The wait is over and post time is almost upon us. The Aintree Grand National gets underway at 5.15pm on Saturday and this year’s edition is a very tricky one to assess. With a full field of 40 horses lining up to take their chance at the £1m race, it isn’t easy to pick the winner. The shortest priced winner since 1960 has been 13/2 so that gives you an idea of how competitive the race is from a betting point of view.
Run over 4 miles, the Grand National is the most extreme test of stamina and durability that any horse will face and it takes a certain type of horse to win the race. The race is always unpredictable and it is getting more competitive every year. This is reflected in the starting prices of the last five winners – 33/1, 25/1, 25/1, 66/1 and 33/1. It is also worth noting that Tote dividends have been much higher than the bookies SP for these last 5 races.
Aside from great battling qualities, the winning horse must also have a bit of luck on his side and throughout the years often the luckiest horse, not the best horse, has come out on top. We have looked at some of the more interesting horses in the race and hopefully we might steer someone on to winner.
One horse that is benefitting from the ground coming good is the Trevor Hemming’s owned Vicente. Winner of the Scottish Grand National in 2016, this horse was then bought by multiple Grand National winning owner Mr. Hemming’s and has been aimed at this race all season.
Wonderful Charm will be ridden by Katie Walsh who finished 3rd in this race five years ago. Having finished runner up in the Foxhunter’s at the Cheltenham Festival – Katie will be hoping to ride a big winner and this would surely be the biggest of all. Already a winner of the Irish Grand National, Katie knows what it takes to win the biggest races.
The last horse to carry top weight to victory in this race was the great Red Rum in 1974, The Last Samurai is hoping he can end a losing streak for horses at the top of the weights. Despite the big weight, he is not without a chance. He is not the biggest horse and will be staying on when others are faltering towards the end. He loves Aintree and if he can get in to a nice early rhythm he can go very well.
Cause OF Causes will be a hugely popular horse in the betting and he has ran well in the race in the past. A winner at the last 3 Cheltenham Festivals, he is a 9 yo with a huge amount of experience. He has good form here having finished 7th in this race two years ago – that was a very good performance considering he was so young. A couple of years older now he can go well, the only worry is he was aimed at the Cross Country at Cheltenham and may not have fully recovered from his emphatic victory over a big distance less than a month ago.
The horse that is perhaps the most interestingin the race is the Nigel Twiston Davies trained Blaklion. A winner of the RSA at Cheltenham in 2016 he will love the good ground and he will appreciate the step up in trip. He finished 2nd in the National Trial at Haydock to favourite for this race Vieux Lion Rouge, he will be hoping to go one better in the big one. Jockey Noel Fehily gets the ride on him and he has spoken of his excitement ahead of the ride on Blaklion. His trainer is returning to form and has been amongst the winners this week already. Blaklion has lots going for him – a nice weight, a top jockey, ground and trip to suit. Come 5.30 on Saturday afternoon, the lion could be roaring into the winner’s enclosure at Aintree.
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