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Friday's Racing at Newbury

We're going racing at Newbury tomorrow, and as ever we've got some tips for you to make the races even more exciting!

In the 2:30 Handicap we've got our eye on Story Writer and Desert Recluse.

This race isn't an easy one to call, there aren't any real standout horses running. The favourite, Leo Luna, seems a little unexceptional to us, and it will take a great run to convince us that he's returned to the form of his youth.

Story Writer, by contrast, has steadily improved in form across the last year, and looks ready to consolidate his position as a first rate front running horse. He ended last year placed in four of his last five races. The fifth race, he won.

If he can carry his form over he's going to be formidable, and if you head to William Hill you can get him at 13/2.

Desert Recluse is a tougher call to make. He's a little older and a little higher in the weights than many of the runners - but he's a little higher in the rankings too, and on his day he's a strong performer.

We think he's going to be in the mix for the victory, but it's hard to say for sure how close he'll get. With that in mind, we recommend a visit to Paddy Power, who have him at 12/1 and who are also refunding single stakes on 2nd and 3rd placed horses in the race.

In the 4:15 Dubai Duty Free Handicap we can't look past the favourite, Dutch Masterpiece.
He's going to need to be on form, as he's by no means the only quality horse in the race, but past form shows he has what it takes in bucketloads.

He recorded three consecutive wins over this distance last season, and with the going pretty much ideal for him it'll be tough for anyone to stay in front.

If you're worried about his fitness or his stamina under top weight after a six month break, don't forget he won on his debut back in 2012. We don't think he's going to be in bad shape at all.

His odds are shortening as we speak, but you can still pick him up for a very decent 11/4 at Ladbrokes.

Best of luck with your betting!

Aintree Grand National 2014

Well, it's finally here. With the completion of a very enjoyable Ladies Day, Aintree gathers itself and prepares for the big moment, the race we've all been waiting for: the 2014 Grand National.

It's the world's most famous steeplechase, run over four miles three furlongs and featuring such well known fences as The Chair, and the incomparable Becher's Brook that has caught out many of the best.

The distance is slightly shorter than previous years as part of the official's attempts to increase safety due to concerns over horse fatalities in recent years.

The fence structures have been redesigned for similar reasons, and jockeys have been advised to curb their speed during the early part of the race as well.

Whether any of them will do so remains to be seen - it is, after all, the race every jockey, trainer, and owner wants to win. The prestige for the victors is huge, and they are assured of a place in the history books. The £1 million prize on offer this year is nothing to be sneezed at, either!

Even that pales in comparison with the estimated £250 million that is predicted to be gambled on the race, and with so many punters looking at so many horses, how do you choose where to place your hard earned cash?

We've dug into form, stamina, and favoured conditions to bring you three horses we think are worth your money.

First up, Pineau De Re.

He ran well in Ireland and we think he's only improved since he moved across to these shores. A well controlled victory in Exeter and a run to third in the Pertemps Final when he was perhaps unlucky not to finish higher testify to his abilities, and we think he can stay the distance.

His odds are fluctuating but you can still get him for an excellent 28/1 at Coral.

Next, we think second favourite Long Run is in with a good chance.

We might in other circumstances say that his best days are behind him, and his jumping has been known to be somewhat erratic at times. But redesigned fences might suit him better, and with the excellent Sam Waley-Cohen at the reins this could be his best shot at the victory.

Other people have had the same idea and his odds are shortening, but you can still pick him up at 12/1 over at SkyBet.

Finally, we're taking a chance on Chance Du Roy.

Obvious puns aside, this is an excellent horse. He's won the Becher and finished second at Topham. The only question is whether he has the stamina, but with a light weight and on decent ground he's got to be one to watch.

Ladbrokes are offering a very decent 33/1 on him to win.

Everyone knows trying to pick the winner of the National is a fools game, but those are the three horses who stand out to us. Best of luck, and no matter what happens, enjoy the race!

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