17:15 – Grand National Handicap Chase (Grade 3) – 4m2½f
The long wait is over and the Grand National is finally here! Last year was hugely successful for us with one of my favourite horses in Tiger Roll winning the race, tipped up on this site at 14/1. This year our hero is back, but fancy prices like that are long gone.
Tiger Roll started his season at Cheltenham in November when jogging around in a Cross Country Handicap, and wasn’t seen again until February when contesting the Grade 2 Boyne Hurdle. The race that day was only supposed to be a prep-run for Cheltenham the following month, and Gordon Elliot had stated he was nowhere near fully fit. Sent off a 25/1 shot, Tiger Roll tanked through the race under Keith Donoghue and won easily by four lengths. The fact that this incredible little horse was able to win a Hurdles race over two-and-a-half miles is unheard of for a Grand National winner, and just proves how adaptable this horse is. One of his best performances to date came at the Cheltenham Festival last month, where Tiger Roll made it back-to-back wins in the Cross Country Chase. Again tanking around under Keith Donoghue, the Tiger stormed clear of his rivals in unbelievable style to score by a massive twenty-two lengths without coming off the bridle. As far as I see it Tiger Roll looks better than ever this season, and if he gets around then he will take some stopping. With the prices pushing out to around 5/1 this morning, he is undoubtedly short, but he looks a classic ‘each/way bet to nothing’. This horse has already served me so well over the years, and I’m not going to give up on him here because of his price. COME ON THE TIGER!
Tiger Roll Each/Way @ 5/1
Away from the favourite, my second selection comes in the form of Sue Smith’s Vintage Clouds. A reserve in this race last year when sadly not getting in for connections, this grey almost made up for it when finishing a very good third in the Scottish Grand National at Ayr a few weeks later. This Trevor Hemmings owned charge returned to the track at Haydock in November when staying on extremely strongly in the last 100 yards to win, proving this horse stays extremely well. His preparation wasn’t perfect however, pulling up in the Welsh National at Chepstow in December. Connections found him to have a breathing issue after this however, and rightly decided to give the horse a wind operation in January. This proved to be exactly what the horse needed, with Vintage Clouds staying on extremely well at the Cheltenham Festival to finish third in the Grade 3 Ultima Handicap Chase. He gets into the National at number 33, meaning he only has to carry a mere 10-4 under top Jockey Danny Cook. If he takes to these unique fences, he should be staying on past the elbow and looks a solid each/way selection.
Vintage Clouds Each/Way @ 16/1
At a bigger price, my third selection for the race this year is Tiger Roll’s stablemate Dounikos. A Grade 2 winner as a Novice Chaser, this Gordon Elliot charge has had a bit of tough time since. Seventh in the Paddypower Handicap Chase at Leopardstown over Christmas, Dounikos fell at the second last in the Thyestes Handicap Chase at Gowran in January. You would be forgiven for thinking he was a horse worth writing off at that point in his career, but Dounikos proved that to be all wrong when winning the 3m4½ Grand National Trial Handicap Chase at Punchestown in February. He should be able to stay the trip, and at a big price he looks worth chancing each/way under the inform Jack Kennedy.
Dounikos Each/Way @ 28/1
Good luck with all your bets in the Grand National, and let’s just hope that all horses come back safe and sound no matter what happens.
Elsewhere at Aintree on Grand National Day:
13:45 – Gaskells Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) – 3m½f
Nestor Park Each/Way @ 8/1
14:25 – Mersey Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) – 2m4f
Brewin’upastorm @ 7/2
Umbrigado Each/Way @ 9/1
15:00 – Maghull Novices’ Chase (Grade 1) – 2m
Ornua @ 9/2
15:40 – Liverpool Hurdle (Grade 1) – 3m½f
If The Cap Fits Each/Way @ 7/1
16:20 – Betway Handicap Chase (Grade 3) – 3m1f
Mister Malarky Each/Way @ 6/1
18:20 – Conditional Jockeys’ and Amateur Riders’ Handicap Hurdle (Class 2) – 2m½f
Scheu Time @ 5/1