Grand National Festival 2018 Review

Another festival behind us and more profit added. We came away with 13 points profit which is very good going considering the terrible first day we had.

That is now 47 festivals from 56 festivals in profit over the last 3 years. A huge 84% of festivals in profit.

I don’t like to brag but those figures confirm we are the festival kings within the industry.

In this review I will go over every race we tipped in and will also include a few horses to follow.
Let’s get on with the review of Aintree…..

Grand National Festival Day One

A terrible day on the whole with a total loss of 9 points. I couldn’t quite believe some of the results as going into the day I supremely confident but a few horses just didn’t run to what they are capable of.

13:45 Aintree

Our Selection = BRAIN POWER – WIN

I knew our fate for the day after this race as the winner was FINIAN’S OSCAR who we have followed off a cliff this year. His performances this season have been awful and his jumping has been terrible. From what I have seen this season I couldn’t bring myself to tip the horse again although I do think he is a very good horse if he sorted his jumping. His jumping was terrible in this race also but he still managed to win under an amazing ride from Robbie Power.

Our selection BRAIN POWER fell at the 8th fence. I know you can’t predict the winner who was a faller 8 fences out but had he not fallen I am sure he would’ve gone really close. Reason I say this is BRAIN POWER is a proper Grade 1 horse and the winner Finians Oscar belted nearly every fence and still got up to win. My racing brain tells me his class would have at least seen BRAIN POWER involved in the finish but that is something we will never know.

Can we take anything out of the race?

Not really. Although I rate the winner who has all the talent in the world. His jumping is not good enough out of novice company. He is best watched and if he do sort his jumping out then he is a force to be reckoned with.

14:20 Aintree

Our Selection = APPLE’S SHAKIRA – WIN

The winner We Have A Dream was foot perfect at every hurdle and it was a very good performance. Our selection APPLE’S SHAKIRA was well below what she is capable of. She was very flat and this was not her true showing. The reason I say this is APPLE’S SHAKIRA destroyed the 2nd Gumball by 17 lengths when the pair clashed back in November, yet was 10 lengths behind that horse in this race. If the true APPLE’S SHAKIRA turned up, I am not sure she would’ve been good enough to beat the winner but even so she did not run to her full potential.

Can we take anything out of the race?

I thought the winner WE HAVE A DREAM looked very classy and his jumping was top class for a novice. The trouble with these juveniles is they don’t seem to train on the next season. You only have to mention names like Defi Du Seuil and Peace and Co to know how bad a record the juveniles have the next season. To the eye the winner looked very good and I will be keeping a close eye but for me he is best watched.

14:50 Aintree

Our Selection = BRISTOL DE MAI (Without Might Bite) – WIN

We advised BRISTOL DE MAI without the favourite in this race and that was exactly what happened. A good performance from our selection but the winner Might Bite was in a different league as expected. Nonetheless a winner for us at 2/1 which was far better than the 4/5 on offer for Might Bite.

Can we take anything out of the race?

We all know how good the winner is Might Bite so nothing original. The horse I would take out of the race is CLAN DES OBEAUX who travelled very well for a long way. This was his first start over 3 miles and it was a decent effort. I am already eyeing up the Hennessy Gold Cup with the horse in November which is over 3m 2f. He has been to Newbury twice and won both races impressively. We know he loves the course and we now know he stays the trip. He has a handicap mark of 155 to overcome but the first showing I see of the race I will be getting involved if the price is right.

15:25 Aintree

Our Selection = MY TENT OR YOURS – E/W

Another race and another horse we have followed of the cliff in L’AMI SERGE. Although this time looking back I should’ve stuck with the horse as he was their to be backed. He has not done much wrong all season so I should’ve stuck to my guns. I got this one wrong but I will always hold my hands up but more importantly learn from mistakes. The ground went against MY TENT OR YOURS but I thought he may have got away with it after winning on soft in December. A decent effort to come home 4th in ground he didn’t like but probably a bet I should not have put up.

Can we take anything out of the race?

With nothing really happening in the staying hurdle division LAMI SERGE should have a decent season next year. He has been around for what seems like forever but is still only an 8 year old.

16:05 Aintree

Our Selections = WONDERFUL CHARM and ON THE FRINGE both E/W

WONDERFUL CHARM was another bet I probably should not have put up on the ground but with Sam Waley Cohen record over the fences I thought he may get away with it.

ON THE FRINGE ran a great race to come home in 5th place. Some bookies were paying 5 places but we advised 4 places to get better odds. He had won the race twice before and although he was not getting any younger it was worth the risk as these fences have a habit of re-lighting a horse up and horses coming back to form.

Can we take anything out of the race?

I wouldn’t be rushing to take anything out of the race but the winner Balnaslow clearly loves this race after finishing 2nd last year and winner this year.

16:40 Aintree

Our Selections = KINGS SOCKS and THEINVAL both E/W

The story of our day as THEINVAL finished 2nd. He ran a great race and travelled well throughout but just couldn’t get to the winner. KINGS SOCKS was terrible and the fast pace and drop in distance clearly went against him. I thought he would enjoy it but looking back the lack of experience over fences was his undoing.

Can we take anything out of the race?

I wouldn’t say you can take KINGS SOCKS out of this race but he is not a horse I would want to give up on either as he is better than this showing. With a bit more experience he will be much better next season. His handicap mark will probably come down to 138 after being pulled up and the Bet Victor Gold Cup at Cheltenham in November would be my aim for the horse with a mark of 138.

17:15 Aintree

Our Selection = DISSAVRIL – E/W

I am not one to blame jockeys but this was a dreadful ride by Gavin Sheehan who basically went around the outside the whole way around, covering more ground than any other horse. He must’ve thought he was on Kauto Star or something given the amount of work the horse would have to do to win the race. This was only her 2nd start in the country so surely you just get plenty of cover behind horses rather than go wide.

Can we take anything out of the race?

Nothing for me to take out of the race.

Grand National Festival Day Two

An excellent day where we came away with 3 winners and 12 points profit. Day One well and truly behind us.

13:45 Aintree


With lots of bookies paying 6 places in this very competitive handicap we took a shorter price with the extra place. SPIRITOFTHEGAMES and CYRIUS MORIVIERE came home in 7th and 8th place just outside the frame. I thought CYRIUS MORIVIERE ran a great race and was the leader coming to the last. He led all the way and obviously it took its toll in the final stages of the race. SPIRITOFTHEGAMES kept on the same pace into 7th place. THREE MUSKETEERS weakened a long way from home.

Can we take anything out of the race?

All about the handicap mark in races like this so I can’t take anything out of the race immediately until I see the new handicap marks.

14:20 Aintree


We advised VISION DES FLOS at 6/1 E/W the previous evening and he was subject to a huge gamble going off 11/4. I was keen to take on the favourite as although he had been visually impressive, I didn’t think he beat much. We got that part right as he finished out of the frame but VISION DES FLOS found one horse too good in Lalor. Looking back Lalor was actually their to be bet given her form behind Western Ryder and finishing ahead of Summerville Boy. Hindsight is a wonderful thing though.

Can we take anything out of the race?

I do think VISION DES FLOS has the size and scope to be a cracking chaser and will be watching with interest when he makes his debut over fences next season.

14:50 Aintree


The turning point of the festival as TERREFORT was brilliant winning this race. The step up in trip obviously done the trick as expected and it was a very classy performance. He jumped brilliantly and didn’t touch a twig to virtually win on the bridle.

Can we take anything out of the race?

I was hugely impressed with this performance from TERREFORT who was foot perfect at every fence. TERREFORT is just a 5 year old so to win this in the style that he did and being so young is the performance at Aintree for me. This was his first time over 3 miles and he stayed every yard, on soft ground. How much improvement does this horse have is the question. Surely he has so much more to come especially as the step up in trip improved him no end and is still young. I know it is early to be talking about Cheltenham next year but the 66/1 on offer for the Cheltenham Gold Cup is an insult.

15:25 Aintree


Not once, not twice but 3 times. Politologue the 3rd horse we have followed off a cliff that goes and wins. You really couldn’t write this but horse racing is sent to test you. On all known form this season he really shouldn’t be winning this race. Our selection BALKO DES FLOS was subject to an awful ride from Davy Russell in my opinion. Not often you can say that about Davy but I am not sure what he was doing making the running here and setting the race up for others. At the Cheltenham festival he was excellent having the pace set for him so I am unsure why he didn’t go for the same tactics and let Politologue have the lead as he so often does. At least he would have had something to aim at. BALKO DES FLOS did jump well and maybe Davy Russell thought he was on a world beater after Cheltenham.

Can we take anything out of the race?

I would like to see BALKO DES FLOS back to the tactics he adopted at Cheltenham to see if this was his true running. I couldn’t take him out of the race just best watched in a different race.

16:05 Aintree


Our biggest winner of festival as we advised ULTRAGOLD at 20/1 the night before the race. What a ride from Harry Cobden and the horse won the race for the 2nd year running. He jumped like a stag and won quite easily in the end. EASTLAKE got around but way down the field in 13th. ROGUE ANGEL was pulled up.

Can we take anything out of the race?

I wouldn’t take anything out of the race for normal chases but how can you not follow a horse like ULTRAGOLD around these fences next season. His form over the fences read 121 he absolutely adores the place. Another horse who I thought was very eye-catching was KILCREA VALE. He had no luck in running and was about 30 lengths back near last place at one stage. He stayed on for 4th, beaten 17 lengths. He made up lots of ground between the last 4 fences and stayed all the way to the line. He is in my notebook for next season if he runs over the fences as he must’ve enjoyed himself to finish where he did with all the problems he encountered.

16:40 Aintree


Our 3rd winner of the day as SANTINI done the business at an advised 2/1. He made hard work of it but battled on strongly to win by 1 ½ lengths.

Can we take anything out of the race?

SANTINI is a big strong horse and is built like a chaser. He will absolutely relish fences and a race like the RSA is tailor-made for him or even the 4 miler. Whichever way they go with him next season I am excited as I don’t believe we have seen a horse built for fences like him in a long time. We see plenty of big horse but SANTINI has the class and scope to go with it. A proper staying chaser in the making.

17:15 Aintree


A strange race which was a bit stop and start. I noticed PYM got caught out a few times on the heels of horses in front of him and didn’t have the easiest passage.

Can we take anything out of the race?

Nothing for me bit of a strange race as I don’t believe the winner was the best horse in the race.

Grand National Festival Day Three

Another excellent day where we came away 11 points in profit with 2 winners and 3 places.

13:45 Aintree


We picked up where we left off on day two with a winner in our very first race. I really fancied the chances of MR BIG SHOT in this race. I thought he ran a great race at Cheltenham considering that was his first start in over a year. He was sure to come on for the run and the step up in trip would be appreciated. DEBECE stayed on for place money in 4th place and I thought he ran a great race after 372 days off the track. He made the running and was still in the leader coming to the last hurdle. He got tired late on which is understandable after such a long time off and trying to make the running. SYKES run a big race for a long way as was still in 2nd 3 hurdles out. He faded late on but outrun his huge odds of 50/1.

Can we take anything out of the race?

I would take both MR BIG SHOT and DEBECE out of the race. I think both will do very well over fences next season. Both had problems with injuries in their career to date and if everything goes smoothly next season then they will both go very well. In particular I would like to see DEBECE to have a trouble free season as I think he could be very classy and something like the 4 miler at Cheltenham would be well within sight.

14:25 Aintree


Another winner and this confirmed the festival was well and truly smashed. I was confident he would win this race and couldn’t believe he was sent off 3/1. So much so I went back in with another bet before the off. He finished 2nd to Samcro and Santini which is top class form. I thought the favourite On The Blind Side would hit a flat spot and that was exactly what happened.

Can we take anything out of the race?

With a lot of these likely to go chasing next year it is hard to predict but BLACK OP certainly has lots of scope and looks built like a chaser.

15:40 Aintree


Our selection fell early on so can’t comment on his performance. The winner Thomas Patrick put the sword to these and looks a very tough horse. Whether he is in the handicappers grip next time, remains to be seen but he is only a 6 year old and as tough as they come.

Can we take anything out of the race?

I wouldn’t want to take anything out of the race but I am keen to see if Thomas Patrick progresses further. He is the type of horse I love watching. Jumping from fence to fence and putting them all to the sword.

16:20 Aintree


I said in the write up this was a speculative tip only didn’t waste many points but I thought he was worth the risk on the back of how well he travelled at Cheltenham and his previous form at Aintree. He came home just outside the places in 4th place. The winner was Identity Thief who was upped in trip to 3 miles for the first time. I couldn’t see him staying the trip but fair play he was well placed by Henry De Bromhead.

Can we take anything out of the race?

The World’s End has been running on soft ground all year and he needs better ground to be seen at his best. You will see a different horse when he gets his ground but it depends who his opposition is. Identity Thief improved massively for the step up in trip so is very interesting for next season.

17:15 Aintree


TOTAL RECALL made too many mistakes to get involved but considering he made a number of mistakes he did well to still be involved 5 fences out.

MILANSBAR ran a great race to come home in 5th place for E/W money at odds of 28/1.

GAS LINE BOY was just one place outside the places in 7th but ran a great race just tiring at the end of the race.

SHANTOU FLYER was never involved and pulled up.

The winner TIGER ROLL was fantastic and I actually called him the winner 15 fences out as he was travelling and jumping ever so well. Great ride from Davy Russell and amazing that this horse is actually flat bred.

Can we take anything out of the race?

I wouldn’t put it past Tiger Roll following up next season as he won the race that well. He actually idled in front which is amazing considering he just run 4m 4f.

18:20 Aintree


A great effort from STERNRUBIN to finish the festival for us with more profit after tipping him the night before at 14/1. Probably a little high in the handicap but I will take 14/1 places all day long.

Can we take anything out of the race?

Nothing for me in this race.

Conclusion and stats

Well I hope you all enjoyed the Grand National Festival, I certainly did and I hope you enjoyed not only the big profits made but also the detail we go into with each and every selection.

Here are a summary of results for the Aintree Festival:

Profit to £10 stakes: £131.92
Strike rate: 38.24%
Return on investment: 29.48%

What’s next for JPW Racing Tipster?
The next festival on our calendar is Punchestown which starts 24th April.

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