Aintree Thursday ITV Racing Tips: Best bets for day one of the Grand National Festival

The Betway Bowl is one of five races from Aintree being shown live on ITV and we've a tip for each.

We've listed our five selections below, with the reasons behind them further down the page, while Planet Sport's Racing Live Centre is where you'll find the highly informative Aintree race card.


Inca Prince each-way (14.20 Aintree)

Protektorat (14.55 Aintree)

Monmiral (15.30 Aintree)

Myth Buster each-way (16.05 Aintree)

Bold Enough / The Last Day (16.40 Aintree)

14.20 Aintree - Inca Prince each-way

If Pied Piper runs up to the form of his Triumph Hurdle third behind Vauban, whom he had beaten on heavy ground earlier in the season, he's going to take all the beating.

However, it remains to be seen how much his Cheltenham exertions just 20 days ago have taken out of him and when you factor in the stable form - his trainer Gordon Elliot has struggled for winners since Cheltenham, with just one to show one his last 24 runners - he makes little appeal at the current odds-on.

Fred Winter winner Brazil was all out to beat the green as grass Gaelic Warrior at Prestbury Park, showing a fine attitude under joint top weight it has to be said, but it's no given he will reproduce that effort here for the same reasons.

In the hope that one or both of the front pair run below expectations, it could be worth chancing one at a big price each-way and Ruth Jefferson's Inca Prince is no forlorn hope in that respect.

He does take a strong pull and that contributed to his defeat when attempting a hat-trick at Musselburgh in early February, but he bounced back from that to score at the same track last month, winning that handicap in easy fashion and in a comparatively good time to other races over the trip.

A sharpish track and decent ground (tick and tick) clearly suit him well and Jamie Hamilton gets on well with him, having been on board for all three of his wins over hurdles this season.

14.55 Aintree - Protektorat

Last year's runaway winner Clan Des Obeaux is back to defend his crown (form figures of 321 in the race) and he's fresher than most of these having skipped Cheltenham, but he has proved disappointing the last twice and connections are now trying him in blinkers for the first time.

At around the same price, preference is for Dan Skelton's Protektorat, who is coming off a fine third in the Cheltenham Gold Cup - he might have been second but for making a hash of the last - and is 2-2 at the track.

The winner of the Grade 1 novices' chase on this card 12 months ago, he couldn't have been more impressive when scoring as he liked on his last visit here in December, when clearly relishing the step up to today's trip of 3m, and his trainer reports him to have come out of Cheltenham well.

Conflated might have finished second in the Ryanair but for crashing out two from home (staying on at the time) and this is more his trip, but as already mentioned his stable isn't exactly firing on all cylinders, while the 2019 winner Kemboy was disappointing last time and may not be the force of old.

Ryanair third Eldorado Allen was a striking winner over 3m at Newbury in February, when beating the re-opposing Royale Pagaille, and he may well be the one to give the selection most to do. He's worth a saver.

15.30 Aintree - Monmiral

Epatante looked back to her best when chasing home Honeysuckle at Cheltenham last month but she had just a length to spare over Zanahiyr at the line, and that horse might be able to turn the tables over today's extra half mile.

Indeed, Gordon Elliott's five-year-old gives the impression he is crying out for more of a stamina test and with no guaranteed pace in the contest, it wouldn't surprise to see Jack Kennedy try to make all on him.

If only his stable was in better form he'd be the selection, for all he's a stingy price at around the 2/1 mark, and for that reason we'll throw a few quid instead on relative outsider Monmiral, one of two Paul Nicholls runners and the preferred choice of Harry Cobden over stablemate McFabulous.

The five-year-old went unbeaten during his novice campaign last season, culminating in a hugely impressive defeat of Adagio at last year's meeting here, and he was clearly in need of the run when finishing a tired fourth at Fontwell in February, having picked up a nasty injury on his seasonal reappearance at Newcastle in November.

That will have set him up nicely for this and while he needs to improve on official ratings, that's entirely possible now stepping up to a trip that promises to suit him well.

Monmiral masters Aintree rivals to stay unbeaten as a novice

16.05 Aintree - Myth Buster each-way

Last year's second and third, Latenightpass and Cat Tiger, lock horns again, and they are predictably amongst the market leaders for this hunters' chase, along with the Sam Waley-Cohen ridden Jett, who is the best of these on official ratings but might be best in smaller fields.

Porlock Bay, the winner of last year's Cheltenham St James's Place Hunters' Chase, is another to consider, although he missed out on defending his crown for some reason and that has to be a slight concern.

All four of those horses look beatable, however, and we're happy to swerve them at single-figure odds, with the selection going to Myth Buster, who will crucially perhaps have the assistance of crack Irish amateur Patrick Mullins.

While the nine-year-old does have a bit to prove on this season's efforts, he was a useful chaser at up to 3m in Ireland for Henry de Bromhead and managed to get his head in front when winning one of these at Musselburgh in February on good ground.

All that gives him an each-way squeak to small stakes.

16.40 Aintree - Bold Enough / The Last Day (split stakes)

This 2m handicap chase run over the Grand National fences is a far more appealing betting medium, although not many of the 17 runners can be ruled out with any great confidence.

Likely favourite Frero Banbou was heavily punted before the off for last month's Grand Annual, in which he finished third despite getting detached early on and then clouting the last when coming with a strong challenge.

A more positive ride this time around would help his chances but he keeps going up the weights for not winning and could also do with some rain falling, if only to slow the others down a bit.

King D'Argent might have won at Doncaster last time out had he been a little more fluent in the home straight and he's no doubt on a winnable mark of 139, but a couple of these appeal more at bigger odds.

Henry de Bromhead's Bold Enough finished third in a 2m handicap hurdle here 12 months ago and, having made an impeccable start to his chasing career, he has been running okay in some Grade 3 novice contests and should be a lot sharper for last month's run at Gowran Park after a break of 150 days.

Evan Willams' The Last Day has been sparingly raced for a ten-year-old, having raced just four times since winning a handicap chase over this track and trip in November 2019 (jumped well) off a 2lb lower mark than today's.

He's clearly had his problems but was poised to win when reappearing at Haydock in January - two lengths to the good when coming down at the last - and could make amends here if none the worse for that tumble.

Latest news