Tom’s Best Two Bets For The 2018 Grand National
Selection: 3 Anibale Fly (each way) @ 11/1 with Paddy Power (six places)
Value outsider: 19 Gas Line Boy (each way) @ 33/1 with Paddy Power (six places)
6 Total Recall – Willie Mullins
Only had 4 starts for current stable. Major improver. Wins Limerick, Hennessy at Newbury, Leopardstown hurdles, fell in the Gold Cup when going well. Big chance but impact of that fall unclear. Has plenty of weight.
13 Tiger Roll – Gordon Elliott
Not a dissimilar profile to last year’s 2nd, Cause Of Causes. The ultimate Cheltenham specialist, won at the Festival in 2014 (Triumph), 2017 (NH Chase) & 2018 (X-Country). Hard as nails but can he go again so soon after a battle around that gruelling venue? Under 11st and Davy Russell are big positives.
2 Blaklion – Nigel Twiston-Davies
Trained by the man who won this race in 1998 & 2002, Blaklion went off 8/1f when 4th in 2017. Ridden aggressively there, he’ll be more patiently campaigned this time. Won the Becher, 2nd in the Grand National Trial. Big weight but major claims.
3 Anibale Fly – Tony Martin
Geraghty had the choice of five…this lad is 9lb well in after his staying on third in the GC. Won a €110k pot at Leopardstown in December. Hard as nails to do what he did in Cheltenham after a heavy fall in Feb.
28 Baie Des Iles – Ross O’Sullivan
Ridden by Katie Walsh who was 3rd on Seabass in 2012, trained by her partner, Ross O’Sullivan. 5th in the Welsh Grand National of 2016. Warmed up with a 3rd in the trial race at Punchestown. Grey mare, gambled from 50/1.
18 Seeyouatmidnight – Sandy Thomson
Third in the Scottish Grand National two years ago, he’s only been out once this year but has the significant help of Brian Hughes and a light season. Scotland won this with One For Arthur in 2017.
4 The Last Samuri – Kim Bailey
Twice placed in the Becher Chase & 2nd in the National 2016 so knows his way around the big fences better than most. Was down the field in 2017 and had a tough prep when gambled on 3rd for the Cross Country (sent off 11/4f) won by Tiger Roll at Cheltenham.
1 Minella Rocco – Jonjo O’Neill
Withdrawn due to Soft (Heavy) ground, replaced by first reserve Thunder and Roses
- Thunder And Roses – Mouse Morris
Irish Grand National winner in 2015 but no win for the ensuing three years and struggling form any encouraging recent form.
22 Ucello Conti – Gordon Elliott
2lb lower in the handicap than when unseating at the 22nd (2nd Bechers) in 2017. Rock solid 2nd to Anibale Fly at Leopardstopwn at Christmas time. Come here fresh but was disappointing when last seen, failing to complete in the Thyestes.
34 Captain Redbeard – Staurt Coltherd
Another chance for Scotland. Has won a 3m point-to-point but has to be a stamina question given that with one exception, when 2nd to The Dutchman in Haydock’s Peter Marsh in January, he has done all his racing below 3m. Cleverly placed to warm up for this with a hurdles win at Ayr.
20 The Dutchman – Colin Tizzard
Joined the Tizzard team for this season (ex-Sandy Thomson). Highlights for new stable are a Grade 3 Hurdle place and a win (beating Captain Redbeard) in the Peter Marsh. Stable flying now which wasn’t the case when The Dutchman pulled up in the GN Trial at Haydock in Feb. Each way squeak.
26 I Just Know – Sue Smith
Stable won this race in 2013 with 66/1 shot Aurora’s Encore. Very strong stayer, I Just Know powered home to win the North Yorkshire Grand National at Catterick over 3m 6f in January.
19 Gas Line Boy – Ian Williams
Likeable veteran from an in-form stable who has won over the fences this season, taking December’s Grand Sefton Chase. Operates on a range of ground and despite being a big price shouldn’t be dismissed. Was 5th at 50/1 a year ago.
37 Milansbar – Neil King
11-year-old, credit to connections. This will be his fifth major handicap of 2018! Won the Classic Chase at Warwick, fifth in the Eider, second in the Midlands National. Hard to see him winning a National at the end of a very busy season, but clearly loves his racing.
25 Raz De Maree – Gavin Cromwell
One of three 13-year-olds in the field (others are Bless The Wings & Maggio), 8th in the race in 2014, unseated at the 6th fence (Becher’s) in 2017. Had his big day when brilliant in the Welsh National in Chepstow in January. A much loved but unlikely hero.
14 Regal Encore – Anthony Honeyball
Last year’s 8th when sent off at 33/1. Won his prep race at Ascot in February and also stayed on well for a lucrative third in the Hennessy at Newbury in December. Not discounted.
15 Vieux Lion Rouge – David Pipe
2016 Becher Chase winner over the big fences, also 7th and 6th the last two years in this event. Also successful in 2017 Haydock Park Grand National Trial.
7 Alpha Des Obeaux – Mouse Morris
8th in the 2017 Irish Grand National. Trainer won this two years ago with Rule The World. For his part ADO is talented but an infrequent winner, warming up for this with a placed effort behind Presenting Percy in the Galmoy Hurdle, followed by a mid-division finish in the Irish Gold Cup. Ace jockey Rachael Blackmore would be a first ever female winner.
21 Pleasant Company – Willie Mullins
9th in this a year ago off a 1lb higher mark. Would need to return to form to be involved, having been out with the washing in two outings to date this time around, though never put a line through anything from this stable.
9 Shantou Flyer – Richard Hobson
Solid and consistent, will be right at home if the ground remains soft. Pulled up in this a year ago for a different stable, arrives here off the back of an excellent 2nd in the Ultima Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.
12 Vicente – Paul Nicholls
Has failed to complete in four of his last nine outings and fell at the first in last year’s renewal. However, loves Ayr and has won the last two runnings of the Scottish National. Very strong stayer but not much has gone right for him this season, unseating at Cheltenham and pulling up at Chepstow.
11 Carlingford Lough – John Kiely
5-time Grade 1 winner but no win for close to two years and is now a 12-year-old. Hasn’t sparked in four outings this season.
35 Houblon Des Obeaux – Venetia Williams
Stable won this in 2009 and are currently in red-hot form, rattling in eight winners already this week! Was 10th in this a year ago but comes here off the back of a busy schedule which includes being pulled-up in the Eider Chase at Newcastle.
17 Warriors Tale – Paul Nicholls
Lively outsider who has been purchased since his last outing by leading owner Trevor Hemmings. 2nd to Wakanda in the Sky Bet Chase, has never raced further than three-and-a-quarter miles.
36 – Bless The Wings – Gordon Elliott
Star of a horse who has twice been placed in the Irish Grand National. However, is 13-years-old now and must surely be vulnerable to younger legs? Magnificent stayer but fell in the X-Country race at Cheltenham and was maybe feeling that when pulled up at Fairyhouse just 12 days ago.
31 Buywise – Evan Williams
12th in this race in 2016. Won a big pot at Sandown Park in January and warmed up there over hurdles a month later. Another lively outsider.
16 Chase The Spud – Fergal O’Brien
Victorious in the 2017 Mildands Grand National at Uttoxeter, but hasn’t fired the last twice, failing to complete in both the Welsh National and Eider Chase.
38 Final Nudge – David Dennis
Badger Ales Chase runner-up who was also third in the Welsh National. Not so good when down the field in the Kim Muir at Cheltenham.
33 Lord Windermere – Jim Culloty
Dual Cheltemham Festival winner who was a magnificent winner of the 2014 Gold Cup. However, hasn’t won since, pulling-up in this race in 2015 and 7th a year ago.
23 Saint Are – Tim Vaughan
Form figures of 2P3 in this race point to a National specialist of sorts, though would ideally prefer drying conditions. Very game stayer but pulled up both outings so far this season.
5 Valseur Lido – Henry de Bromhead
Three-time Grade 1 winner but since returning from injury is struggling to prove he’s the same horse who won at Down Royal in Nov 2016.
32 Childrens List – Willie Mullins
Mullins-trained outsider who beat subsequent Grade 1 winner Edwulf in a beginners’ chase, but has work to do to convince the outside world he can stay the National trip.
30 Pendra – Charlie Longsdon
Only seen twice since finishing 13th in this in 2016, coming close to winning the Kim Muir at Cheltenham in 2017. Down the field in the same race last month. Has had a wind op.
8 Perfect Candidate – Fergal O’Brien
33/1 and pulled up in this 12 months ago. Won over close to three and a half miles at Cheltenham in November but weaker efforts the last twice.
40 Road To Riches – Noel Meade
Was a superstar in the past but no win for two-and-a-half years.Won the Galway Plate in 2014 and went on to win Grade 1’s at both Down Royal and Leopardstown that year, before third places in both the Cheltenham and Punchestown Gold Cups of 2015. Impossible to recommend on more recent efforts though.
24 Beeves – Jennie Candlish
Talented front-runner who goes on seemingly all ground. Beaten a long way the last twice including at Cheltenham in the X-Country last month.
39 Double Ross – Nigel Twiston-Davies
Veteran who pulled up in this two years ago. Solid fourth in the Kim Muir at Cheltenham but need a leap of faith to envisage him winning a National.
29 Maggio – Patrick Griffin
Superb old horse who rarely runs a bad race. Stunned Aintree with a 50/1 success at this meeting over the standard fences in 2016. Astutely campaigned and will give connections a great day out. Same owners did win this with a 66/1 shot back in 2013.
27 Virgilio – Dan Skelton
Not seen since a disappointing effort at Doncaster pre-Xmas, since when he’s had wind surgery. Light preparation could be an asset.
10 Tenor Nivernais – Venetia Williams
Has won over three miles but only 17th in this a year ago and two tame efforts when seen on the racecourse this season. Stable won with a 100/1 shot in 2009.