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Six Tips For Aintree's Grand National Including A Monster 66/1 Shot

Six Tips For Aintree's Grand National Including A Monster 66/1 Shot
By Aonghus Ó Maicín
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Whether or not you claim to have an interest in the so-called sport of kings, Grand National weekend is different. Everyone dips their fingers into the form book for a race that's as close to a lottery as it gets in sport.

The race itself may not attract the highest class of horse, but it generates special memories that live through the decades in a way no other race can. Whether it's Foinavon emerging from a sea of hapless bodies or Red Rum's famous retention of the race or Devon Loch's abrupt halt coming up the home straight, the race is never short of drama.

On the other hand, it's not exactly a favourable race for punters, given the many variables to be considered in the event. Still, the thrill still takes us all in.

But what do you need to look for in a Grand National horse? In simple terms, they need to be able to jump well facing daunting obstacles like The Chair, Becher's Brook and Valentine's. In addition, they need to be carrying no more than a lenient weight that enables them to run all day. This isn't just a marathon; this is the marathon of marathons with fences most humans are unable to even look over.

Nevertheless, a few horses catch the eye and make the cut in our list of Grand National tips.

Tiger Roll 4/1

There are a number of reasons making last year's winner of the race perhaps easy to oppose. He's hiked up the weights, he just about made the line ahead of Pleasant Company 12 months ago and, most startling, he would be the shortest-priced favourite to win the race for around a century.

But the Gordon Elliott star has shown all the form to suggest he's more than capable of defying the arguments against him. His performance in the Cross Country Chase at Cheltenham was arguably the best performance of the week, after he stormed clear by 22 lengths up the famous hill.


He only won by two lengths last year before continuing on to win the big Aintree event, suggesting the Gigginstown runner is in better form than ever. If the improvement continues, it will take a damn good horse to overtake the primed nine-year-old coming up towards to stands.

Anibale Fly 12/1

A top-weight winner of the National may be as rare as hens' teeth, but having entered the frame in the last two Gold Cups the Tony Martin runner must be considered. The manner in which the Gold Cup runner-up breezed up the Cheltenham hill hunting Al Boum Photo backs up his form from last year's race when he come home in fourth.

He's two pounds higher this year - not exactly a harsh penalty - and must be in with a big chance of landing his trainer - Gordon Elliott's former mentor - his first win in the race.


Producing a flawless round of jumping - there were a few minor blips last year - would see JP McManus' first-string having a major say in the outcome of this year's running. His form may not be anywhere near as impressive as Tiger Roll's; at the same time, he has yet to go anywhere remotely as far as this trip since last year.

And this looks like the trip he'll relish more than most.

Pleasant Company 16/1

For last year's runner-up, the two runs so far this season have been fairly uninspiring. Both of those runs may have come around the three-mile mark, though they're still not very heartening. The very same could've been said, however, coming into last year's race which saw him almost catch Tiger Roll at the post.


The fact Willie Mullins is having a sensational season must also be added to the equation, plus the fact that he ran commendably in the race in 2017.

It's clear the 11-year-old keeps his best performances for the Liverpool track and with Paul Townend, fresh off a win in the Gold Cup, the Mullins camp clearly feel they're not without a chance.

Should Townend employ similar tactics to those used by David Mullins last year, this runner won't be too far from the head of affairs late on.


Joe Farrell 16/1

There were anxious times in the Rebecca Curtis yard during the week, but her runner just about crept in at the bottom of the weights. Curtis may not have the name of some of her rivals in the field, but this is a runner not to be overlooked.

Winning last year's Scottish National was Joe Farrell's most impressive race to date, but his subsequent two runs have also been noteworthy, especially his last run at Newbury last month. On that occasion, he was carrying considerably more than he will be at Aintree.

Jumping the larger obstacles, meanwhile, shouldn't be an obstacle since he's never not finished a race in a career spanning 17 outings.


In fact, there isn't much evidence to argue against the Curtis-trained horse. If the horse was running out of a yard like Mullins' or Elliott's, he would surely be much shorter in the market.

General Principle 33/1

This is another runner carrying quite a lenient weight. Since winning last year's Irish National, the Elliott runner has been fairly busy, heading for the racecourse on five occasions. After entering the frame in his penultimate start at Punchestown over three-and-a-half miles it's clear the Gigginstown runner enjoys long treks.

The Cheltenham Festival was somewhat disappointing for him, after he pulled up when hampered by a faller at the last. Dounikos is another Elliott runner who got the better of General Principle in February, but with the weights altered the gap between the two should narrow.


JJ Slevin is back on board for the first time since last April's win at Fairyhouse and, at long odds, he isn't without a shot in a race that has produced plenty of long-shot winners throughout the years, including a 100/1 gamble as recently as 2009.

Valseur Lido 66/1

If there's one race throughout the year worthy of taking a punt on a horse at considerable odds, it's the Grand National.

Of the runners making up the numbers at the bottom of the market, Valseur Lido commands attention.

To start, Henry De Bromhead is renowned for producing very capable jumpers, a trait that obviously comes in very handy tackling these obstacles. The 10-year-old came home in eighth place last year and while he hasn't produced anything to write home about this season, he is coming into the race carrying over a stone less in the ratings.

It must also be noted that he hasn't gone further than three miles, except narrowly on one occasion. Again, he has the look of a horse screaming out for the distance and with bookmakers paying extra places, he's a very solid bet with an each-way shot.

SEE ALSO: Barry Geraghty Out Of Grand National With Suspected Broken Leg

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