The biggest horse race in the world takes place at Aintree on Saturday evening. Here is our pinstickers guide to the Grand National, looking at each of the 40 runners, their current best odds and a ‘star’ rating (out of 3), with our final bets for the big race.
✮ Thunder And Roses (best price 80/1)
Out of form, unseated in this last year & fallen the last twice. It’s not exactly the ideal preparation & he’s easily passed over.
✮✮✮ Blaklion (14/1)
4th in the race last year when looked all over the winner 2 out. Some put it down to him being a blatant non-stayer but maybe he needed to be held onto a bit longer. Despite being in decent nick so far this term, he is now 9lbs higher but his recent wind op may help. Shoulders a big weight but should be in the mix.
✮✮ Anibale Fly (12/1)
Vying for favouritism off the back of an excellent staying on 3rd in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. That is top class form & he looks to be well handicapped off a mark of 159. Won the Paddy Power Chase in December, beating 27 rivals, & looks like an out and out stayer but is short enough in the betting.
✮✮ The Last Samuri (22/1)
2nd in this 2 years ago off 10lbs lower but poor last year. Running well & goes ok on the ground but others look better treated. His best chance of winning this race has probably passed.
✮ Valseur Lido (100/1)
Out of form & question marks over where he’ll really stay. Had a hard race less than 2 weeks ago & probably hasn’t had enough time to recover.
✮✮ Total Recall (12/1)
I’m not convinced he’ll stay this far on this going & despite running well to a point in the Gold Cup, a fall isn’t the ideal preparation & 12/1 is too short with question marks over how that will have affected his confidence.
✮ Alpha Des Obeaux (40/1)
You need to have won a chase over at least 3 miles to stand a chance & this fella hasn’t. Would prefer better ground too.
✮✮ Perfect Candidate (80/1)
Pulled up last year when more fancied than he is today. Big price judged on his win at Cheltenham in November & could go well but would be a surprise where he to win.
✮✮ Shantou Flyer (33/1)
Has had limited chances at distances beyond 3 miles so you’d be unsure if he stays. Was going backwards when pulled up last year & the forecast heavy ground will make it even more difficult. That said, he’s in decent form.
✮ Tenor Nivernais (125/1)
Probably doesn’t stay. Out the back last year & has only been seen out twice this year, running poorly both times. No chance.
✮ Carlingford Lough (50/1)
Now a 12 year old, his best days are surely behind him. Has been running in top quality races but his tendency to clout a few on the way round is unlikely to go unpunished.
✮ Delusionofgrandeur (100/1)
Evidently failed to stay in the Edinburgh National & this softer ground will put an even bigger emphasis on stamina. That, and the fact he ran just 12 days ago, is enough to put me off.
✮✮✮ Tiger Roll (14/1)
Ticks all the boxes, with the only negative being how he’ll handle the ground. If he does, he’s my idea of the winner with his liking for a big field & stamina assured. I like a horse coming here from the cross country circuit as they understand the fences, being so different to running in a standard chase.
✮✮ Regal Encore (33/1)
Just as likely to finish 1st as he is to finish last. Won last time out but putting in 2 good runs on the spin is unlikely. I’m not sure he wants the ground as deep as this. Ran well in 8th last year & every chance he can improve on that run.
✮✮ Vieux Lion Rouge (33/1)
Has looked a non-stayer in the last 2 renewals but he’s more mature now. Having said that, his form hasn’t quite the hits of past seasons.
✮✮✮ Chase The Spud (40/1)
One of the more likely outsiders. Won the Midlands National 12 months ago on soft so will certainly get the trip. Won at Haydock on his seasonal reappearance but has pulled up on his last 2 starts with no apparent excuses. Good chance if he can put those runs behind him.
✮✮ Warriors Tale (50/1)
A big question over him staying, especially on this ground, but he does have decent form & could go well for quite a long way.
✮ Seeyouatmidnight (14/1)
Well fancied & ran very well in the Scottish National 2 years ago. However, lightly raced types (just one run this season) worry me.
✮✮ Gas Line Boy (25/1)
5th in this last year & could go well again but he’s now a 12 year old & isn’t always foot perfect at his fences. The price is a bit skinny.
✮✮ The Dutchman (25/1)
Looks to have the right profile & could go very well but I’m a little worried by his last run where he had blood coming from his nostrils & was pulled up.
✮ Pleasant Company (33/1)
Bad error at Valentines last year put paid to his chances. Will like the ground but has shown nothing this year so I cannot be supporting him.
✮✮ Ucello Conti (20/1)
Talented but frustrating. No surprise to see a big run but his chance in the last 2 years has been spoilt by errors on the 2nd circuit when he’s getting tired. I fear the same again.
✮ Saint Are (66/1)
Has finished 2nd and 3rd in this race so should be hard to dismiss but age is against him, form is offputting & trainer has already stated he might not run on very soft ground.
✮ Walk In The Mill (100/1)
A late replacement but ground & distance appear to be the stumbling blocks to his chances.
✮✮ Raz De Maree (25/1)
A guaranteed stayer who will love the ground. No surprise to see him grabbing a place but he’s now a 13 year old & won’t have the pace to trouble the principles.
✮✮✮ I Just Know (22/1)
Has a great shout. Jumps well, likes to race prominently, will like the ground & there doesn’t appear to be any stamina doubts. He’s still young & improving and should go really well provided he’s not spooked by the occasion.
✮ Virgilio (80/1)
Off the track for 4 months & pulled out the last time we saw him. That’s enough of an issue for me to bypass.
✮✮ Baie Des Iles (18/1)
Ridiculous price now having been gambled on. Loves heavy ground but she’s just a 7 year old & her inexperience will put paid to his chances.
✮ Maggio (100/1)
Lightly raced & out of form but he’s a 13 year old. I just can’t see any reason why he’ll go well.
✮✮ Pendra (100/1)
Despite only being out once this season, I quietly fancied him to run well but the ground has gone against him & that means he’s unlikely to stay.
✮✮ Buywise (66/1)
Quirky type who won 2 starts ago & has got round in this race before. Probably doesn’t have the pace to win but should run ok.
✮ Childrens List (100/1)
Just 4 career chase starts. That sums up his chance to me.
✮ Lord Windermere (66/1)
Won the Gold Cup in 2014 & his best days are firmly behind him. Tries these fences again & might just hack round but no chance of being in the mix.
✮✮ Captain Redbeard (22/1)
Well touted for this &, if he stays, he could run well. But with all his form around 2 and a half miles, I wouldn’t be taking such a short price on one with stamina doubts.
✮✮ Houblon Des Obeaux (40/1)
Even his trainer says that his chance rests on how much the heavy ground slows down his rivals. Will like the ground & the distance (got round here last year) but it’s hard to see him winning.
✮ Bless The Wings (66/1)
Pulled up in the Irish National less than 2 weeks ago & is over the hill at 13. No chance.
✮✮✮ Milansbar (33/1)
Big price for Bryony Frost. Likes to race prominent, loves a true test of stamina & goes on heavy. He won the Warwick National, was 5th in the Eider & 2nd in the Midlands National. That’s top form to bring to the table & you’d have to be hopeful that, off a decent mark, he could go well again in another National.
✮ Final Nudge (50/1)
Finished 3rd in the Welsh National but has shown nothing in his last 2 starts. Reach for the cheekpieces again but I’d be surprised if they do the trick.
✮ Double Ross (100/1)
The price probably represents his chance. A regressive 12 year old, he’s one to avoid.
✮ Road To Riches (66/1)
Out of form & it’s hard to see him returning to his former glory here.
WON – Back Tiger Roll (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 17.00 Skybet BOG (⅕ odds 1-6)
Back I Just Know (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 21.00 Boylesports BOG (⅕ odds 1-6)
Back Chase The Spud (e/w) for a 0.5/10 stake at 41.00 Bet365 BOG (¼ odds 1-5)
PLACED – Back Milansbar (e/w) for a 0.5/10 stake at 34.00 Betway BOG (⅕ odds 1-6)