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Grand National 2019 – Race Preview

The Grand National is here! Around 70,000 fans will pass through the Aintree turnstiles on Saturday to watch the most famous race in the world, with an additional 600 million from 140 countries tuning in on TV.

Last years winner, Tiger Roll, is favourite once more and will prove a hugely popular choice for punters and Syndicate Captains if the Irish thoroughbred manages to overcome his short odds and triumph again. He’s certainly up against it though as no horse has won back-to-back Nationals since the legendary Red Rum won in 1973 and 1974, before making it three in 1977.

Read on for race facts, views from our Captains and an extensive preview of every runner and rider.

 

Race Facts

 

The tallest and broadest fence on the course is ‘The Chair’, standing at 5 foot 2 inches tall. Its name derives from a time when one of the course judges used to sit beside it.

Four horses have won the National in consecutive years; Abd-El-Kader (1850-51), The Colonel (1869-70), Reynoldstown (1935-36) and Red Rum (1973-74). Tiger Roll has it all to do.

Only three greys have ever won the race; The Lamb (1868 & 71), Nicolaus Silver (1961) and Neptune Collonges (2012).

Since the turn of the century, four jockeys have won the National at their first attempt; Ruby Walsh, Niall Madden, Liam Treadwell & Ryan Mania.

Five 100/1 shots have won the race, but only one in the last 52 years (Mon Mome, 2009).

 

View From The Captains

 

The Grand National wouldn’t be the Grand National without some expert analysis, so we asked five of our Captains for their opinions on the big race and you can read their extended thoughts here. However, if you simply want the tips, read on.

 

Captain: TwoPoundPunt

Winner: Pleasant Company

One To Avoid: Don Poli

 

Captain: mattbisogno

Winner: Tiger Roll

Outsider: Dounikos & Jury Duty

One To Avoid: Any Willie Mullins or Nicky Henderson horses

 

Captain: borisranting

Winner: Vintage Clouds

Outsider: Ultragold

One To Avoid: Tiger Roll

 

Captain: thehappypunter

Winner: Anibale Fly

Outsider: Tea For Two

One To Avoid: Vintage Clouds

 

Captain: MLT

Winner: Tiger Roll

Outsider: Bless The Wings

 

Runners & Riders

 

Cheltmental rates every runner and rider in the 2019 Grand National

 

A superstar of a horse and he’s still only a 9yo. Last year’s Grand National winner who comes into this race in rude health having landed a Grade 2 hurdle prep run before slamming his rivals at Cheltenham in the Cross Country. He’s quite simply a very good horse and he has a genuine chance of back to back wins in the race.

Rating: *****

Well fancied for this race 12 months ago after placing in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Went one better in that race this season and runs off just a 5lb higher mark. Badly hampered at the first in this race last season but ended up finishing an 11 and a half-length fourth, which was a decent effort. Arguably prefers more ease in the ground but second in the Gold Cup last month on GS eases my worries and he’s had a much calmer season this time round. Carrying top weight is always a concern but he’s a major player.

Rating: ****

Another real typical National type, in that he’s a ‘grind it out’ kind of horse and is a graded winner. Hacked up at Fairyhouse in preparation for this race and is a dour stayer, having landed the 2017 4 Miler at Cheltenham on soft ground. Looks one of the more obvious contenders and I’d give him a proper chance with some luck in-running (has been brought down and forced to make mistakes before).

Rating: ****

Arguably Trevor Hemmings best chance and was not beaten by much in the Ultima at Cheltenham last month. That run came after a wind operation and he won round here in 2017. Certainly, looks one of the more solid runners and must have a good chance on ground which will suit

Star Rating: ****

Owner Trevor Hemmings loves sourcing horses for this race and this horse has been flying this season. His mark now looks high enough but does look a real stamina horse so it would be no surprise to see him run well for a long way

Star Rating: ***

Last season’s Scottish National winner who ran well only a couple of weeks ago at Newbury. Will need another career best effort to land this but ticks more boxes than most

Star Rating: **

Last year’s second and he was beaten by just a head. 4lb higher than that race but comes in off the back of a couple of similarly disappointing runs. Ground would be a slight issue, however, as he was well beaten in the race in 2017 on GS but he did stumble in the race too. Relishes the test and has a chance

Star Rating: ***

 

Has been an in and out performer throughout his career and I’m not convinced this track is his ideal. Has been kept fresh for this race and I wouldn’t be worried about his mark but he’s not my idea of the winner

Star Rating: **

Runs here off a very lenient looking mark after winning in fine style last month at Down Royal. I would be worried about whether he really would stay this far but well worth a try and at least looks to have some wiggle room of his mark

Star Rating: ***

Has age against him for this race, being just a 7yo, but has some nice form including finisging second in the Welsh National. Might be one for another season but capable of making his presence felt at this stage of his career too

Star Rating: ***

Lightly raced 9yo whose best form came in first time cheek pieces. Two starts since then have been underwhelming but hard to completely rule out despite needing a career best.

Star Rating: **

Trainer took a risk not running him over fences after a comfortable win round here in December to protect his mark. Unexposed as a stayer and that light weight will give him his best chance to show what he can do. This would have to be a genuine chance but it does demand more than he’s shown to date

Star Rating: ****

2017 Grand National Winner who appeared to have everything going for him that day when jumping and travelling well throughout. Missed last season and has unseated on his two efforts this term. Looks up against it based on that but, if you take his National win into account, he’s feasibly treated.

Star Rating: **

Looks weighted up to require a career best and while he stays better than some this might be a bit too far even for him

Star Rating: *

Not a prolific winner and certainly has patchy form but won well recently on better ground. Looks like he’ll enjoy this test but others appear to be on healthier marks

Star Rating: **

This horse was second in the 2017 Gold Cup and won at the 2016 Festival in the four miler. Looks a typical National type away from his jumping and, despite finding some form, he is dangerously treated on some of his older form. Risky player in a risky race but if on a going day he’s a huge price

Star Rating: **

Seems to show his best form in smaller fields so ,given the nature of this race, he’s one you’d be keen to take on. I’d expect they’ll try and get him out in front for him to have his best chance

Star Rating: *

He’s never been the best jumper even as a hurdler but he’s capable of being involved off his current mark if keeping his mistakes to a minimum. Another who screams out as a National type and was going well enough when falling round here over the National fences in December. Beaten by a nose in last year’s Scottish National when giving the winner a stone on good ground.

Star Rating: ***

Had a try round here in December and ran ok despite being well beaten. Well behind after that last month at the festival and he probably has his work cut out on figures, although he should enjoy the trip more than those two runs this season, which came from a long absence

Star Rating: *

Has been reasonably fancied for this race the last couple of years but has been well beaten both times. Doesn’t look like the real stayer this race requires and has pulled up at the last twice. He is now back down to the same mark as his first attempt in the race when seventh at 66/1. That’s about as much as you could expect here

Star Rating: *

Split between this race and the Topham but, given his age and stamina, this probably is the best race to run in. Pulled up at Cheltenham last month but looked as though he would prefer going right-handed and would want slower ground. For those reasons he’s opposable

Star Rating: *

Has finished third, second and first in his three starts since joining Nigel Twiston-Davies but is up 10lbs because of it. Wouldn’t scream out that he’s a National type and stamina would be a concern but comes here in good heart

Star Rating: *

A very frustrating horse given he should have won far more than a single chase. I wouldn’t be completely convinced he wants this test but I do think he travels well so, if he doesn’t get detached, you could see him running into a place. His attitude is a major concern though.

Star Rating: **

Another Trevor Hemmings horse but was pulled up in the race last year and doesn’t really look like he wants this trip. His stable is in great form this season and the jockey booking of Harry Cobden are both positives

Star Rating: *

Well fancied outsider in the race last year when he unseated his rider. Runs off a 1lb lower mark but still question marks about stamina.

Star Rating: **

Wouldn’t scream out to be wanting this trip and has often run below expectations. Others preferred.

Star Rating: *

Has run ok in two of his four runs round here and did complete in the 2017 renewal of this race off a 1lb lower mark. Might not be the most obvious contender but he jumps well in the main and could sneak into a place if he doesn’t get outpaced in the latter stages.

Star Rating: **

Similar form as last season when a well beaten eighth in the race but better ground would be a plus and 12lbs lower now. Interesting runner but not certain to stay.

Star Rating: **

Ran in the Midlands National which was only three weeks ago. That looked a tired performance by the end but he does stay all day. However, he is known to need effort to keep going. 12yo now which is another negative.

Star Rating: **

You’d expect his best chance to be in the Topham after landing that race twice and stamina is not assured here.

Star Rating: *

Won at this meeting in 2017 but hasn’t won since and this season hasn’t suggested there will be a revival just yet. Unseated in the Cross Country which is clearly not ideal coming into this.

Star Rating: *

Very interesting contender given her form earlier in the season but looks up against it at the weights and this will be a whole new test.

Star Rating: *

Has been hurdling on his last two starts both at 3m but has some fair chase form over the years. Big question mark about his stamina but does shape as though a slower paced race throughout could see him in a better light so not completely without a chance.

Star Rating: **

Poor early in the season but some encouragement on his last start. Not the most straightforward runner and he looks high enough at the weights.

Star Rating: *

14yo who has been below his best, unsurprisingly, this season. Came third last year off the same mark but place hopes again might be optimistic.

Star Rating: *

Has had a very poor season since winning well on his chase debut. Won’t lack experience, given that he’s been kept busy this season and his best form comes at shorter trips, he’s hinted that he’ll become a dour stayer. Others would have better cases to be made for them but, if this quirky horse shows his best, he’s not without a chance

Star Rating: **

Available to purchase in the Thursday Aintree sales and he’s a 5-time winner over fences including 3 Grade 1’s. Last won in November 2017 and last season into this he’s looked a shadow oh his former self. He’s always been known as a tricky horse to catch right and Leopardstown has been his best track over the years. No look round here and that recent form are major concerns.

Star Rating: *

Another available to purchase in the Thursday Aintree sales and another who has five wins over fences to his name and three of those came in Grade 1’s.  He’s also got landed a first and a second here so does have course form and has always shaped as a Grand National type. Very classy horse on his day but winless in nine starts since 2015 and has been pulled up in two of his last three including at Aintree in December. Wouldn’t be a complete shock winner of the race but it would be a surprise

Star Rating: **

 

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