With this year’s scintillating BoyleSports Irish Grand National in the books, attention now turns to Aintree and Saturday’s big one: the 2023 Randox Grand National.
If the spectacle of the most famous horse race in the world was not enough, the coming three days in Liverpool will also see some big-names turning out.
Before we turn our attention to the National later in the week then, who is set to star across the 21 races from Thursday?
Here at BestofBets, we’ve again been tirelessly studying the form and have come up with another Festival four.
Scriptwriter (Jewson Anniversary 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle, Thursday, 14:20, 2m1f)
For our first trick, we are more than a little torn over in the Jewson, but whilst Zenta is a big pull, Willie Mullins’ ride remains something of an uncertainty.
At a bigger price, it is Scriptwriter that gets the nod.
Being pulled out of the Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham, it was a very game Zenta who then pushed Paul Townend and Lossiemouth for third spot.
Now however, could be the time for Scriptwriter to leap back into the headlines.
Having lost to Comfort Zone on Trials weekend in prep for that particular Festival, this will be the first outing for Milton Harris’ ride since flopping at Kempton in February.
Make make no mistake though, this gelding can still go.
Indeed, his triple success at Sedgefield, Cheltenham and Wolverhampton earlier this season shouldn’t be forgotten.
Scriptwriter’s favoured trip is clearly over this distance and at 17/2 with William Hill, he could be a punter pleaser.
Constitution Hill (William Hill Aintree Hurdle, Thursday, 3:30, 2m4f)
Whilst speculation continues to mount that a switch to the flat could be in the offing, for the meantime, we all get the see the wonder that is Constitution Hill for one final time this season over the jumps.
By now, this majestic 6yo has become as sure a thing as ice turning into water and Chelsea signing a player to a seven-year deal.
Unbeaten in six races under rules, the last time we saw Constitution Hill was when he failed to win a race by at least 10 lengths for the first time.
A sixth win on the bounce and a second win at Cheltenham in the Champion Hurdle further cemented his growing reputation as a potential legend of the sport.
In his eighth career outing here, Nicky Henderson hands Constitution Hill an Aintree debut against defending champion Epatante – having beaten the daughter of No Risk At All twice already this term.
From a betting point of view, however, Nico De Boinville will jump on board at probably the shortest price in his racing career.
A best of 1/6 with BoyleSports, do with that what you will.
Fugitif (Marsh Chase, Friday, 15:30, 2m4f)
Focus then moves to Friday’s Marsh Chase and after three successive runners-up finishes at Cheltenham, Fugitif ticks our Aintree betslip.
Second to Seddon in the Magners Plate at 11/1, the 8yo was again the bridesmaid on Trials weekend to Il Ridoto.
The victor at Chepstow over Christmas however, the French gelding has now given trainer Richard Jobson four wins.
This season has been stellar for Fugitif, so could he cap it off in style?
Eighth on his last visit to Aintree in the Red Rum Handicap Chase 12 months ago over the same distance, having travelled well all term, Fugitif, at an 8/1 shot with BetUK looks set to impress.
Tahmuras (Turners Mersey Novices’ Hurdle, Saturday, 15:00, 2m4f)
Whilst the majority of Saturday’s eyes will be on the National, the three races prior to the biggie are set to form the perfect matinee entertainment.
In the Turners’ Mersey Hurdle Tahmuras may have just slid off punters’ radars.
Coming home 10th in the SkyBet Supreme having attracted a lot of attention in the build-up, last month was not the day for Paul Nicholls and the son of Falco.
However, having won five of his other six races, the 6yo should be looked at here.
With perhaps the hottest National Hunt jockey in Harry Cobden returning for his mount, the duo won on their last trip to Merseyside last November.
That, was then swiftly followed by a fairly comfortable win in the Tolworth at the beginning of the year.
With a cautionary note this is his first outing over the longer trip since a debut win in May 2021, Tahmuras should be screaming his intentions loudly to Aintree punters.