The most watched event in horse racing takes place this Saturday at 5:15pm at the famous Aintree track in Liverpool. The Grand National is the race that defines our sport, attracting everyone from the hardened jumps fan, to the casual punter and also the annual gambler. This race gets everyone talking about horse racing for one day at least.
Everybody will be having a bet on the race and hoping their big price fancy crosses the line first, giving them the bragging rights of backing The National winner. It’s often referred to as a lottery of a race and luck can play a massive part in the outcome.
Taking up a prominent position in the race can help in that regard, as there’s less chance of interference from fallers and loose horses when your horse is up front. The current expected going is soft, so that could lead to an even more unpredictable outcome, but hey, that adds to the fun.
Of course like every year, there are forty runners and riders competing but we’ve focused on a few in particular in the hope we can keep our good record in this race going.
BAIE DES IIES 16/1
Officially rated 145, this seven-year-old is going to gain a lot of support on the day and I can understand why. The mare’s form is very strong having finished third behind Folsom Blue and Isleofhopendreams in her last run and 5th in The Welsh National. Having Katie Walsh on board is also a plus and the fact that her husband trains the horse makes it a massive story waiting to happen.
This horse finished 4th last year having run a superb race but his jockey set sail for home a little early in my opinion and ran the finish out of him. A fantastic horse with a very good record around Aintree, having won the Becher here in December, and he looks a massive player in this years renewal.
Blaklion is one of the form horses of the season and will be an attractive bet for many, yet the one negative is his last run. He finished legless in very bad ground and it remains to be seen how badly that’s affected him. His trainer will be hoping he has freshened him up enough and with a better-timed run, he could be at the business end of things once again.
PLEASANT COMPANY 40/1
This a horse I wanted to highlight simply because of how well he ran last year. He stumbled very, very badly at Valentines the second time round and it was a race ending blunder but up until that point there was no horse jumping or travelling better. Although he did eventually fade tamely, given how bad the mistake was it is understandable.
I’m always a little wary when you see a horse travel well under Ruby Walsh, as the ace jockey is so stylish in the saddle that horses sometimes look to be going better than they actually are but this was an eye-catching performance. His form has been a big worry this season but if he sparks he could run well at a big price.
ANIBALE FLY 11/1
This is JP McManus’ main hope in the race and it’s our first selection for the big race. Although officially rated 159 for the race, he’s 8lb well in after his Gold Cup third he and looks just the progressive type to do well in this race. Having Barry Geraghty on board is a massive plus and this marathon trip could pull out even more improvement from Anibale Fly. Having won the Paddy Power earlier in the season, it seems he’s finally living up to his novice potential. He is a very classy animal that trainer Tony Martin has looked after well, getting him back on track after a poor spell. If he gets the necessary luck in running, I believe he could be hard to peg back.
WARRIORS TALE 50/1
Warriors Tale is our second selection for this years race. The Paul Nicholls nine-year-old is a big price and hopefully will out run those odds on Saturday. Carrying 10st 11lb he has a lovely racing weight, and is unexposed over marathon trips so fingers crossed that should bring improvement.
His form has been solid this season, with L’amie Serge finishing behind him and Wakanda just in front on his last outing. He also boasts hurdles form that ties in with last year’s winner, One For Arthur, which can only be a positive. He’s finished in the top 3 nine times out of his 13 runs over fences so he used to being competitive, and if he takes well to this unique challenge, he could run a massive race.
There are plenty more horses we could talk about, so keep an eye on our twitter feed for all our selections for Saturdays races and some more Grand National pointers. Hopefully we have a successful running this year and everybody comes home safe.
It’s the most exciting race of the year so enjoy the build up and be lucky.