With the dust still settling from am amazing Cheltenham Festival. We now turn our attention to the biggest race of them all the Aintree Grand National. An amazing spectacle for any sports enthusiast, it will be watched by millions around the world.
Forty horses will go to post to see who can win the most coveted prize in National Hunt racing and the task of picking the winner is as difficult as they come. A race known as a lottery among racing folk still leads to hours of study to try and unearth that winning runner. It’s like a badge of honour to say “I backed the National winner”, so with that in mind, here are my thoughts:
Tiger Roll –
Last year’s winner Tiger Roll will probably be the best backed favourite in a long time for this race. He was our nap of the Cheltenham Festival and he delivered brilliantly with a jaw dropping performance. Won this race by a head last year and looks to have improved again this season so it will not shock anyone to see him win for a historic second time.
His odds are the only reason I won’t be backing him, with forty runners and so much luck in running needed it wouldn’t appeal to me to back him at the current cramped odds but I will gladly cheer him on if he wins. It would be an amazing achievement and he is a horse I adore.
Rathvinden is the mount of Ruby Walsh so immediately the eye is drawn. A previous winner of the four miler in Cheltenham he is a lightly raced 11 year old with no stamina issues. His recent reappearance at Fairyhouse when winning the Bobbyjo Chase showed he’s in good health and hopefully he gets the luck needed to survive this marathon contest. It would be a typical racing narrative to see Willie Mullins land the National after winning his first Gold Cup just three weeks ago.
Jury Duty –
Jury Duty is one of Gordon Elliott’s ten contenders on the day with Robbie Power taking the ride. The fact that Robbie takes the ride is a huge positive. A horse who finished third to Presenting Percy in the Pertemps a few seasons back he has a very decent record since he started chasing.
He has some strong form in the book and although the fences will be an unknown, he does look like the extra distance could be a positive. His recent run in Down Royal was very encouraging and if taking to the fences he could run a big one.
Step Back –
Nico De Boinville will take the ride on the Mark Bradstock trained Step Back. An interesting contender considering he’s only had six runs over fences, but he does have plenty going for him. A delicate horse according to his trainer he has won a big field handicap in Sandown already so that experience could be vital. He won that day by 13 lengths and although he’s up 12lb he still could have more to give.
He lost a shoe in his last race so that could explain his lack of bite at the business end of things. He will need a good start but if he gets into a rhythm up front he does look to have the stamina to kick for home.
It’s a race to enjoy watching with family and loved ones and the best of luck to you all, whatever you back this weekend.
Selections (prices at the time of writing)