Grand National Festival: ones to watch on day two at Aintree

Fakir D'Oudairies ridden by JJ Slevin on their way to victory at Cheltenham Racecourse

Fakir D'Oudairies ridden by JJ Slevin on their way to victory in the JCB Triumph Trial Juvenile Hurdle during Festival Trials Day at Cheltenham Racecourse - Credit: PA

The second day of the Randox Health Grand National Festival takes centre-stage on Friday with four Grade One events across the card.

A host of established names are set to be in action, with an eye for the future also evident and some interesting novice events.

The highlight of Friday’s action is the £187,000 Grade One Marsh Chase. The betting for the two and a quarter-mile event is jointly headed by Fakir D’oudairies (11/4) and Politologue (11/4).

Fakir D’oudairies has run two fine races in defeat this term, including when second in the Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham Festival last time out.

Politologue is a former winner of this event and has to be of interest coming into the race fresh, having been withdrawn from the Champion Chase last time out.

Dashel Drasher had Master Tommytucker behind him in the Ascot Chase last time out, but would arguably prefer better ground, whilst Notebook needs to improve based on his efforts this term.

Cheltenham Festival hero Chantry House is the leading name in the Betway Mildmay Novices’ Chase at 2.50pm.

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Trained by Nicky Henderson, the seven-year-old was a smooth winner of the Marsh Chase last time out and looks capable of completing the Cheltenham-Aintree double.

The list of dangers are headed by Colin Tizzard’s classy duo Fiddlerontheroof and The Big Breakaway who were second and third in the Festival Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham. They have already shown their class over this trip and are leading players.

Shan Blue is a Grade One winner this term, but needs to bounce back from a below par effort at Cheltenham last time, as does fellow Grade One scorer Sporting John who fell at the Festival on his latest start.

Empire Steel is progressing with every run and comes into this race fresh, whilst silver hallmark and Espoir De Romay complete the eight runners, but come into the event on the back of smart victories.

Another Grade One event is the Betway Top Novices’ Hurdle (2.20pm) in which Dusart bids to live up to his lofty reputation.

He beat a subsequent Graded scorer when winning at Newbury on his debut, but has been off the track since through injury. However, he looks sure to be suited by quicker ground conditions here.

For Pleasure was an excellent third in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham and is a danger if getting loose on the front end along with Belfast Banter who had Third Time Lucki in behind when landing the County Hurdle on his latest start.

Ajero is progressing with every run and comes into the race on the back of four straight wins. He is considered along with Houx Gris who shaped well when fourth in the Fred Winter at Cheltenham last time out.

The other Grade One race of the day is the Sefton Novices’ Hurdle in which Bravemansgame looks of interest judged on his creditable third at the Cheltenham Festival on his latest start.

Friday Aintree selections

1.45pm Wilde About Oscar 9/2

2.20pm Dusart 9/4f

2.50pm Chantry House 13/8f

3.25pm Fakir D’oudairies 11/4f

4.05pm Huntsman Son 18/1

4.40pm Bravemansgame 15/8

5.15pm Goobinator 14/1

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