHEAD & DARRAGH O’KEEFE

Despite a recent runner-up finish at Naas, Shantreusse’s overall form over fences has been lacking.

With limited potential for improvement, he remains a speculative choice as he has not won any race in the last two years.

THE EDGAR WALLACE – KIM BAILEY & DAVID BASS

Despite recent close finishes, The Edgar Wallace faces tougher competition in this much deeper race.

He has been a model of consistency this season and with the potential for improvement, he remains a contender for minor prize money.

GOOD BOY BOBBY – NIGEL TWISTON-DAVIES & SAM TWISTON-DAVIES

Despite past victories, Good Boy Bobby’s form has been inconsistent this year.

Requiring a return to his previous winning form, he faces another formidable field. In his last three races he has been beaten a combined sixty lengths.

He may well find himself beaten by that very margin here.

BILL BAXTER – WARREN GREATREX & JAMES BOWEN

After a triumphant campaign last year, Bill Baxter has struggled to find form this season.

However, with a similar mark to his winning rating from 2023 and the introduction of first-time cheek pieces, he could reignite his spark in what is now familiar territory.

He is only one pound higher in the ratings this time around and although in poor form, it would be foolish to write him off if this has been the aim all year.

FRANCKY DU BERLAIS – PETER BOWEN & ROBERT DUNNE

Has endure mixed results over these fences and a lacklustre performance at Kempton, Francky Du Berlais has shown promise in cross-country races at Cheltenham more recently.

With a successful yard history though, he remains of interest. His two most recent races here haven’t gone to plan though and he may be best avoided.

GRANDADS COTTAGE – OLLY MURPHY & SEAN BOWEN

Despite a successful campaign at Leicester, Grandads Cottage faces tougher competition in this much higher grade.

He has run well at this track in the past and will enjoy the underfoot conditions. No surprise to see him run well for a long way.

FRERO BANBOU – VENETIA WILLIAMS & CHARLIE DEUTSCH

Has endured his fair share of recent disappointments, but Frero Banbou’s strong performance in the Plate at Cheltenham and advantageous mark make him a compelling each-way prospect in this wide-open handicap.

His trainer places her horses so well especially on this ground and it would be foolish to dismiss him completely as he was placed in the Grand Sefton Chase here earlier in the season.

CIEL DE NEIGE – BEN HASLAM & RICHIE MCCLERNON

While previously unseating in this event, Ciel De Neige enters this year’s race with a significantly lower weight.

However, his recent performances since joining this new yard have been underwhelming, raising doubts about his chances this time around.

KILLER KANE – JOE TIZZARD & BRENDAN POWELL

Did well to finish third previously in this event, Killer Kane’s recent form has been inconsistent though.

He is now facing a more competitive field, he faces stiff competition and time is not on his side. One to avoid.

Key Trends

  • 7 of the previous 10 winners were aged between 7 and 10
  • No favourite or joint favourite has won this in the last 11 attempts
  • Only one of the last 11 winners of the race won on their previous start
  • 6 of the past 11 winners had already gained experience around the track
  • 8 of the previous winners had at least 13 chase runs coming into this race

Topham Chase Tips

BILL BAXTER is only one pound higher than when taking this race last year and again he looks to have been purposefully targeted back here by his shrewd trainer Warren Greatrex.

He has absolutely no issues with the course, distance or large fields, so he should be able to make a bold bid to retain his crown.

Kandoo Kid rates as a live danger with his Newbury form having received a firm boost.

Shakemup’Arry may well struggle to repeat his Cheltenham heroics as this course is far more demanding.

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