My team to thrill Liverool
Paul picks out 10 horses he thinks can strike at the Grand National festival
of 15 lengths. Clearly this was a huge step forward from the High Chaparral gelding. and he could easily run a big race,despite further improvement being required. There is a lack of depth in terms of UKtrained top-class hurdlers at this sort of trip at present and,unlessWillie Mullins sends over either Annie Power or Nichols Canyon, this might not take as much winning as usual. Of the Irish-trained pair, the latter would presumably be the more likely contender,having won here last year,but he has had several tough races already this season and ran another cracker to finish third in the Champion Hurdle.
FINGERONTHESWITCH (Neil Mulholland) Aintree Handicap Hurdle, Saturday
Runner-up to his now high-class stablemate Shantou Village (see below) in an Irish point, Fingerontheswitch went on to beat the useful Oscar Blue between the flags, before joining the Neil Mulholland stable, for whom he won a Towcester bumper on his debut under rules. Off the mark at the second time of asking over hurdles, when beating subsequent River Don second Ballydine in a maiden at Worcester during October, he finished fourth in a decent handicap at the Open meeting before disappointing on soft ground the following month. Back on a decent surface, the six-year-old fairly bolted up at Doncaster in February and, despite a hefty 12lbs rise in the weights (now officially rated 135),the son of Beneficial looks capable of winning a nice prize before the season is out. Given his form on flat, left-handed tracks, the 3m handicap at Aintree makes plenty of appeal.
GWAFA (PaulWebber) Top Novices’ Hurdle, Friday or Pinsent Masons Handicap Hurdle (conditional jockeys), Saturday
A smart performer on the Flat as a threeyear-old for Marco Botti, Gwafa has taken well to hurdles,winning twice since finishing sixth to Altior at Kempton on Boxing Day. A 15-length winner at Fakenham, the five-year-old quickened up stylishly to beat another classy ex-Flat performer at Huntingdon.