Angus McNae
Angus McNae's Racing UK Blog
Saturday 11th April 2015

Racing UK

Salute the Lieutenant and First Lady in the National

I think it is going to be an historic day at Aintree on Saturday. Of course it will be amazing if AP McCoy can do it on Shutthefrontdoor, but if he is not going to win it there would be no more memorable moment if Nina Carberry could become the first wady to win the Grand National on First Lieutenant. For me, sorry AP, the latter is more likely than the former.

First Lieutenant
© Caroline Norris
First Lieutenant

First Lieutenant races off a mark of 154 and will love the drying ground. He jumps well and according to his trainer Mouse Morris will stay forever. The other plus is, Carberry as she is far from just a passenger on any horse. Her Fox Hunters’ win on Thursday over the famous fences displayed a great maturity of thought and pace judgement. Yes, she was on the best horse in the form of On The Fringe but, believe me, lesser jockeys than her would have made it look a whole lot harder.

Let's not forget that First Lieutenant has class in abundance as well. His CV boasts a win in the Betfred Bowl at Aintree, and a second-place finish in the RSA Chase and Ryanair Chase. In short, he possesses a lot more ability than many of his rivals and has a perfect partner in Nina Carberry.

He should be backed each-way in the expectation of a really big run.

Grand National Betting Advice
Mathematician Betting

The reason I believe this is more likely to be the big story of the day rather than a win for AP can be succinctly found in the prevailing conditions.

I believe that Shutthefrontdoor wants soft ground, and he looks most unlikely to get it. He hits the ground hard and all his best performances have come with plenty of give in the ground. He clearly has an outstanding form chance and has been targeted at the race, but I can see him being outpaced and, as a consequence, making mistakes.

This might not be a popular view, as everybody wants AP to do it, and so do I, but unless the heavens open or Aintree turn the taps on too much I believe that fairytale ending is unlikely.

My other selection on the day is Port Melon in the Grade One Mersey Novices’ Hurdle. He should also be backed each-way. I think this horse has loads of latent talent. He couldn't have idled anymore than he did when winning last time at Taunton, and the runner-up, Go Odee Go, who he beat by easily, has won since. On decent ground he is sure to travel well and a fast gallop may bring the best out in him. He is clearly a little tricky, but such types are often the most talented and he has already shown a decent level of form.

The mount of AP McCoy, Parlour Games, will be strongly fancied, but Port Melon was only six lengths behind him at Cheltenham earlier this season and that was on ground Port Melon would not have liked. I think my selection can run well and possibly cause a shock.

Enjoy all of Crabbie's Grand National Day here on Racing UK.

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Angus McNae's Grand National day tips:

1.30 Aintree: Port Melon each-way at 25-1 generally available

Crabbie's Grand National: First Lieutenant each-way at 22-1 with bet365 and SkyBet