Ceebee previews the Grand National and he has bets on Lakeview Lad, Anibale Fly and Mall Dini.
Grand National 4m2f Aintree
We are just over 2wks away from the Aintree spectacular on Apr 6th and maybe it’s a bit of a Cheltenham come-down, but I’ve profiled the likely challengers. There are 13 horses listed below – I’d be disappointed and somewhat surprised if anything outside of this lot is involved in the finish. The Grand National is not the lottery it once was; it is a high-class staying handicap chase. Non-stayers, out of form or simply badly handicapped horses have no chance.
Five firms are betting NRNB and another two are already betting 6 places each-way so getting involved early may not be a bad idea.
Tiger Roll 5/1 – we have to start here as he’s making the market but at the prices I have serious worries. As short as 7/2 in a place he’s one of the shortest priced horses I can remember in the recent Grand National years. 9lbs higher this year he’ll need to be a much better horse than 12mts ago and whilst Cheltenham suggests he is, I’d be a little sceptical. Was his Cheltenham win any better than last year’s Cross Country? Auvergnat the 2nd fav didn’t run his race and many of the rest of them were exposed past it yokes. He was also trained specifically for Cheltenham this year, that was the peak. Tiger Roll is only a pony so carrying 11-5 (presumed) rather than 10-13 (last year) may have a negative impact. He’s also bidding to be the first back to back winner since Red Rum in 1974 – many good ones have tried; the extra weight, recovering from the previous year and general luck in running are factors against. 5/1 – no thank you.
Anibale Fly 12/1 – Was 4th last year after filling the same position in the Gold Cup a month previous. He was even better in this year’s Gold Cup, 2nd beaten 2.5L (due to go up 6lbs to 170 for it) – The GC wasn’t as gruelling a slog this year so should be a better prep. He was a touch free in the early stages of the 2018 GN, raced wide and didn’t quite get home on heavy ground. Despite being 5lbs higher now I believe he can get closer than last year’s 4th. In form, off the back of a lighter campaign, experience of jumping around Aintree, his class alone will get him into it. A rock-solid chance despite the big weight to be carried.
Blaklion 50/1 – races here off 156. He was 14/1 when racing off 161 last year (fell at the first), 4th in 2017 when badly ridden (went for home far too soon) off 152. Becher winner over these fences off 153 in Dec’17. So basically, he handles the course very well and isn’t terribly handicapped now. Only 10yrs old and he has had light enough season – there could be a big one in him. Recent change of stable may also etch out some improvement. I’d rather he has shown a little more on his recent hurdles start.
Lake View Lad 20/1 – winner of both the Rehearsal Chase & Rowland Meyrick this season. Both decent 3m handicap chases that have worked out very well. He’s still in great form having run well for 3rd in the Ultima off this mark (due to be raised 3lbs suggests he’s better handicapped than most). An in-form prominent racer who has plenty of important staying chase experience yet may still have a few lbs in hand, ideal profile.
Rathvinden 12/1 – 2018 Cheltenham 4 mile winner tells us this trip is fine for him. He won the Bobbyjo Chase on his seasonal reappearance so in good form and technically now 5lbs well in. The strength of that form is highly questionable though. Is 11yrs old but lightly raced and actually making his handicap debut. Has been trained for this race and one run before the big day worked just fine for Al Boum Photo. Obvious chance but at 10/1 he’s too short for me. I think some of the younger ones will be too strong form him.
Rock the Kasbah 25/1 – form of his Cheltenham Nov win has worked out very well. Maybe his next effort came too soon so it is excusable? And he finished 2nd in the 3m5f Bet365 last Apr so has strong staying handicap chase form and on the best of his form this mark isn’t too stiff. I’d have liked if he showed something since December.
Ramses De Teillee 33/1 – Technically 5lbs well in having ran well in the Haydock GN Trial. 2nd to a well handicapped sort in the Welsh National before that. He is only a 7yo but has plenty of experience, races prominently, is in decent form, potentially well-handicapped and definitely stays 3 and a half ok. There’s 40/1 available in one-spot, that’s too big.
Mall Dini 25/1– technically a novice as he remains a maiden over fences but experience is not an issue and has only tried to win on a handful of times so I wouldn’t be too bothered by that maiden status. A close 2nd (2018) and a badly ridden 5th (2017) in the Kim Muir, off 143 both times, suggests this mark of 148 is ok. He stays 3miles very strongly and has been trained with nothing but this day in mind. He had a fine prep over 2miles recently. Sean Flanagan rides and will have a great chance.
Up For Review 33/1 – Thyestes (went very wide) and Ultima (clattered 3 out) suggest he can bag a big win off this mark. He was a strong stayer over hurdles but may need time to recover from Cheltenham and may need plenty of rain to be at his best so skipped over for now.
Ms Parfois 33/1 – her style of racing from the front and the effort required in a 4m soft ground prep are not positives for her chances here but she stays well (2nd in 4miler) and is tough out. Probably a bit better than her mark of 146 having been G2 & G1 placed. The 4miler was as a 7yo novice so she can be better than that effort now. I can see her run well but whether she can beat them all off is unlikely. 33/1 on the day would be a fun each-way bet for your money.
Pairofbrowneyes 40/1 – just won a very competitive renewal of the 3m Leinster National. Ticks the in-form and well-handicapped (went up 9lbs for that win) boxes but the trip would be a big question-mark. This wouldn’t have been his seasonal long target either, Willie might wait for Fairyhouse? so others preferred.
General Principle 40/1 – made bad mistakes at a key point when pulled up in the Ultima, he’s better than that. Won the Irish Grand National last year and the form has worked out fairly well. Just 5lbs higher here if there is plenty of give underfoot and he takes to the fences he’ll be added to the list of selections.
Walk in the Mill 33/1 – won the Becher Chase with a strong staying performance and has been trained for this ever since. Creeps in at the bottom of the weights, has plenty of chasing experience, strong stayer at 3m2f and won over these unique fences – ticks plenty of boxes. May just not be good/classy enough int his company?
Vintage Clouds 16/1 – placed in the Welsh (4th, Jan’18) and Scottish (3rd, Apr’18) Nationals as well as the last two runnings of the Ultima at Cheltenham he’s a consistent staying chaser. He recent 2nd in the Ultima was arguably a career best which technically leaves him with 5lbs in hand. Races prominent and definielty stays 90% of this trip it’d be no surprise at all were he on the premises jumping the last; good enough to go win it in a deep field – I don’t think so.
1pt e/w Lake View Lad at 20/1 with Ladbrokes and Coral
1pt e/w Anibale Fly at 12/1 with William Hill
0.75pts e/w Mall Dini at 28/1 with William Hill