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Grand National Preview & Tips

April 5th, 2014

Crabbie's Grand National

Until there have been more renewals of the race over the new obstacles it is impossible to identify any definitive trends, so it probably makes sense to back horses at both ends of the weights. One things’ for sure, though, and that is you still need plenty of stamina to win the world’s greatest steeplechase...and a touch of class.

One horse that definitely fits the bill is ex-Gold Cup winner Long Run, who enjoyed a confidence boosting success at Kelso recently and is dangerously well handicapped on his best form. Missing Cheltenham may prove to be a masterstroke as he comes here fresh and his strength has always been his stamina. If he takes to the challenge, he could be hard to beat and his amateur jockey, Sam Waley-Cohen has an outstanding record over these fences.

Pineau De Re is one of the few horses to have had an ideal prep run for this race at the Cheltenham Festival - he ran really well over hurdles to end up a fast finishing third in the Pertemps. He has plenty of good form this season over fences too, his first since coming over from Ireland to join Richard Newland. It took him a while to reach the same level over fences as he reached as a young hurdler, but that is mainly because he was often confronted with unsuitably soft going on the other side of the Irish Sea. Better ground underfoot definitely suits him and he is usually a strong traveler in his races so he should be able to be handy throughout here. He fell in the Becher Chase in December, but is in much better form now. His jockey, Leighton Aspell, has had a fine season and a big run here would be the icing on the cake for the veteran pilot.

Potentially the best handicapped horse in the race is Burton Port who was running off of a mark of 166 when fourth in the 2012 Gold Cup for Nicky Henderson. He is now with Jonjo O’Neill and his mark has plummeted to 145 following some uninspiring efforts for his new yard. There were definite signs of a return to form last time at Newbury though and better ground in the spring definitely seems to bring out the best in him. He certainly can’t be written off given O’Neill’s outstanding record with staying chasers and owner Trever Hemmings has won this great race twice before.

Another solid each-way selection is Big Shu, who finished third behind Balthazar King in the cross-country race at the Cheltenham Festival last month. He has endless reserves of stamina and is improving all the time having only been very lightly raced in his younger days, so has a very good chance of overturning the Cheltenham form with his old rival here.

Walkon could prove a popluar selection on Merseyside and this stunning grey also has a chance on the formbook, notably his effort behind Triolo D’Alene in last season’s Topham. He was only beaten ¾l that day, but enjoys a massive 20lbs swing in the weights here. He acts with a bit of cut in the ground and enjoys the hustle and bustle of big handicaps, so the biggest question is whether or not he will stay the trip. His yard is in much better for this season, so he looks one of the more interesting outsiders.

Talking of outsiders, there have been two 33/1 winners, a 66/1 winner and a 100/1 winner in just the last seven runnings of the Grand National and so we've searched hard for another long-shot that might run a big race at a tasty price. Wayward Prince is just the sort of inconsistent performer who could take to these fences and there is no doubt that he has a reasonable weight based on the best of his form, which has seen him mix it with some of the best staying chasers around. It is worth remembering that he was only beaten a length by Bostons Angel in the 2011 RSA Chase and he has finished second in the last two Charlie Hall Chases. If a break has freshened him up he could certainly outrun odds of 100/1 offered by BetVictor - who are offering 6 places for each-way bets on the National

Long Run 4.15 Aintree 16/1
Paddy Power & William Hill
Pineau De Re 4.15 Aintree
33/1 BetVictor 
Burton Port 4.15 Aintree
20/1 BetVictor 
Big Shu 4.15 Aintree
20/1 BetVictor 
Walkon 4.15 Aintree
50/1 BetVictor 
Wayward Prince 4.15 Aintree
100/1 BetVictor

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