Paul Nicholls Aintree stable tour for the Randox Grand National 2024

Grand National Racecourse Image By Roger May, CC BY-SA 2.0 - to represent news article on the 2024 Grand National and Paul Nicholls

On the eve of one of the most talked-about weeks on the horse racing circuit, Paul Nicholls discusses with Betfair, the horses he has in his stables for the Randox Grand National Festival week, which kicks off on Thursday, 11th April.

Thursday 11th April, Opening Day

1:45pm – The Close Brothers Manifesto novices’ Steeple Chase – Grade 1

Horse: Ginny’s Destiny

He’s made giant strides since joining us this season, winning three times at Cheltenham before another cracking run when second to Grey Dawning in the Turners at the Festival.

As with all of ours who ran there, no one can tell you for sure how they have come out of their races, but they have had a nice, easy fortnight before we started tuning them up again. They did their last piece of work on Saturday and will head to Aintree fresh and well.

2:20pm – The Boodles Anniversary 4-y-o Juvenile Hurdle – Grade 1

Horse: Kalif Du Berlais

He’s a horse with a big future and maintained his unbeaten record with a determined success in the Adonis Hurdle at Kempton under a 5lbs penalty. It was always the plan to miss the Triumph Hurdle and wait for this race at Aintree.

We’ve deliberately given him time and although this is a step up in class for him, he seems to be improving physically and I think he is in better shape than he was before his last run.

2:55pm – The William Hill Bowl Steeple Chase – Grade 1

Horse: Bravemansgame

Things haven’t quite gone to plan for Bravemansgame this season. He hated the testing conditions at Cheltenham and it was clear from an early stage in the Gold Cup that he wasn’t handling them.

Hopefully, the ground will be better at Aintree, and the flat track will suit him. His regular rider Scott Marshall was very pleased with him after he worked on Saturday morning.

4:05pm – The Randox Foxhunters’ Open Hunters’ Steeple Chase

Horse 1: Cap Du Mathan

He bounced back to form with an easy success down in grade last time at Leicester where he hacked up. He should give my daughter Olive a great spin over the National fences and it wouldn’t surprise me to see him run tidily. 40/1 looks like a big price.

Horse 2: Stratagem

He’s useful on his day but needed the run at Southwell recently on his first start since wind surgery. He’s bound to improve plenty for the outing but does prefer better ground and is not a certain runner.

4:40pm – The Close Brothers Red Rum Handicap Steeple Chase – Grade 3

Horse: Sans Bruit

New to us this season, he has plenty of decent form on soft ground in France and looked set to win over fences at Chepstow recently until he was caught close home. He seems to be coming back to form and a fast run race round a tight track like Aintree will suit him very well.

5:15pm – The Goffs UK Nickel Coin Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat – Grade 2

Horse: Jubilee Alpha

She made the perfect start to her career with a fluent success in a mares’ bumper at Wincanton where she was always prominent and strong at the finish. The first two that day looked smart and she deserves her chance in this better grade.

Friday 12th April, Ladies Day

1:45pm – The Huyton Asphalt Franny Blennerhassett Memorial Mildmay Novices’ Steeple Chase – Grade 1

Horse: Outlaw Peter

I’ve also entered Ginny’s Destiny but if the ground is soft he is likely to run on Thursday. Outlaw Peter won smartly at Kempton last month on drier ground, and if the going is soft at Aintree, I’ll probably keep him for Ayr.

2:20pm – The William Hill Handicap Hurdle – Grade 3

Horse: Sonigino

I’ve entered three in this, but Sonigino is the only one certain to run. He always goes well at Aintree as the flat track is ideal for him and won impressively there in December. His best form is with plenty of cut in the ground.

3:30pm – The My Pension Expert Melling Chase – Grade 1

Horse: Pic D’Orhy

That was a career best by Pic d’Orhy who is in top form at home and beat two very smart horses at Ascot. He won this race last year, worked impressively on Saturday and has a lovely chance.

4:05pm – The Randox Supports Race Against Dementia Topham Chase – Grade 3

Horse 1: Kandoo Kid

He’s progressive, a sound jumper, and I’ve felt all season he was an ideal horse for the Topham, but he is well suited by good ground, so I will monitor conditions at Aintree and have the option of keeping him for Ayr.

Horse 2: Quel Destin

The softer the going the better for Quel Destin, a hardy campaigner who landed the Grade 1 Finale Hurdle at Chepstow six years ago and is still going strong. He’s won two more this season with the ground in his favour, but he had an off day last time at Chepstow and has a bit to find now.

5:15pm – The Alder Hey Handicap Hurdle

Horse: Afadil

He ran very well in the County Hurdle and was still in front after the last flight before fading on the hill. The flat track at Aintree will suit him much better, and he has a leading chance of being ridden by Freddie Gingell in a race I’ve won a few times. Drier ground would help.

Saturday 13th April, Randox Grand National Day

1:20pm – The William Hill Handicap Hurdle – Grade 3

Horse: Monmiral 

He’s been raised 6lb to a mark of 144 after his excellent victory in the Pertemps Final at Cheltenham. While I thought he had a sporting chance I didn’t expect him to win like he did.

He has always had loads of ability but didn’t take to chasing and it was brilliant to see him bounce back at the Festival in first time blinkers which he will wear again at Aintree.

1:55pm – The Turners Mersey Novices’ Hurdle – Grade 1

Horse: Caldwell Potter

He is an exciting horse for the future, and he didn’t run at Cheltenham because I felt he needed more time to acclimatise after we bought him at a dispersal sale in Ireland.

He doesn’t show a lot at home, but he’s settled in nicely, has done plenty of schooling, jumps great, and looks ready for this to step him up in a trip to two and a half miles. I’m still learning about Caldwell Potter, who has done all his winning on testing ground.

5:35pm – The Weatherbys Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race – Grade 2

Horse 1: Sorceleur

He’s progressive, ran with much promise in a Listed bumper at Cheltenham, won his bumper easily at Taunton late in February and has earned a shot at this valuable race. He is going the right way.

Horse 2: Farland

I do like Farland who is a bit quirky, was narrowly beaten on his debut for us in bottomless ground at this track on Boxing Day and then won at Fakenham despite wandering around in the closing stages. He’s a good horse and has the ability to shine in a better race.

To book your tickets to this year’s Grand National, visit The Jockey Club.

Grand National Racecourse Image By Roger May, CC BY-SA 2.0 - to represent news article on the 2024 Grand National and Paul Nicholls
By Roger May, CC BY-SA 2.0,

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