GRAND NATIONAL RACE PREVIEW
The Grand National is the greatest steeplechase in the world. It is the race that captures the imagination of the whole of the UK and Ireland. Even if you don’t bet all year around the chances are you will be placing a bet in the National. It is a race which is full of excitement and it is the only race where people allow their kids to pick a horse out of the paper and the whole family will sit around the TV watching and cheering on their chosen horse. Myself included will be given putting the Racing Post in front of my 6 month year old and placing a pen in her hand, allowing her to stab a hole in the paper on whichever horse it lands on. It’s a good luck charm people will say right? The race is a lottery anything can win they will say right?
With all the publicity the Grand National gets it’s not the test it once was. The fences have been made much easier to jump and many of the jockeys will tell you they are now on par with some other difficult fences around the UK. So is this race really a lottery it once was. The race has started to attract the classier type of horses. Where years ago you would be searching for a horse low in the handicap, it pays to look at the horses near the top of the handicap. I for one feel as confident about picking the winner in the National as I would any other race. Even if I don’t get the winner my confidence of making a profit in the race is even higher.
The history of the Grand National and the obsession with nation started years before I was even born. Red Rum is a horse who 99% of the UK and Ireland will know and Many Clouds is bidding to be the first horse since Red Rum to win 2 National’s on the bounce. We will go through the race in more detail and hopefully find you some great bets for Saturday. The Grand National is going to be a bit different this year as it will not be run until 5:15pm. I think it could be a hit as this gives every one a chance to watch the race whether it be after the Football, Rugby or day out shopping, I am sure it will attract a bigger TV rating.
Down to business
Now on with the business side of stuff. The market is headed by last years winner MANY CLOUDS who is available at 8/1. We tipped up Many Clouds last year at a huge 33/1 but this year I will be taking him on. I haven’t really got a bad word to say about Many Clouds. He has been to Aintree and done it and has had a perfect campaign but at 8/1 he is simply to short. He is trying to win the national back to back and this hasn’t been done since Red Rum. I also feel this years renewal is a better race than last year. He also has to carry 1lb more this year.
One of the next in the market is SILVINIACO CONTI who is a very classy horse trained by Paul Nicholls. He has won the King George twice and is a 3 time winner around Aintree. He struggled this year noticeably when pulled up in the King George. He bounced back with a convincing win at Ascot and goes into the race with a big chance. My only reservation I have about this horse is his ability to stay the 4m 4f The 12/1 available if tempting and he’ is one to ponder without doubt.
Then you have the likes of THE LAST SAMURI, THE DRUIDS NEPHEW, SAINT ARE and HOLYWELL next in the betting. THE LAST SAMURAI has improved massively this year and was a very good winner at Doncaster last time out. The Last Samurai is 12lb well in as the handicapper now rates him 161. I personally don’t think he is a 161 horse though and I think he will find a few too good here. THE DRUIDS NEPHEW was travelling like a dream in this race last year but was a faller at the Valentines 2nd time around. Has been beaten easily on all starts this year and you wonder what that fall has done to his confidence. SAINT ARE was runner up in this last year and carries just 10st 5lb this year. He has had a breathing op and must a have a huge chance. I do think he will find something too good again.
HOLYWELL is a horse I have massive respect for. He is simply a spring horse where he seems to come alive. I watched a video of him the other day working with Shutthefrontdoor who also runs in the national and HOLYWELL looked a picture. Full of beans, really enjoying life and in top form. HOLYWELL comes here on the back of an excellent 2nd in the Ultima Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. It was a terrific performance considering he was carrying top weight. His jumping was straight and true and if he jumps like that over these fences he will have no trouble getting around. The handicapper now rates HOLYWELL as a 157 horse which puts him 4lb well in. It is worth pointing out this horse finished 4th in last years Gold Cup finishing in front of MANY CLOUDS. It is often said that this horse needs good ground but he still managed to finish 4th in the gold cup on Soft Ground. For me it is all about the time of year and not the ground. He has a cracking chance in this and is a horse who has winning form around Aintree when destroying Don Cossack 2 years ago in the Mildmay Novice Chase and look what that horse has gone and to do The 16/1 is one I will be considering – the value is there.
Of the rest I think CAUSE OF CAUSES deserves a mention but unfortunately he didn’t make the cut of 40. It’s a shame but the rules are the rules so he will miss out.
O’ FAOLAINS BOY is horse who is massively overpriced at a huge 40/1. He has had a similar campaign to what Many Clouds had last year when winning the National. After being off the track for 18 months he lined up at Ascot in November against Vautour. He was pulled up that day but that run was nothing but a blow out. He then went to Newbury in December and destroyed a good horse in Sausalito Sunrise by 15 lengths. That horse has since gone on and won at Ascot and run a decent race behind Many Clouds at Kelso. He has franked the form quite nicely. O’ FAOLAINS BOY last run was in the Gold Cup and he was still travelling sweetly before the 3rd fence from home. Ok he blew up but you only got to look at the class in the field to see why. It was a top effort in my opinion and he has certainly gone under the radar. Lets not forget this horse beat Many Clouds convincingly as a novice and also beat Smad Place when winning the 2014 RSA Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. Rebecca Curtis is in fine form at the moment which is very encouraging and this horse is likely to be prominent which is another bonus I honestly feel he could be in for a huge run and the 33/1 is another bet I will mull over long and hard.
Another interesting runner is BOSTON BOB. The fact that Ruby Walsh has chosen this horse out of all Mullins horses tells me all I need to know. It is not often you are able to get 33/1 about a horse with the Walsh/Mullins combination. He could be the forgotten horse. He got in the race off a tiny 151 and Ruby Walsh carries just 10st 10lb. On his day this horse was rated 162 so is right down the handicap. BOSTON BOB has also only been to Aintree once and has 1 win to his name after winning the 2014 Melling Chase. On his last start he won at Fairyhouse which was a great effort considering he would not have been fully fit as his training has been all about his one race. 40/1 is available and could well be one of the bets I advise on the day.
The last horse I have on my radar at a huge price is SIR DES CHAMPS. It looks highly likely that Bryan Copper will be riding this one out of all the Gigginstown horses. He made his comeback in November after 2 years off the track and made it a winning one. He has struggled since but the ground has been against him. We are talking about a bog and SIR DES CHAMPS has never liked Heavy Ground. I know rain is forecast for Aintree but it is not going to be anywhere near as soft as what we have seen over the winter. Before his injury this horse was an amazing horse, good enough to win the Irish Hennessy and finish runner up in the Gold Cup. I have watched replays of all his runs this season and he was never put in the race on his last 2 starts. It was simply a training exercise obviously being trained with this race in mind. 25/1 is a fair price and has actually come in for a lot of support in the last couple of days where I saw the likes of 40/1 quoted which I’d have jumped on truth be told!
Good Luck to everyone in this years Grand National, I am sure it will be a race to remember. I hope you have enjoyed my blog and given you some sort of direction on where to bet. Our selections will go our to full time customers, Grand National Day Pass customers and Aintree Festival Customers!