Grand National betting tips and preview

Hardest race to predict but the biggest race on our calendar where the nation like a bet no matter if they love this glorious sport or not, if you’re looking for a winner for bragging rights, then look no further then Tiger Roll, but if you fancy yourself more of a shrewdie that likes a price then delve further down the list at the likes of Ramses De Teillee 28/1, General Principle 50/1, Monbeg Notorious 80/1, either way have fun and enjoy the spectacle.
3 Tiger Roll 5/1 *****
Aims to make it back to back victories in this race since Red Rum in 1973-74 and the shortest priced winner in exactly 100 years, last year he won the Cheltenham festival cross country race gamely before tackling the National off a mark of 150 where he just about clung on from the faster finishing Pleasant Company, he tries to defend this race off a 9lb higher mark but has improved plenty since when destroying the cross country field at the Cheltenham festival meet, he won at a canter and with plenty more to give, although not pushed, you have to wonder what a performance like that takes out of a horse, he doesn’t want the ground drying too much either to be at his best. The most obvious winner if running close to his last performance but does have a couple of question marks and at his price of 4/1, it takes a brave person to have a lot of money on any horse in a Grand National and with just 10 winning favs in the last 100 years shows you how tough this is.
23 Ramses De Teillee 28/1 *****
Is progressive and unexposed over these staying trips, he had some nice novice form to his name last season and built on that this season, he won a Welsh Grand National trial on heavy ground before a crack at the big race itself after just 19 days rest where he ran a huge 2nd behind Elegant Escape, he was travelling the best of the field before getting the 4rd last all wrong, he recovered well and jumped the last 3 much better but just couldn’t get past EE but showed his stamina and grit and still only a 6 year old, he returned as a 7yo in the Grand National trial with another 5lb on his back when again another 2nd, he hit the front some way out, perhaps too early but looked to have the race wrapped up, when travelling well and jumping brilliantly, but got lonely upfront and ran about, when taken in the run in he showed he still had more in the tank and battled on and strong through the line, his due to go up another 5lb for that but escapes that here, so is well in, 7 year olds do have a bad record in this race, but he looks a class above his age group and looks a future Grand National winner, maybe just a year or two early, we’ll see.
33 Vintage Clouds 16/1 *****
Is owner Trevor Hemmings best chance of his 3 in the race, he’s had 3 winners in this race already and certainly targets it, Vintage Clouds is half brother to 2015 winner Many Clouds who won off a huge 11 stone 9 lbs when rated 160. Vintage whose only rated 144 ran in the Scottish national in 2017 on his 7th start and still no win to his name, he made plenty of mistakes but showed his stamina strengths to get as close as he did, he made a winning return last season over Aintree’s mildmay course when romping home by 18 lengths with the 2nd scoring NTO, he was only raised 8lbs for that which was lenient and then ran well in big races, placing in his next 5 which included another tilt at the Scottish National after missing the cut for the English national, he ran a screamer back in 3rd just 4 lengths back and made a winning seasonal debut at Haydock after 217 day break before a poor run in the Welsh Grand national which prompted an immediate wind operation. When last seen in a classy Ultima he returned straight back to form with a great run in 2nd, just not the pace of the winner Beware The Bear but staying on strongly to record a career best, he escapes the 5lb he’s due to go up for that performance which he leaves him looking well in and the ground also is perfect, huge chance if getting in running luck.
9 Lake View Lad 20/1 ****
Is a highly progressive gelding that’s having a fantastic season, he started with a win in a listed race at Newcastle and then followed up in a Grade 3 handicap win off 8lbs more at Wetherby with the form working out very well. He then went off top weight in the deep Ultima Handicap chase at Cheltenham festival where he ran a huge race back in 3rd, he’s due to go up 3lb for that again which he escapes here, so well in for this, ground in favour and looks a big stayer, he also travels and jumps extremely well, so a big player in this.
13 Rathvinden 9/1 ****
Willie Mullins best chance, he was last year’s National Hunt Challenge winner at Cheltenham over 4 miles before a respectful 4th in the novice champion chase at Punchestown to finish last season, he made a winning return this year from a huge 305 day absence beating a race fit Alpha Des Obeaux, he was given a mark of 159 for that race so he is 5lb well in, in this race, he proves he stays and goes on any ground, he’s also proved he goes well on flat sharp tracks, a big player.
20 Jury Duty 18/1 ****
Ran over 4 miles in the national hunt Challenge Cup at Cheltenham last season where he didn’t look to enjoy the trip on soft ground and was well beat before unseating his jockey. He’s returned this season with good improvement and recorded a career best LTO over 3m2f at Down Royal with a huge 10lb penalty on his back, he beat 155 rated Mala Beach by 6 lengths, which gives his mark a look of 171 if taking it literally, he runs off 151 in this which leaves him looking very well in, he does have to prove he stays this trip but looking so well in, he has to high on anyone’s shortlist.
34 General Principle 50/1 ****
Looks well handicapped he finished 5th in the Irish national in 2017 as a novice chaser off 140, he returned the season after running reasonably well before another tilt in the Irish national where he won by a narrow margin off 139, he’s a sound jumper and will love it if the ground stayed bottomless, he’s had a pleasing season and ran a big race in the Irish national trial when 3rd with the ground a little against, a line can be put through his latest race in the Ultima, the usual sound jumper made a big mistake when looking a big threat, it looked to of knocked the stuffing out of the horse and had a easy ride soon after eventually being pulled up, a lot in favour today for a big race.
1 Anibale Fly 16/1 ***
Ran a huge 4th in this last year after being badly hampered at the first fence and then positioned out wide the remainder of the race, that performance needs marking up and although 6lb higher this year he’s improved this season when a fantastic run and runner up in the strong Cheltenham Gold Cup where his best work was in the latter stages, his due to go up a further 8lb after this and although the class of the field and a big run expected, his weight of 11-10 is very much against, Many Clouds 4 years ago won off a mark 11-09 but before that, marks around this over 4 mile plus are too disadvantageous but big place claims barring no accidents with ground to suit.
6 Go Conquer 50/1 ***
Was well keen on this horse until the ground went against, he’s a past Grade 3 handicap winner at Ascot for Jonjo O’Neill and has been progressing well over the years, he took his form to a new level since the switch to Nigel Twiston-Davies and won a good listed handicap at Doncaster on good fast ground towards the end of January off 151, the 3rd won a good listed NTO, Go Conquer gets a 6lb rise which looks fair and he looks well equipped for the National with plenty of stamina and his excellent jumping, unfortunate to have underfoot conditions against.
11 Ballyoptic 50/1 ***
Was 2nd to Joe Farrell in the Scottish Grand National, he was a little unlucky, he jumped the last much better than the tired looking Joe Farrell and was gaining on him all the time but just missed out by a nose, he has a lb swing on Joe Farrell in this and looked more of a stayer so should reverse the form on that run but he has returned below par and only completed one of three of his runs where a well beat 6th in the Welsh Grand National, not one to back with confidence on this year’s displays, but if back on song he’ll be strong in the finish here.
10 Pleasant Company 18/1 ***
Ran a huge 2nd in this last year behind Tiger Roll, he was a little unlucky in timing as he had his head in front after the line, he’s looked a tad disappointing on returning this season, but a try over not so suitable hurdles and a eased down run at Gowran not showing his true colours, I’d say trainer Willie Mullins has been protecting his mark but does come here 7lbs higher than last year’s tilt, but does have a 2lb swing on Tiger Roll, interesting.
12 Dounikos 28/1 ***
Is relatively unexposed, was a Grade 2 novice winner just last season and then disappointed in his next 4 runs, he returned this season in better form even if inconsistent, he ran well off top weight in a deep handicap race at Leopardstown the end of last year before winning a Grand National trial at Punchestown off 147, he was hit with a 7lb rise for that win which is a little harsh for the form, but was staying on well and he’s versatile on any ground and open to further improvement, no surprise to him win this from 2lbs under his true 156 mark.
15 Rock The Kasbah 18/1 ***
Has a progressive profile and has improved since the application of blinkers, he showed his stamina when a good 2nd in the Sandown Gold Cup off top weight the end of last season, the form of the race is very strong, he backed that promise up when winning a decent form race at Cheltenham in November, he went up 6lb for that and while he does go on soft ground, the faster the ground the better, which looks to of gone against now plus is better going left handed, so while looking progressive and a sound stayer, there’s a couple of big negatives against to be all that confident.
17 Regal Encore 80/1 ***
Was a decent 8th in this race in 2017, he certainly stayed the trip even if well beat, he won over 3 miles at Ascot the season after in a weak listed handicap race as his prep for another tilt at the national before missing out for a vets WD, he returned this season in a hurdle as a leg stretch before a good run in a decent listed at Ascot when finishing 3rd, he tackles this race 2lbs higher than last time, but is better and we know he stays, I expect a good round from him but he doesn’t look like he has much manoeuvrability on his current mark and should find a few too good.
22 Monbeg Notorious 80/1 ***
Is tough to access, clearly has lots of stamina winning 3 mile point to point at the age of 4, he won his first 3 mile + trips over fences at the age of 6, he completed a hattrick of wins in the same season on bottomless ground, he finished the season as a runner up in the Irish Novice Champion Chase, he’s returned this season in not so hot form, while improving in every race he hasn’t built on last year’s heroics, but because of that, could be on a very good mark and if this trip sees his best coupled with his type of ground, he could look very well handicapped and one I like at a price.
26 Step Back 33/1 ***
The least exposed in the field and the big threat after being aimed at this since hammering the Grade 3 Sandown Gold Cuo as a novice on just his 4th start over fences the end of last season, he went up 14 lbs for his 13-length dominant display over Rock The Kasbaah, that’s turned out to be a good form race so the rise is justified and looks right. On his return after a break he travelled well through his race but tired quickly, obviously needing the run before a crack at a grade 3 handicap at Warwick where again travelling and jumping well in a strongly run race for which he was pushing and took it up early on, he looked to have a big say but like his fellow pace setters he tired out of the race quickly. He isn’t the biggest of horses which is a worry over these big fences and there looks plenty of pace on here so that will also be against but no surprise to see a big run from one that’s purely been aimed for this.
29 Up For Review 50/1 ***
Made his long awaited chasing debut early last year, he won on his 2nd outing in a very weak race, he ran a big 4th in the novice Irish Ryanair this time last year and finished the season with a win at Kilarney in good style with a exciting if not too late future, he made his seasonal debut in a good handicap at Gowran when a distant 3rd against race fit comp before a crack in the Ultima where well backed and looked a huge player travelling all over the field in the front rank until getting the 3rd all wrong and which knocked the stuffing out of him, he then was brought home on his own terms back in 8th, he certainly has big wins in him especially off this mark, whether it’s over this kind of kind of trip is another question but if he stays, he has a huge shout.
36 Walk In The Mill 28/1 ***
Looks fairly well exposed over fences but unexposed over these extreme staying distances with just the 5 runs past 3 miles with his record reading 13P31, he’ll relish the soft ground, he likes the national course with his last win over here when winning a strong Becher easily and only went up 8lb for that success, he’s been eased slightly since with 2 below par runs over hurdles, which blatantly protecting his mark over fences, has a huge say if he takes to the extra mile.
40 Joe Farrell 20/1 ***
The gamble of the race, mainly helped by Hugh Taylor putting him up, he just scrapped in by the skin of his teeth at number 40, still unexposed with just 8 runs to his name broke his duck on his 5th start at Newbury when hammering the field by 17 lengths, he was 11lbs under his hurdle mark, so was no surprise to see win the way he did, he went up 11lb for the success which got him a run in the Scottish national last season, he wasn’t the most fluent of jumpers but showed he was still well handicapped with scrambling home in front, he went up another 5lb for that and made a pleasing run off a big weight when last seen last month, he looks dangerous off bottom weight and be no surprise to see him win, however these fences find a lot of horses out that are not the best of jumpers, plus looks better on a faster surface.
2 Valtor 100/1 **
Is a little tricky to assess, the ex-French grade 3 winning gelding made a winning debut for his new trainer Nicky Henderson on soft ground late December, while looking exposed with 31 chase runs to his name already, he improved plenty and won convincingly by 8 lengths which seen his mark rocket to 160 which judging on form was harsh and not looking the strongest stayer of the field may see his new mark cause him problems, but again hard to gauge with just the 2 British runs to his name and may have more improvement up his sleeve for a top class trainer whose still chasing his first National winner.
5 Don Poli 150/1 **
Is another that looks against it, he’s a 3 time grade 1 winner which includes the RSA, he’s always looked a complete stayer and built for this race but he looks well below his past best and has only completed one of his last three runs where he was well in beaten against weak company, the ground will be onside thou and I am excited to see him over the national trip even if possibly 2 years too late.
8 Minello Rocco 50/1 **
Is something of a myth now, he won the national hunt chase at Cheltenham festival 3 years ago in front of a strong field which includes Native River over 4 miles which shows he has stamina, he went on to come a 2nd in a weak Cheltenham Gold Cup a year later, was touted with a big future but failed to live up to expectations since and a year break hasn’t done him any favours when seen in his 3 runs this season, the ground will be against but the staying trip may see his best light, but not one I could back with any real confidence but capable on his day.
14 One for Arthur 33/1 **
Won this race in 2017, he won very well travelling and jumping brilliantly, he suffered a leg injury which kept him off the track for 20 months, he returned over this course early December in the Many Clouds grade 2 chase, he made a big mistake at the 3rd causing him to lose his jockey, he followed that performance to his next event in listed handicap at Kelso where he made plenty of mistakes and again unseated his jockey at the 4th out, hard to fancy with no confidence him jumping these tough fences at all well and 6lb higher than when last tackling this race.
16 Warriors Tale 150/1 **
Pulled up in this race last year and looked a non-stayer, he’s won over 3 miles before and has showed good stamina but this looks that bridge too far, he’ll love the underfoot conditions and loves flat left handed tracks, he won over this course in December but the form of the race is very weak and he’s 6lb higher in this, due to go down 2lb after this, so not well treated and with big question marks on stamina, I’d oppose.
21 Noble Endeavor 66/1 **
Was 3rd in the 2017 Ultima Chase and a respectful 5th in the Irish grand National in the same season off a 4lb higher mark, he returned after 600 days off in the Becher where clearly in need of the run, he went on to run again in the Ultima where he looked outclassed and not the same horse as 2 seasons ago, he prefers faster underfoot conditions than this and also looks better without the applied cheek pieces, but looking on a good mark and still unexposed for his age I wouldn’t be surprised to see him run a big place.
24 Tea For Two 50/1 **
Is another that seems to have been around for longer than his age suggests, he was a novice Grade 1 winner over 3 miles winning the Kauto Star in 2015 but bettered that the season after when winning the Bowl Chase over the mildmay course at Aintree beating the mighty Cue Card, he was a 164 rated gelding after that but lost his way, a poor season after seen him switch yards from Nick Williams to his owners yard Jane Williams who certainly knows the time of the day, he made a promising start for his new trainer when a good 3rd after a 200 day break but has failed to build on that, but has quickly drooped down to 149, 15lbs lower than his mark just last season, he was going well when last seen in the Cheltenham Cross Country but slipped on landing around half way, could be dangerous if back on song, but risky.
37 Folsom Blue 80/1 **
May be a little long in the tough and struggle against younger legs, however he was the winner of the Irish National trial last year at Punchestown before a big 4th in the real thing, he was very unlucky with being badly hampered at the last, he easily lost 5 lengths but quickly powered home to get to within under 2 lengths of General Principle, he’s 2lb higher here which isn’t harsh but not a help at his advancing years and a very lacklustre season questions if he wants this anymore, huge odds thou if in the mood, one of the better outsiders.
4 Outlander 150/1 *
Not too long ago he recorded his 3rd Grade 1 success when winning the Champion Chase over 3 miles and was rated as high as 166 on his best form. Although a plugger, he doesn’t strike me as the best stayer in the field but the ground will be a plus. He’s dropped down to handy mark of 158 but is well out of form and is tried without the usual cheek pieces to try and spark a revival, too much against.
7 Mala Beach 80/1 *
Run in the Irish grand national 3 years ago and didn’t look to handle the trip, he since won a good handicap at Navan and beat a small field in a contest at Down Royal, he gets his ground conditions but there’s big doubts on whether he’ll stay the trip.
18 Magic of Light 150/1 *
Is the only mare in the field, she has a nice progressive profile, she’ll love the testing ground, she finished last season winning a mares handicap off 128 and carried on her form this season with an easy winner in a listed mares at Newbury and a grade 2 hurdle winner at Ascot, she’s quickly flew up the handicapper to a tough looking 151, 23 lbs higher than when finishing her last season and her last 3 wins have all been against her own sex, she’s yet to race past 3 miles but does give the impression she’ll stay but her jumping wasn’t the best when last seen in the deep Ultima at Cheltenham, looks too high in the weights and too many question marks to fancy.
19 A Toi Phil 80/1 *
Seems like his been around for years, but only 9 years old, but an exposed profile with 26 runs to his name, in his hay day, he was a 159 rated chaser, his best display was 3rd in the Irish Champion Chase at Punchestown around this time last year, but that was over 2 miles and hasn’t won past 2m5f’s which is a huge concern, he has run his last 2 races over 3 miles over hurdles and stayed well in them, but this is a different ball game and hard to see him get home in this.
25 Just A Par 200/1 *
Very exposed chaser, rated 150 over 2 years back for Paul Nicholls, had a shot at the national in 2017 when 53 lengths back off just 4lb higher mark, only 2 races since and a big trainer downswing when moving to James Moffatt yard, a lacklustre run in the Becher also dampens enthusiasm.
27 Ultragold 66/1 *
Loves this course with his record reading 1213 around here, his last win came the end of last season at this festival in the grade 3 Topham handicap, he jumped the big fences very well and nearly made all from the front winning this race for the 2nd year in a row, this time from 5lbs more, it’s a surprise to see him not try and win the race for the 3rd time in a row, but instead tries this marathon which on evidence of his last 2 races, he surely won’t get the trip.
28 Blow By Blow 150/1 *
Was Grade 1 bumper winner, he went on to win the Martin Pipe Hurdle at Cheltenham last year in fine style off a 144 mark. He won on his chasing debut at Galway in October this season but since has been well beat in some good races, not a natural stayer and looks like it won’t be long until his switched back to hurdles where his more of a natural.
30 Singlefarmpayment 66/1 *
Has just the one win to his name with 14 tries which is a worry considering this is probably the hardest race to conquer, that win was in a novice back in December 2016, bar a couple of falls, he is however very reliable in defeat with 4 close 2nds to his name off similar marks, he clearly thrives on faster ground which will be well against here, which means I will be too.
31 Vieux Lion Rouge 66/1 *
Knows this race well with 3 completed runs around here and has won over the course when winning the Becher over 2 years ago off 142 mark, he later in the same season won a good National trial which has turned out to be a good form race off today’s 146, while travelling well in his 3 national runs he did back out of the very quickly in the latter stages, so there’s a big concern he stays this trip and doesn’t look like his in the mood after his last 2 runs when pulling up.
32 Valseur Lido 100/1 *
Is very exposed, he’s a 3 time grade 1 winner, twice in novice company, the last in November 2016 in the Champion Chase at Down Royal, since has been on a 13 race losing run, but the once rated 169 gelding has now dropped to 146, 23lbs lower, which on form isn’t enough and was a well beat 8th in this last year off 12lbs higher, hard to fancy.
35 Livelovelaugh 80/1 *
Just looks to be making up the numbers, he’s a better hurdler than a chaser and doesn’t look a stayer, no doubt be well backed because of the name, but a big swerve.
38 Captain Redbeard 80/1 *
Is a nice horse to own, he’s been very consistent the last few years and has given the owner/trainer great days out, he looks to have hit a ceiling on his ability and has no movement on his current mark, he ran in the national last year and fell at the 7th early on which mirrors his other efforts around this course with struggling at the big fences on 2 other previous runs, while a likeable horse, he’s not suited for this.
39 Bless The Wings 150/1 *
The oldest horse in the race will surely find it tough at his age, the once rated 154 gelding ran some big cross-country races and was big runner up in the Irish national just 2 years ago off 137, but running off 143 in this is certainly too way too tough. Big swerve.

Russell Blair Racing

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