Racing Advice. Grand National Insights
Here's Dave's great insights's into the upcoming Grand National!
Grand National Insights
I'm back after a short pre-Aintree break but it's full focus on Aintree from now.
I'll say this – Venetia seems to have remembered how to train winners over the past few weeks and a few of hers are going to be interesting over the next few days now, and one of hers could creep into the frame at a huge price in the National as well, if she's got them back to form. So don't dismiss them.
I have already looked at the Aintree Bowl as well and I'll be against Might Bite tomorrow. But that's tomorrow. For now, enjoy the rest of the Pinstickers.
The sort you can see taking to the Aintree fences, as he was clean and crisp at his obstacles when winning from the front at Ascot last November, but he’s another that badly needs the rain to stay away if he’s to hold a solid chance, with all his best form coming on a sound surface. Trainer having a bloody awful season as well – just five winners from 116 runners since the turn of the year at the time of writing. Enough to put me off.
Shot to the top of plenty of lists for this after his win in the X-Country at the Festival and that’s not the only time he’s shown plenty of stamina, having won the 4 mile National Hunt Chase there the year before. Yet to tackle the Aintree fences but that’s about the only negative you can find, with trip and ground both likely to be ideal. Top yard have other good chances too. Shortlist material all day long.
Patchy doesn’t even begin to describe his form figures, tends to pop up when you least expect it (or have written him off) so that fact he won at Ascot when last seen is of no help when trying to work out what side of bed he’s got out of today. However, got round last year and was staying on to finish eighth, so if he fancies it again, has outside chances.
Vieux Lion Rouge
Was one of the early favourites for this when the betting started last year but since then, has found both others improving past him and three starts from him this year have hardly seen him sparkle. A good record over these fences and a nice looking weight are the big plus points, but the yard have had a pretty moderate season and he probably wants it to dry up a bit as well. Not ruled out, but others are preferred.
Given a peach of a ride by Patrick Mullins to get him home in the 4m National Hunt Chase at the Festival this year, as his stamina for that was in some doubt. Looked shattered afterwards though, and has another half a mile to go here, so needs to have got over it pretty quickly. Needs to cut out the odd jumping error as well, and when you add it all up, he might have a bit on his plate here.
Looked like he might be the Second Coming after thrashing a decent field at Navan last year but in truth he got an easy time of it up front that day and he’s never repeated the dose since. Stamina to prove, burst blood vessels last time, and not hard to see the petrol needle running empty a long way from home. And there’s no BP Garage at Valentines.
Chase The Spud
Can’t have it wet enough (ooo-er), slow as a boat but stays forever, as he showed when winning the Midlands Grand National in 2017. However, two terrible efforts in the Welsh National and Eider Chase, both decent pointers for this, need forgiving and unless it’s near unraceable conditions, may simply find others a bit too quick.
Likeable individual that’s definitely got a big handicap in him, only just touched off in the valuable Skybet Chase at Doncaster last time and that came off the back of a good effort at Newbury too. Into the unknown as far as this trip goes, but a generally a solid jumper and not hard to see him going well for a long way.
Nicely weighted for one that’s got a touch of class, including a victory over one of the highest rated chasers in Britain (Bristol De Mai) in a match at Carlisle back in 2016. Lightly raced since then, and has clearly had his issues, but handicapper has given him a real chance and he looks just the type to take to a test such as this. Should stay and is one to be interested in.
Gas Line Boy
Record over the Aintree fences mixed, two falls but also a win and a good fifth in this last year (when hampered). Nothing wrong with latest third at Sandown in a Veterans Chase either but is now 12 years old, and maybe his chance of winning has passed. Nevertheless, should give you a good each-way spin for your money.
Had looked to have found his level but took it to new heights when thrashing a decent field at Haydock in the Peter March. However, handicapper gave him a right shoeing for that and he found life a lot harder back there in February, pulling up. Not hard to think there’s better handicapped horses in the race and plenty on here.
Winner of the Bobbyjo Chase at Fairyhouse back in February 2017 and a decent ninth in this race last year off the back of that, but backward steps since then and was pulled up a bit too quick for comfort at Gowran Park whe last seen. Has had a short break since then, which might help, but not really for me.
Travelled like the best horse in the Irish Grand National recently, but rather put the brakes on coming to the last and ended up finishing fourth. Might be that he has his quirks, but even if he doesn’t running in this so quickly after such a Herculean effort is surely going to prove too much.
Hadn’t been with Gordon Elliott all that long when sixth in this in 2016 and as far from cooked when unseating at Bechers the second time around last year. Excellent second to Anibale Fly in the Paddy Power Chase over Christmas and then found heavy ground all against him last time. Needs it to dry out but is the right age, with a top yard, and is close to the top of the list for me.
Placed twice in the race (second in 2015, third last year) and although pulled up twice this year, the soft/heavy ground this winter would be all against him. Another that needs the ground to dry out, and with Tom George having a cracking season, there’s no saying that even at the age of 12, he can’t squeeze himself into the frame once again.
Tends to wear his heart on his sleeve, and you can expect to see him up there from the word go, but miles behind Tiger Roll at Cheltenham and hard to see where the necessary improvement is coming from. You’re likely to be beeved off backing this one. (I’m here all week. Try the veal.)
Raz De Maree
Has danced every big dance there is in these long distance chases, often with tremendous credit and showed that his age of 13 (okay, he was 12 then) is no barrier when winning the Welsh Grand National on his last start. Unseated last year through no fault of his own, and indeed got round to finish eighth in 2014. Softer the better and you should get a good run for your money.
I Just Know
Some of the smartarses put him up when the weights were announced, as he looks nicely weighted, the yard have had the winner (Aurora’s Encore) in the past and he should have the necessary stamina for this after his win in the North Yorkshire National, but looking at it through my cold, soulless eyes, I wonder whether he has that touch of class needed for this. Bit disappointing at Uttoxeter last time, too.
Easy winner over the Mildmay fences last summer but that’s probably as good as he is, and at no point have I ever looked at him and thought “could win a National, that”. Needs quick ground to show his best too, and it’ll be a big surprise to me if he’s around at the business end.
Baie Des Iles
Has a victory in the 2017 Irish Grand National trial to his name, which at least bodes well as far as his stamina goes, form since then a bit in-and-out but ran well enough against moral Irish National winner Folsom Blue last time to think he’s still got it. Won’t mind any further rain and could go okay at a price.
First, the plus point – he has at least completed over these fences when 10th in the 2015 Topham. Now the negatives – looks outclassed, is not in any form to speak of, and has stamina doubts. Probably wins by ten minutes.
Ought to have a really big handicap under his belt by now, unlucky not to win the 2017 Kim Muir at the Festival but stuffed out of sight in the same race this time around, although the ground being like soup wouldn’t have helped. Did at least get round in this last year but the 6 O’Clock News had already started by the time he passed the post.
The greatest horse never to have won a bucketful of top-quality handicaps as his jumping always held him back. Finished 12th in the 2016 edition of this and although he won a good Veterans Chase at Sandown in January with his trademark strong finish, hard to see how he improves on that here.
Wins have tended to come in small fields, hasn’t been seen much in recent times and was pulled up, looking tired, when last out in the National Trial at Punchestown. Looks an unlikely winner.
The 2014 Gold Cup winner that hasn’t won a race since then. He won’t be winning this one either, although he did finish seventh last year. However, he’s another year older, so can’t see how he improves on that.
Likeable type that has experience of these fences, having finished sixth (badly hampered) in the Grand Sefton here in December but he’s improved a bit since then, and won his warm up over hurdles for this at Ayr last month. Could be that he’s got a bit more in the locker, won’t mind soft/heavy ground and could surprise a few at a good price.
Houblon Des Obeaux
See “Tenor Nivernais”. Lovely old boy that owes nothing, having frequently outperformed big odds in top class chases but best years behind him and hard to see him improving on his tenth of last year.
Bless The Wings
More letters than numbers in his form this year, and that’s never a good thing, but there’s Cheltenham X-Country win to his name in the middle of it all. That’s the crumb of comfort if you fancy him, that and the fact he has completed here (albeit in 2015).
Made all to win the Betfred Classic at Warwick in January, a change of headgear and more positive tactics proving key. Has run well since then and did nothing wrong when trying similar tactics in the Midlands National latest, finishing second. Can be a bit moody and has downed tools in the past but there wouldn’t be a dry eye in the house if Bryony Frost can steer him home in front.
Slower than treacle, but not as tasty. Third in the Welsh National the highlight of his season, although only just touched off in the Badger Ales in atrocious conditions. Likely to plug round but might be dark by the time he gets home.
Arguably looks well treated on his third to future Gold Cup winner in the 2016 Hennessy and fairly lightly raced since. Came back to a bit of form when fourth in the Kim Muir latest and has twice completed over these fences. Of the old boys at big prices, he makes more appeal than a few.
Road To Riches
Possibly the most poorly-named horse in the field. Often well fancied for big handicaps but blows out more often than not, and it doesn’t take Mystic Meg to see that’s the likely scenario again here.
Thunder And Roses
Form figures of FPP are hardly what you want coming into a Grand National. Hasn’t won since the old Queen died and no hope here. The “housewives choice”, no doubt. And Axl Rose fans.
I hope you found that useful :-)
Information courtesy of the Daily Punt.
Posted on 12th April 2018