Published On: Fri, Apr 12th, 2024

Grand National 2024 tips: Jonbon can be a hit as Harry Redknapp set for Aintree heartache | Racing | Sport

JONBON can be a hit for Nicky Henderson in the My Pension Expert Melling Chase (3.30) at Aintree this afternoon.

The eight-year-old missed Cheltenham amid form concerns for his Seven Barrows stable, which has had a low-key fortnight. But my selection is fancied to give his trainer a welcome boost by brushing aside Ryanair Chase hero Protektorat and runner-up Envoi Allen, the mount of Rachael Blackmore.

Jonbon is a sensitive horse, seemingly affected by Nico de Boinville’s absence when he blundered his chance away in the Clarence House Chase at Cheltenham in January. Better judged on his nine-and-a-half length call over Edwardstone in the Shloer in front of Gloucestershire’s grandstands, the bay gelding is top-class at his best.

And a new trip of 2m4f will not be a hindrance on pedigree, as he bids to regain his Grade One swagger on Grand National eve. Owner JP McManus has excellent claims of a top-flight double with TrustATrader Top Novices’ Hurdle (2.55, nb) fancy MYSTICAL POWER.

Outstayed by Slade Steel in the Cheltenham Festival curtain-raiser, 2016 champion hurdler Annie Power’s son will be able to utilise his speed at this flatter track. Brought along gently by Willie Mullins, the hooded runner brushed up his jumping and led at Prestbury Park’s final obstacle.

From his first experience of racing at the top level, Mystical Power will have learned plenty and he has a class edge over mares Dysart Enos and Golden Ace, who receive 7lb. Liverpool history-maker Blackmore was the first female jockey to win the National on 2021 hero Minella Times.

The now-retired thoroughbred’s trainer supplies her big race mount Minella Indo, a 14-1 chance with William Hill. Ahead of the £1million main event, Ireland’s high achievers have a crack at the set of spruce fences with quality handicapper LIFE IN THE PARK.

A fast-finishing fourth in the Plate at Cheltenham, the seven-year-old found his second wind to close its top three right down. My Randox Supports Race Against Dementia Topham Handicap Chase (4.05, Nap) pick gets an extra 2lb from the winner Shakem Up’Arry.

Harry Redknapp’s in-form runner is a danger, along with Lounge Lizard, who enjoyed these fences in December and last year’s runner-up Fantastic Lady. The third Irish-trained selection is CROKE PARK, representing Gordon Elliott and Jack Kennedy in the Cavani Sartorial Menswear Sefton Novices’ Hurdle (4.40).

A three-mile point-to-point scorer, owners Gigginstown House Stud paid £400,000 to fulfill the move to his Gold Cup-winning yard. Yet to try today’s distance under Rules, Walk In The Park’s son stayed on strongly to take a 2m 4f Grade Three at Navan and this is a suitable target after a 91-day break.

Elliott can rate The Jukebox Man’s ability as he saddled his last-gasp Albert Bartlett Hurdle conqueror Stellar Story – and my tip is the fresher horse. Unexposed novice INTHEWATERSIDE, trained by 14-time champion Paul Nicholls, should go close in the William Hill Handicap Hurdle (2.20).


1.45 Iroko

2.20 Inthewaterside

2.55 Mystical Power (nb)

3.30 Jonbon

4.05 Life In The Park (Nap)

4.40 Croke Park

5.15 Karuma Grey

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