Grand National Festival Day 1 Betting Tips

Betting.org experts give their three best bets for the supporting card on day one of the Grand National Festival at Aintree on Thursday, April 4. Minella Melody looked a hugely exciting prospect when making a winning debut under Rules for Irish trainer Henry De Bromhead, so rates the standout bet in the Grade 2 mares’ bumper over 2m. Kruzhlinin has been in fine form between the flags and is our next best punt in the 2m 5f Foxhunters’ Chase run over the Grand National fences. Forest Bihan, meanwhile, looks weighted to go well under Brian Hughes in the 2m Red Rum Handicap Chase following a fine effort last time out, so appeals each-way. Find out more about these horses in our our in-depth Grand National Festival day 1 betting tips preview.

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Odds
9/2
NAP
Minella Melody
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Odds
8/1
NB
Kruzhlinin
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Odds
14/1
E/W
Forest Bihan
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Minella Melody taken to call the tune in Mares’ Bumper

Minella Melody could not have been more impressive when making a winning debut under Rules, so is strongly fancied to take the step up into Grade 2 company in her stride and follow-up in the 2m Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat Race at Aintree on Thursday (17:15).

This five-year-old joined leading Irish trainer Henry De Bromhead after running out an easy 10-length winner of a point at Boulta back in December.

Rumours were rife that she had been working in the style of something special ahead of her first start for her new handler in a 12-runner bumper at Gowran Park, and she was punted as if defeat was out of the question when sent off the 9/10 favourite. Her supporters never had an anxious moment as she turned the race into a procession.

Impressive debut under Rules

After racing in mid-division and taking a keen hold early doors, this daughter of Flemensfirth made stealthy headway on the outside under a confident Patrick Mullins to take up the running three furlongs out. Minella Melody then cruised clear from the two marker and stayed on strongly to slam Miss Pernickity by 10 lengths.

She won doing cartwheels and, although what she beat was questionable ,it was visually a stunning display which marked her out as an extremely exciting prospect who needed keeping firmly onside. The way in which Minella Melody travelled and went through the gears so effortlessly suggested she had a huge engine. She thus looks well worth a crack at this level.

So, with Mullins once again in the saddle, and underfoot conditions ideal, Minella Melody is fully expected to take this en route to better things. That’s why we had no hesitation in making her the standout punt in these Grand National Festival day 1 betting tips.

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Kruzhlinin value for Foxhunters

In the 2m 5f Randox Health Foxhunters’ Open Hunters’ Chase run over the Grand National fences (16:05), Irish trainer Gordon Elliott saddles two leading contenders in the shape of Kruzhlinin and Ucello Conti. Preference is for the former who has been in superb form between the flags and has run well at the track before.

This 12-year-old ran well when in the 2014 Grand National when 10th of 40 to Pineau De Re and in the care of Donald McCain. He also posted a solid effort when a 15 1/2 lengths seventh of 25 to Oscar Time over the unique spruce fences in the Becher Chase that year.

The son of Sholokhov then joined Philips Hobbs and made a winning start for his new handler when landing a competitive class 2 contest at Kempton by five lengths form La Rev. He also ran well when fifth of 23 in the Ultima Handicap Chase at the 2016 Cheltenham Festival, before going on to land a valuable Grade 3 handicap hurdle contest at Haydock.

Since joining Elliott in November of last year, Kruzhlinin has won seven of his eight starts in Irish points by an aggregate of just under 12 lengths. His sole defeat came at Down Royal when a 7 1/2 lengths third to the highly-regarded Stand Up And Fight.

Kruzhlinin clearly retains plenty of enthusiasm for the game and comes into the contest in rude health. He is also three form four under jockey Barry O’Neill, so everything looks in place for a big run. Hence, at the odds on offer, he looks better value than his stable companion and thus rates our next best bet in these tips for the opening day of the Aintree Grand National Festival.

Forest Bihan an each-way play under Hughes in Red Rum

Forest Bihan ran a cracker last time out; so, now reunited with Brian Hughes, makes plenty of each-way appeal in the Red Rum Handicap Chase (16:00).

Trained by the shrewd Brian Ellison, this eight year old is a tough and consistent sort who has won four times and been placed on four occasions in 12 starts over the larger obstacles.

He was a very smart novice in 2017 when winning three times and also posted some really useful efforts in defeat. They include when a 2 1/4 lengths second to Waiting patiently at Newcastle and a cracking head runner-up to San Benedeto in a Grade 1 at this meeting when denied in the final strides.

Forest Bihan also produced a smart performance when giving 3lb and 1 3/4 lengths beating to Simply Ned at Kelso in October 2017 off a mark of 154. He is now able to race off 1lb lower, having finished a fine fourth of 19 to Croco Bay in the Grand Annual at last month’s Cheltenham Festival.

Bad luck in-running at Cheltenham

After tracking the leaders, the son of Forestier found himself short of room three from home and was then denied a clear run when trying to make a move two out. Forest Bihan then briefly went third on the run-in, before weakening late on to be beaten five lengths.

It was an excellent run given how the race panned out, and he now meets the third home Brelan D’As on 2lb better terms. He also has several re-opposing rivals in-behind and there is no reason why he should not confirm the form with them.

Forest Bihan is able to race in this off an unchanged mark of 153, so that gives him every chance from a handicapping perspective. The booking of Hughes to do the steering is another positive, as that jockey has won twice and been placed once in four rides on him.

Everything looks in place for a bold bid; so, at the odds on offer, Forest Bihan features as the each-way punt and thus completes these Aintree Grand National Festival day 1 betting tips.

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