Saturday ITV Racing Tips: Best bets for day three of the Grand National Festival

The Grand National is one of five races being shown live on ITV this afternoon and we've a tip for each.

Our five picks are listed below, with full race analysis further down the page, while the highly informative Aintree race card is just a click away in Planet Sport's Racing Live Centre.

Selections:

Stage Star each-way (14.25 Aintree)

Edwardstone (15.00 Aintree)

Flooring Porter (15.35 Aintree)

Killer Kane each-way (16.15 Aintree)

Fiddlerontheroof each-way (17.15 Aintree)

14.25 Aintree - Stage Star

Gordon Elliott's Three Stripe Life heads a strong Irish contingent for this Grade 1 2m4f novices' hurdle having chased home Sir Gerhard in the Ballymore, but he lacks that bit of acceleration required at the finish having finished runner-up on his last three starts and is opposable at shortish odds.

Nicky Henderson's Walk On Air was very impressive when winning on his hurdles debut at Newbury in January (2m) and he's the fresher horse having not raced since. He's yet another top-notch novice hurdler for the yard who promises to stay this extra half mile, but his lack of experience is a worry.

There are plenty of interesting alternatives to the front pair at bigger odds and Paul Nicholls' Stage Star makes most appeal having already won a Newbury Grade 1 in comfortable fashion and being wisely pulled up in the Ballymore, having struggled on the rain-softened ground and doing himself no favours by refusing to settle early.

Now fitted with a hood, a big run can be expected on today's drying ground and over a trip he clearly stays very well.

15.00 Aintree - Edwardstone

We're having to take odds-on but Edwardstone deserves to be the price he is after completing a five-timer in last month's Arkle Trophy, in which he was lucky to survive the fall of Brave Seasca at the fourth fence.

Alan King's eight-year-old got quickly back into a good rhythm after swerving that casualty, pinging fence after fence, and he never looked in any danger after jumping to the front two out, before finishing the race off strongly.

Seeing as he takes his racing well, there's no reason to believe those exertions will have taken too much out of him and he could get a nice lead in this race with his closest rival in the betting, Willie Mullins' Gentleman De Mee, likely to set out to make all, as he has done the last twice over fences.

Dan Skelton's Third Time Lucki, the only other horse at a single-figure price, has four and a half lengths to find on Edwardstone on their running at Warwick in January. He's respected nonetheless having been saved for this race and with the drying ground in his favour.

15.35 Aintree - Flooring Porter

Flooring Porter became the first horse to notch back-to-back wins in the Stayers' Hurdle since Big Buck's at last month's Cheltenham Festival, having been gifted an uncontested lead for the second year running in a relatively slowly-run renewal (almost one second slower than the Pertemps Handicap).

That's the key to him and similar tactics around this sharper track could again prove decisive, although it's worth noting he disappointed at Punchestown after winning last year's Stayers', weakening quickly at the business end after racing exuberantly at the head of affairs.

The Cheltenham second and fourth, Thyme Hill and Champ, take him on again and the former horse was a game winner of this contest 12 months ago, having missed Cheltenham and making his freshness tell.

With those three horses dominating the market and with every chance that one or more might run below expectations, there's scope for an each-way bet and Jessica Harrington's Ashdale Bob (NON-RUNNER) makes most appeal.

A smart novice hurdler over 2m4f last season, he didn't take to chasing in three runs before Christmas this term but has come back better than ever since being switched back to hurdles, including when finishing a fine third of the 23 runners in the Coral Cup (2m5f).

He led for most of that contest and might do better still if held up over today's longer trip, having proved his stamina for it when third in a Grade 2 at Gowran Park in January, and with his connections hinting previously that he might improve for some nicer ground.

UPDATE - with Ashdale Bob being declared a non-runner, we'll take Flooring Porter to complete the Cheltenham-Aintree double in his customary fashion from the front. This track should suit him better than Punchestown, where he tended to jump left when disappointing there last season.

16.15 Aintree - Killer Kane each-way

Shan Blue drops back into handicap company for the first time and should Dan Skelton's charge produce his best form, even top weight might not stop him seeing off his 16 rivals.

However, he was clearly below his best in last month's Ryanair, in which he finished a distant sixth, having been off since falling at the last in the Charlie Hall in October, when in the process of routing what was an ordinary field.

He was also trounced when racing over today's trip of 3m1f at last year's Grand National meeting, albeit in a Grade 1 novice, and all that leaves him with something to prove this afternoon. At skinny odds, he has to be taken on.

Killer Kane, one of two runners for the Tizzard Team, looks to have strong each-way claims on his bid for a hat-trick after wins at Kempton, when showing improved form for the step up to today's trip of 3m in a first-time tongue-tie (back on), and at Sandown last time (2m4f), where he survived a Stewards' enquiry after showing wayward tendencies on the run-in.

He's clearly a bit quirky but arrives here at the top of his game and the seven-year-old, who cost his connections £300,000 after winning his sole Irish point, almost certainly has more to offer from his current mark of 131, which means he's getting 17lb from the favourite.

Brendan Powell, who it has to be assumed could have switched to stablemate and Ultima third Oscar Elite, stays loyal and he's riding close to his minimum weight.

17.15 Aintree (Grand National) - Fiddlerontheroof each-way

Becher Chase winner Snow Leopardess, who is bidding to become the first mare to win the big race since Nickel Coin in 1951, and the first winning grey since Neptune Collonges in 2012, has been the plunge horse in the betting in recent days and she's now disputing favouritism.

Clearly history is not on her side but she's a strong travelling, progressive sort who jumps soundly and goes on any ground (though softer conditions would have been ideal for her), so her backers look sure to get a good run for their money granted some usual luck in running.

However, any value in her price has gone and others are preferred at bigger odds, starting with the Colin Tizzard-trained and Brendan Powell-ridden Fiddlerontheroof, who gives the impression that a marathon trip over fences is what he needs these days.

Having showed some very useful form against top novices last season, at a time when his stable was under a could, he returned to action last autumn with a gutsy win at Carlisle over an inadequate trip and then rallied strongly when finishing second in the 3m2f Ladbrokes Trophy.

He filled the same spot in his prep race at Ascot (3m) in February, when conceding lumps of weight to his rivals in desperate ground, and this sound jumper who likes to race on the front end - no bad thing around here as he'll avoid any shenanigans behind - won't be inconvenienced by the drying ground one bit.

Grand National fancy Fiddlerontheroof looks to need a marathon trip these days

A fair few of the better fancied runners would have preferred some rain to fall, and in particular the Irish-trained pair of Longhouse Poet and Escaria Ten.

That's not to say they can't win and the former horse, who impressed with his jumping when keeping on strongly to land the Thyestes Chase in January, represents Martin Brassil who won the same Gowran Park race with Numbersixvalverde in 2005, with that horse going to Grand National glory following year.

But Enjoy D'Allen, who seems to go any ground, might do best of the Irish contingent having finished third in last season's Irish National and in a top 3m handicap at Leopardstown in December.

Last year's winning owner JP McManus clearly thinks the eight-year-old has got it takes to win as he has since snapped him up to run in his famous colours of emerald green and gold hoops.

A couple of British-trained runners who could outrun their big odds are Ben Pauling's Kildisart, who is well handicapped on some old form and caught the eye on his recent comeback after a long lay-off, and Commodore, who has sneaked into the race having been first reserve.

Representing Venetia Williams, who sent out 100/1 winner Mon Mome in 2009, he hasn't run since stringing out his rivals over 3m2f at Cheltenham in December, his first start after a wind op, as he's best fresh.

The final word does to last years winner Minella Times, the mount of Rachael Blackmore who guided him to a smooth success 12 months ago, and is reportedly in good form at home.

Rachael Blackmore celebrates winning the Grand National aboard Minella Times

He has something to prove on this season's efforts (FP), though, and is also now 15lb higher in the weights.

1-2-3-4-5 Prediction:

1. Fiddlerontheroof

2. Enjoy D'Allen

3. Longhouse Poet

4. Kildisart

5. Commodore - Planet Sport Bet are paying out on five places!

Good luck with your Grand national bets and let's just hope all the 40 runners return safe and sound!

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