We’ve teamed up with BetVictor and Charlie McCann to produce a pin-stickers guide to Saturday’s Crabbies Grand National.
The world’s most famous horse race takes place at Aintree this weekend and below is BetVictor’s pinstickers’ guide to the maximum 40 strong field. BetVictor are already ‘Non Runner - No Bet’ and bet Each Way six places on the great race.
Lord Windermere BetVictor odds 40/1
Last year’s Cheltenham Gold Cup winner who was pulled up on soft ground in last month’s renewal. No horse has carried more than 11st 6lbs to victory since the great Red Rum back in 1974 but a class act and the forecast good ground a positive.
Many Clouds Bet Victor odds 20/1
Last year’s winning jockey (Leighton Aspell) takes the ride on this season’s Hennessy Gold Cup winner who didn’t fire in the Gold Cup last month. Ground looks to have gone against him but represents owner (Trevor Hemmings’) looking for a third win in the race after Hedgehunter in 2005 and Ballabriggs back in 2011.
Unioniste BetVictor odds: 20/1
Runs in the colours of John Hales who owned the 2012 winner Neptune Collonges. This grey is bidding to become the first seven-year-old to win the race since Bogskar in 1940 and this might be 12 months too soon.
Rocky Creek BetVictor odds: 9/1
Finished fifth in the race 12 months ago when it looked like his stamina gave way on the long run-in. Likely to be ridden with more restraint than last year and looked better than ever when landing a valuable race at Kempton last time.
First Lieutenant BetVictor odds: 33/1
Has been a class act in his day and jockey Nina Carberry would become the first female to ride the winner of the great race. The handicapper has given him a chance and the drying ground is a positive but has never looked a thorough stayer and might find the petrol running out as he crosses the Melling Road for a second time.
Balthazar King BetVictor odds: 9/1
Finished runner up in the race 12 months ago behind Pineau De Re and is 5lbs better off for the 5 lengths he was beaten. Eleven-year-olds have won the last three renewals of the race and connections will be praying that the weather forecasters have it right and that we are in for a dry week.
Shutthefrontdoor BetVictor odds: 6/1 Favourite
Won the Irish Grand National last spring and has been laid out for the race since winning at Carlisle back in November. It is the last National ride of 19-time champion jockey AP McCoy who rode the winner back in 2010 with Don’t Push It in the same colours of JP McManus. If he takes to the unique National fences he must have every chance of providing a fairy-tale ending to McCoy’s record-breaking career.
Pineau De Re BetVictor odds: 20/1
Won the corresponding race 12 months ago and bidding to become the first horse since Red Rum back in 1973-4 to win the race in successive years. Has a new jockey in Daryl Jacob, who rode Neptune Collonges to victory in 2012, and this looks a better race than 12 months ago but looks sure to run well with whole season geared towards a repeat success.
Ballycasey BetVictor odds: 33/1
The only entry of legendary Irish trainer Willie Mullins, who had such a magnificent Cheltenham Festival, and who saddled the winner of the race a decade ago courtesy of Hedgehunter. Has never won at 3miles let alone over further and stamina to prove.
Spring Heeled BetVictor odds: 20/1
A winner at last year’s Cheltenham Festival and has been laid out for the race with the drying ground a positive. The yard haven’t had a winner this year but the same could be said this time last year when they came good in the spring. A leading candidate if he takes to the fences.
Rebel Rebellion BetVictor odds: 40/1
A previous winner over the National fences, but another who has never won over three miles let alone four-and-a-half; looks sure to run well for much of the race but likely to cry enough when the going gets tough.
Dolatulo BetVictor odds: 40/1
Won a valuable handicap at Wetherby on Boxing Day but didn’t exactly look a natural when well beaten over the National fences earlier in December although he wasn’t beaten too far. Has been running over hurdles in recent starts and wouldn’t want the ground to dry out too much.
Mon Parrain BetVictor odds: 50/1
Sean Bowen’s Saturday success on the well-backed Virak at Haydock gave him a 10th chase career success over fences and the 17-year-old conditional jockey takes the ride. Finished runner up in the Topham four years ago so the fences hold no terrors but jockey bookings suggest he is not the first string from the yard of Champion trainer Paul Nicholls.
Carlito Brigante BetVictor odds: 66/1
Formerly trained in Ireland by Gordon Elliot and laid out for the race by his new yard; his recent prep race for the National was the same Hurdle event that Ballabriggs 2011 and Auroras Encore 2013 took in before going on to National glory.
Night In Milan BetVictor odds: 33/1
The drying ground is a plus for the nine-year-old who tackles the National fences for the first time but has always looked a likely Aintree type if his stamina holds. At his best on a flat left-handed track on good ground and he is likely to have his optimum conditions but is he good enough?
Rubi Light BetVictor odds: 66/1
Seems to have been around for ever but still only ten and has won his last two starts; at his best on soft ground over two-and-a-half miles on a right-handed track. Has none of those conditions at the weekend and readily overlooked.
The Druids Nephew BetVictor odds: 12/1
Winner at the Cheltenham Festival last month but regular partner Barry Geraghty is injured and Aidan Coleman takes the ride. If he takes to the fences, and I think that is a big if, a leading contender for trainer Neil Mulholland who has had such a magnificent season.
Cause Of Causes BetVictor odds: 16/1
Winner of the four mile race for amateur riders at Cheltenham last month so stamina is unlikely to be an issue for this Irish challenger. Trainer Gordon Elliot saddled Silver Birch to land the National back in 2007 and certainly has another fancied runner on his hands this weekend.
Godsmejudge BetVictor odds: 20/1
Hasn’t won since landing the Scottish National nearly two years ago but this is his time of the year and you can put a line through his early season form as he doesn’t like soft ground. Will have everything in his favour this weekend although he has never tackled the Aintree fences and his ability to handle them must be taken on trust.
Al Co BetVictor odds: 33/1
Won last year’s Scottish National at Ayr and will appreciate the better ground but was pulled up on his sole start over the National fences. His supporters will suggest that run was on soft ground and you will see an improved round of jumping this weekend but his regular pilot misses the race through injury and others preferred.
Monbeg Dude BetVictor odds: 33/1
This former winner of the Welsh National is owned in partnership by former England Rugby Union centre Mike Tindall who is, of course, married to the Princess Royal’s daughter Zara Phillips; was beaten 20 lengths in the corresponding race twelve months ago and drying ground considered a negative.
Corrin Wood BetVictor odds: 50/1
The McCain family will always be associated with the National but this inmate is unlikely to give the family a sixth win in the race and second for Donald who saddled Ballabriggs to score back in 2011. Can go well fresh and was considered a potential star as a novice but things haven’t gone to plan this season.
The Rainbow Hunter BetVictor odds: 66/1
Only got as far as Valentines’ in the corresponding race 12 months ago, and has only had one start in the interim 12 months when pulled up at Kempton back in February. Trainer Kim Bailey saddled the winner back in 1990 with Mr Frisk and reports his inmate to be working very well in the run-up to the race.
Saint Are BetVictor odds: 33/1
A dual former winner at this meeting and finished ninth in the National as a seven-year-old a couple of years ago to Auroras Encore. Has a bit to find with Oscar Time on Becher Chase running back in December but this is his time of the year and the better ground will suit. The each way selection of BetVictor Brand Ambassador Michael Owen.
Across The Bay BetVictor odds; 50/1
Has not had the best of the luck in the race for the last couple of years and was again unfortunate to be brought down in his prep race at Cheltenham in the Kim Muir last month last month. Owned locally on Merseyside and another likely to be trained to the minute by Donald McCain.
Tranquil Sea BetVictor odds: 100/1
Former Grade 1 winner in his native Ireland but no 13-year-old has won the race since Sergeant Murphy back in 1923. Had a touch of class in his pomp, will enjoy the ground but stamina must be a concern for this marathon test.
Oscar Time BetVictor odds: 33/1
Almost old enough to vote but last year’s Becher Chase winner who finished fourth in the National in 2013 and runner up to Ballabriggs back in 2011. No 14-year-old has ever won the race although Peter Simple was 15 when he landed the prize back in 1853; gets on superbly well with dentist-cum-amateur jockey Sam Waley Cohen and weighted to run a big race.
Bob Ford BetVictor odds; 66/1
A confirmed mud-lark and it looks as if the ground has gone against this dour stayer who won a war of attrition at Ffos Las on his penultimate start. Makes little appeal unless the heavens open.
Super Duty BetVictor odds: 66/1
Only a nine-year-old but doesn’t appear to be as good as he once was and hasn’t won for over two years. Is slipping down the weights as a result, however, and has run well at Aintree in the past although has never been around the National course.
Wyck Hill BetVictor odds: 50/1
Another who will be disappointed that there is no rain forecast in the build up to the race; his age group (11-y-old) have won the last three renewals of the race and he stays forever but he was taken out of his comfort zone when trying for back-to-back wins in the Eider Chase over 4m on good ground last time and makes little appeal unless the forecasters have it wrong.
Gas Line Boy BetVictor odds 66/1
Not the best of jumpers over regular park fences and would be very surprised if he took to Aintree; good luck to whoever takes the mount as he might need it.
Chance Du Roy BetVictor odds; 40/1
Finished sixth in the race 12 months ago and has an excellent record over the fences having won the Becher Chase back in December 2013 on soft ground. Has only had two runs so far this season and again has strong each way claims although he might lack the touch of class needed to get his head in front.
Alvarado BetVictor odds: 16/1
Got going far too late but finished with a rare rattle to be a never nearer fourth in the race last year and likely to be ridden more prominently at the weekend. Is 9lbs better off with Pineau De Re on Saturday and certainly won’t be inconvenienced by the forecast good ground. A must for the shortlist.
Portrait King BetVictor odds: 66/1
Irish raider who won the Eider Chase at Newcastle back in 2012 and has plenty of stamina, but has never struck me as a potential National winner and readily overlooked.
Owega Star BetVictor odds: 66/1
Irish raider whose stamina must be taken on trust but was a decent novice chaser and ran a cracker when runner up in the valuable Troytown at Navan back in December when trying to give 15lbs to the winner.
River Choice BetVictor odds: 100/1
French raider whose numerous career’ wins have all been on soft or heavy ground and he has never won beyond an extended two-and-a-half-miles. Hard to make a case for.
Court By Surprise BetVictor odds: 50/1
Not seen the track since finishing runner up in the Badger Ales Trophy to the subsequently disqualified The Young Master at Wincanton back in November. Goes well fresh, sound jumper and will think he has been let loose with only 10st 3lbs on his back.
Ely Brown BetVictor odds: 100/1
Has only had four career starts over fences but has won half of them, has plenty of stamina but will his inexperience catch him out in such a big field?
Royale Knight BetVictor odds: 25/1
Despite being second string from the yard of Dr Richard Newland, who also saddle last year’s winner Pineau De Re, this talented nine year-old should not be underestimated. Has been kept to hurdles since landing a gamble at Sedgefield back in October and is a very lively outsider.
Duke Of Lucca BetVictor odds: 66/1
Won over fences on the corresponding day last year and has been plying his trade in X Country races of late running moderately at the Cheltenham Festival last time. Has never struck me as a National type and others make more appeal.
Soll BetVictor odds: 20/1
Better than ever since making a belated seasonal reappearance at Exeter back in February and put up a career best when winning in first- time blinkers at Newbury last time. Trainer David Pipe saddled Comply Or Die to win the National back in 2008 and this ten-year-old finished seventh in the race back in 2013 when in another yard. Best form with plenty of cut in the ground and any rogue showers would be appreciated.
Baileys Concerto BetVictor odds: 100/1
Will love the decent ground but has never won beyond two-and-a-half-miles and he will do well to remain competitive after they have crossed Bechers ‘ Brook on the second circuit.
Raz De Maree BetVictor odds: 50/1
Finished eighth to Pineau De Re in 2014 and the ground is likely to be too quick for this dour stayer who was last seen finishing runner up to fellow Irish raider Goonyella in the Midlands’ National at Uttoxeter last month.
The Package BetVictor odds: 33/1
Landed a gamble when winning the Kim Muir in first time blinkers at Cheltenham last month but his stamina appeared to give way in last year’s National when he was beaten more than 60 lengths. The better ground will suit and he is very attractively weighted if his stamina holds.
Broadway Buffalo BetVictor odds: 50/1
Finished runner up in the National Hunt Chase at last month’s Cheltenham Festival where he showed he is as equally adept on a fast surface as on soft or heavy ground. As a seven-year-old this might come a bit too soon but he is at the right end of the handicap and is clearly progressing well.
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