My team to thrill Liverool

Paul picks out 10 horses he thinks can strike at the Grand Na­tional fes­ti­val

Racing Ahead - - PAUL FERGUSON -

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.

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