1pt each-way Meetingofthewaters @9/1, 16:00 Saturday, Aintree, Grand National

4m2½f (Grand National) Randox Grand National Handicap Chase (Premier Handicap) (GBB Race) (Class 1) (7yo+)

The ground looks set to be extremely testing on Saturday and what is already a stamina-sapping test could turn out to be a hugely gruelling affair. Soft, or more likely heavy ground form, is almost an essential requirement for the race this year with the amount of rain that has fallen. I also think weight will be a big factor. Only two horses in the last 12 years have carried more than 11 stone to victory; Tiger Roll, who was a freak and Many Clouds who was a top class Grade 1 horse on his day.

I therefore think you need to look towards the bottom of the handicap with Mr Incredible already in the bag tipped at 20/1, MEETINGOFTHEWATERS makes significant appeal and represents another from the Willie Mullins yard with him lined up to carry 10st 8lbs. JP McManus has an embarrassment of riches with five entered here, but Meetingofthewaters could be the pick of the lot.

He has the right type of young progressive profile that has been so successful in this race in recent years and could be the second seven-year-old (after Noble Yeats in 2022) since the 1950’s to claim this prestigious race as a Novice.

Meetingofthewaters won the Paddy Power Chase at Christmas in some style, a good pointer to this race in recent years, and despite a 17lbs higher mark, caught the eye like a horse that was still well-handicapped when running a blinder in the Ultima at the Cheltenham festival, staying on over 3m 1f in heavy ground conditions where he looked to be crying out for a stiffer test of stamina.

The last five winners of the race have been rated between 146-150, meaning they have been unexposed and probably improved by more than half a stone to win this and Meetingofthewaters is rated 147 here and has the type of profile to be able to improve significantly over this course and distance.

1pt each-way Meetingofthewaters @9/1, 16:00 Saturday, Aintree, Grand National (1/5 odds, 6 places)

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