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2019 Grand National

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    25 pages in + i’ve got a view finally- couldn’t bring myself to have an early view on a race!

    I watched Rathvinden’s run back in February and said he’ll win the National, but i couldn’t take an antepost view in this personally. Have sat down to look at the race + i still can’t see it differently.

    Looks a fairly compact horse, and i think that’ll help him here, he in general, is economical over his fences + comes here clearly prepped for it. His form as a novice is good, and when US’ing and being brought down, he probably would’ve finished in decent positions given the grade. His run vs Ms Parfois giving her weight was fantastic over 4m and soft. He stays 4miles already, so thats another worry out of the way.

    He beat ADO as well as Kemboy and better than Invitation Only. Obviously we can’t take those literal but it was a strong reappearance.

    Tiger Roll has looked awesome but he has to give Rathvinden 5pds and to me Rathvinden could well be every bit as good as him. Anibale Fly giving him 10pds as well.
    Well done to anyone on 20s i think he was after his win…..i’ll be getting on him.

    Twitter: Jackh1092
    Hindsight is 20/20 so make the most of it!

    • Total Posts 26588

    Comparing the price of Tiger Roll with Red Rum is imo not possible. Because the race has changed a lot since then. Horses were far more likely to fall or unseat. However, it still favours a course specialist – some take to it and some don’t and we know Tiger Roll went extremely well last year… And although doesn’t test jumping quite as much now, it still favours good jumpers and Tiger Roll is a good jumper. Yes, as always the winner’s handicap mark has risen – which usually stops any previous winner winning again… But in Tiger Roll’s case his form appeaars to have improved by more than he’s been put up by the handicapper. Make no mistake he’s well handicapped and would be amongst the favourites even had he not won/proved extremely effective on this course at this time of year…

    Plus last year he seemed to either idle badly on the run-in or only just got home. Idling may mean had more in hand than winning distance suggests, which could explain being even better this year. And his temperament also seems better this season, so less chance of idling… Or if it was a stamina issue This year it’s likely to be ground that’s tests stamina less and therefore less chance his stamina runs out on the run-in… And we know from other races he’s at least as effective on good or good-soft, if not better on it than 2018’s Grand National surface.

    value is everything
    • Total Posts 1792

    The main problem with backing tiger roll will be figuring out which one of gigginstowns 1000 runners he is

    Hope they have plenty of different coloured caps

    • Total Posts 5769

    I’m well thanks, nw, and hope you are.

    Never argue with a fool. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience, then onlookers might not be able to tell the difference.

    • Total Posts 2055

    Yes mate all ok, again thanks for that advice on my unibet winnings,safe to say not had another bet with them

    Venture to CognacVenture to Cognac
    • Total Posts 17609

    Early enough to do this, with five days still to go, but majority of forecasts suggest that it’ll be good to soft at worst, though obviously if that changes then so will the chances of several of these.

    Seen a bit of negativity towards this year’s line up, mainly due to the domination of Elliot, and the glut of Gigginstown runners. I can see both sides of the argument, but for what it’s worth, I do think this is a stronger renewal than last year.

    Certainly harder to write as many off, and frustratingly, many of those who looked particularly easy to dismiss, were those pulled today.

    I’ve taken it down to the top 48, but highly unlikely that anywhere near eight will come out.

    Anibale Fly – Placed in the last two renewals of The Gold Cup, as well as making the frame in this last year, his credentials are obvious. There are negatives though, not least the ground, and also the fact that he comes here 5lbs higher this time around. It’s also worth noting that he was beaten a fair way last year. Not one to put a line through completely, making the frame in two Gold Cups and a National, is no mean feat, but I just see him vulnerable to better handicapped rivals. Certainly has place claims though, if the ground doesn’t come up too fast.

    Valtor – Relatively unknown French import for Nicky Henderson, running in the well known Munir/Souede silks, and arriving on these shores late in the day as a 9yo. Completely unfancied for The Garrard Silver Cup at Ascot, allowed to win as he liked at 33’s. It was a performance that made a lot of people sit up and take notice, myself included, visually it was extremely impressive, but perhaps in hindsight, it’s a race that doesn’t read so well now. He’ll be coming here 12lbs higher, and in his only subsequent run from Ascot, he was a bitter disappointment in The Cotstwold Chase. Very difficult to make a case for him on his Cheltenham run, and as impressive as Ascot was, you could pick holes in the form now. He doesn’t look the most obvious, seemingly with better prospects in The Topham. The fact that he looks like coming here instead, makes me suspect that that Ascot run was no fluke, and he just might have more to offer from top yard, but overall he’s hard to make a convincing case for, and trainers record far from ideal.

    Tiger Roll – Where to begin with this boy? Yes, he’s ridiculously short for a National Runner, but despite the odd negative, there’s so much to like. As for those negatives, well he’s got more weight to carry, coming here off of a higher mark, but for a 9yo, he looks to have improved massively this term. You could also argue that he can get low enough at his fences, but he was excellent here last year, and although he just lasted home last year, there’s just the suspicion that he idled. As far as other negatives go, I’m struggling. There’s just loads to like, massive improver, as easy a winner as you’ll see at The Cheltenham Festival, when he completed that famous four timer. Yes, he’s got a higher mark to contend with, but I’m fairly sure he’s still ahead of the assessor, and though his chance may have passed, he really should have been given his chance in The Gold Cup, where he would have surely have given his running. I don’t really have ground concerns for him now, and for all he’s short enough, he looks bang there. You don’t win a Grand National, Triumph Hurdle, Munster National, National Hunt Chase, Boyne Hurdle, and also complete a Cross Country Double without being very very good, and that’s exactly what he is. As I said, bang there.

    Outlander – Perhaps not the most high profile these days, and Elliot looks to have more obvious contenders. Being put up for sale this week is obviously a significant negative, but before this news, I genuinely thought he would have run his race. I think he’s had an interesting campaign, continually pitched at a decent enough level, and though on occasion, he’s seemingly looked well held, I think there’s also the suspicion that he’s actually been looked after when his chance had gone. His win ratio could be better, but I think all ground comes the same to him, and he is operating here 10lbs below his peak. For all that though, the news of the sale is very disconcerting, and it’s enough for me to pass him over.

    Don Poli – Yet another Elliot contender, and like Outlander, up for sale this week. He’s certainly operating a good few pounds below his peak, but it’s four years now since he landed his RSA, and he’s clearly had a few issues since. Absolutely thrown in on that old form, but I think he’s been regressing this year, and I’m not convinced that it’s been a shrewd campaign at all. For all that he looks thrown in on old form, he looks particularly badly treated on recent evidence, and he’s not for me here at all, even before news of the pending sale.

    Go Conquer – A horse I’ve always rated highly, but he’s never fully delivered, and he’s been expensive to follow for supporters. He first caught my attention at Ascot in late 2017, winning in the style of a horse who I thought had a future outwith handicaps. That assessment was a fair bit wide of the mark, and it was a series of setbacks, until he finally got his act together in The Skybet at Doncaster. For all he’s been disappointing before that, I still reckon he’s fairly treated, and my main concern would be jumping issues which surfaced after that Ascot win, and also slight question marks over the trip. In good hands for this kind of test though, and I remain hopeful he can add to his Skybet tally, but for all that, I just think there are enough question marks here.

    Mala Beach – Proved his credentials for a big field test like this, when landing the 2017 Troytown in good style, a performance where he probably didn’t get the credit he deserved. He got his head in front again last year, but it was a weak enough race, and and a low key comeback over timber in The Galmoy Hurdle, was followed by Down Royal, where he was readily put in his place by Jury Duty. He’s not really entitled to reverse that run, and ground will surely be against him. Admirable sort, but he’s still weighted on the back of that Troytwon run, and he’s readily passed over.

    Minella Rocco – Looked to have the world at his feet for a while, and like many others, I had him down as a future Gold Cup horse after his win in the 2016 National Hunt Chase. He fairly cemented that opinion when he filled the runner up spot behind Sizing John in 2017, but looking at him objectively, you’d have to say he’s been a bitter disappointment since. His best run of late, was when he ran with a lot of enthusiasm (folded tamely) in a Pertemps Qualifier at Exeter, but you’re probably looking for a better prep for this, and he was desperate in The Ultima. You could certainly suspect that he’s been quietly laid out for this, but even so, that run at Cheltenham wouldn’t back that up theory. He’s regularly pulled late at the eleventh hour, as was the case in this last year, so carries a risk even at this stage. I don’t have the ground concerns I had for him in the past, but the niggles about his jumping remain. I’d love to see him bounce back, and on his best form, he’s weighted to win this, but I’ve seen enough of late to be very wary.

    Lake View Lad – Bought by Trevor Hemmings, who only buys horses with Aintree in mind. He’s bought wisely here in my opinion, and this Lad looks to be progressing nicely. His win in The Rehearsal Chase put him right in the picture here, and that promise was confirmed by his win in The Rowalnd Meyrick, and also his run in The Ultima at Cheltenham. Yard have done a really good job with him, and he’s been a safe conveyance since going over the larger obstacles. Ticks a lot of boxes, and he’s a few pounds well in. A bit of rain would help, and that’s the main concern, a concern shared by his jockey. If it stays the slow side of good, then a very strong contender.

    Pleasant Company – Couldn’t have been closer last year, another couple of strides, and he would have reeled in Tiger Roll. What’s most impressive about that run is what he found. He looked cooked heading for The Elbow, and for all that the winner was coming back to him, he looked to have found plenty, and after 4 miles plus on that ground, then stamina is a given here. You can forget his low key form since then, his whole season will be geared around this, and he looks to have every right to be competitive again, especially if kept prominent. The rise in the weights makes life difficult, but I see no reason why he can’t be there turning for home.

    Ballyoptic – Another who went agonisingly close in a National last Spring, this time in The Scottish alternative. Aintree looked the natural progression for him this term, and he looked to be taking to it, before landing too steeply in The Becher, and paying the price. Possibly harder to excuse his down the field finish at Chepstow, but it was his run in The National Trial at Haydock which gives the most concern. He never looked right from the off, and it was a bitterly disappointing showing, he never really looked that interested. He’s actually one I think will land one of the big staying handicaps in time, the ability is clearly there, but I’m not that enthusiastic about him here off the back of Haydock, and he might just need more time, though ground will suit him, and no stamina concerns.

    Dounikos – Another Elliot/Giggs contender. A very highly touted Novice a year and a half back, and he went into Cheltenham last year, quietly fancied for The RSA. After shaping well though, he was eventually pulled up. What followed was a series of poor runs, before everything clicked in The National Trial at Punchestown, showing a great attitude. It would be easy to say he benefitted from a drop in the weights that day, but he hadn’t been dramatically eased, and he just looked a different animal. He’s by no means guaranteed to follow that up now, and as a result of that win, he’s now higher than he’s ever been. Nice performance that day, but easy to be cautious about him, and maybe not one of connections most obvious contenders, though jockey booking might tell us more. Not the easiest to assess.

    Rathvinden – He was a smashing Novice Hurdler, before meeting a setback, and perhaps not reaching the heights he could have. Not that he hasn’t achieved plenty, with a brave win in The National Hunt Chase last year, backed up by a win in The Bobbyjo last time, which was easier for him than it looked. I don’t think he’d have been out of place in The Gold Cup, and perhaps telling that he wasn’t asked that question, with Mullins preferring to come straight here. Doesn’t know how to run a bad race, from a top yard, no ground concerns, and looks attractively weighted. Major Player. Loads to like.

    One For Arthur – 2017 Winner, and an impressive one at that, holding off Cause of Causes at the end, which was no mean feat. Trainer mentioned Gold Cup for him after that, but the following season never got off the ground, after he met with a setback. The jury is out at the moment, with only two unseats to his name this time around. He didn’t look a completely spent force at Haydock, but maybe stretching it to say he’d have got near the winner. Coming here six pounds higher wouldn’t be a concern, but he’s got wellbeing to prove. If back to his best, very dangerous to write off, but a smoother prep might have been ideal, and it’s not as if there hasn’t been suitable races. Hard to weigh up, but certainly impossible to write off.

    Rock The Kasbah – He’s a hard one to catch right, and for every run where it falls into place, there’s been plenty of disappointments, but on his day, more than capable of this. He’ll have the assistance of the Champion Jockey in the saddle, and that can only be a benefit, and ground shouldn’t be a concern either. He was an impressive winner at Cheltenham earlier in the season, and a repeat of that should see him make an impression. Possible question marks over the trip. His two runs in the 3 mile 5 trip of The Bet365 Gold Cup aren’t conclusive. Staying on at the finish in 2017, but finished a very tired horse last year. I tend to think he’ll be ok round here though, and although probably weighted right to his best, should give a good account. The Whateleys have had had several nice animals, and this is the first time they’ve had a horse in contention for this, so maybe worth noting. Chance.

    Warriors Tale – Won round here in The Grand Sefton in December, and acquitted himself for a good part of The National last year, before the wheels came off. Better ground might see him last out better this time, but he just looks one for The Topham. There’s just the niggling thought that Nicholls might want him to line up, being his only entrant remaining, but his owner Trevor Hemmings has more realistic candidates here, and he’s hard to fancy.

    Regal Encore – Something of a forgotten horse, but I thought he shaped very well at Ascot in February, suggesting he retains plenty of ability. Coped well round here two years back, and a similar run surely awaits. Has landed two decent chases at Ascot in recent times, and his third to Total Recall, and Whisper last season at Newbury, is as good a run as any of his wins. Ground should be perfect, no question marks over the trip, and although maybe not the most obvious winner, it would be no surprise should he be there at the business end, and he looks as good as ever. One of the better outsiders, and clearly kept for this.

    Magic Of Light – She’s always had a bit of a promise, and she confirmed this win a win at The Punchestown Festival last spring. Her good form has continued into this campaign, and the only negative was her second to Happy Diva at Huntingdon. She can be excused that though, as the trip would be the absolute bare minimum for her. We never got a chance to see just how good she was in The Bobbyjo, when she unseated behind Rathvinden, but overall she’s shaped very well this season, and her runs in The Thyestes, and The Ultima, hint at a horse who’ll relish this trip. She’s a fair old price, and she’s of definite interest.

    A Toi Phil – Highly tried in the past, and though connections have conceded that he was below Grade 1 Level, he did perform well in that sphere on more than one occasion. I reckon he’s nailed on to land a big handicap in the near future, but he does come with one obvious question mark. The trip is the real unknown for him, and you’d be hard pushed to argue that he’s been crying out for it. Slightly disappointing over fences this season, after chasing home Un De Sceaux and Douvan at Punchestown, he just didn’t seem to be showing his old zest. There was a lot more to like about his runs over timber this year, not only in a Pertemps Qualifier, but The Final itself. It might just be the case, that for a horse who looks increasingly hard to place, that that was the seasons goal, and he fared pretty well. The ability is there, but as I’ve mentioned before, something like The Galway Plate might be more within his compass. I like him a lot, but the question mark over the trip is a fairly big one.

    Jury Duty – Very highly regarded in his youth, and though he’s not quite scaled the heights expected of him, he’s hardly been a flop either, with plenty of runs confirming the quality he has. He had a well documented win at Far Hills in The Grand National Hurdle, back in October, and though a trip to the states is hardly a traditional prep for Aintree, it’s hardly had an adverse affect, and there was loads to like about his win at Down Royal the other week. His run in the 4 Miler at Cheltenham last year perhaps hinted at stamina limitations, but that was on very soft going, and that day at Down Royal he looked as if the step up in trip would hardly be an inconvenience. It might have been a relatively low key affair that day, but I was very impressed, and I’m surprised that his price held. He’s on a tidy looking mark, and he looks a big player to me. Shortlist material.

    Noble Endeavour – Was in the process of running a huge race in a vintage renewal of The National Hunt Chase in 2016, but for taking a spill late on, and he didn’t hang about in confirming that promise afterwards. He proved his suitability for something like this, with big runs in The Troytown, The Irish National, and The Ultima, and also by squeezing in a very impressive win in the ultra competitive Paddy Power Chase at Leapordstown. On that basis, I reckon he’s absolutely in the mix here, but there’s just a small question mark over whether he’s come back from injury the same horse. His run in The Becher didn’t raise any concerns, and it had “sighter” written all over it, but he was just a little flat for my liking in The Ultima. Possible excuses for that though, with many of the yards runners finding little at Cheltenham, suggesting that all was not well, so as far as I can see, he certainly remains in the equation. Possible then that he has to convince with his wellbeing, but for those willing to take that risk, he’s thrown in off of this mark, and he won’t be phased by this at all, so he’s got definite credentials, and at a price too.

    Sandymount Duke – Very versatile horse, who was obviously very highly rated by connections in his younger days, getting more than one lofty entry. Looked to have a proper future over fences in the summer of 2017, landing two chases as part of a three timer, but he hasn’t quite built on that. As mentioned, very versatile, but that can also bring it’s own problems, and perhaps connections haven’t been 100% certain what to do with him. Since a very respectable effort in that summers Galway Plate, he’s actually achieved little, be it over fences, hurdles, or on the level. He’s not one I’ve completely deserted though, and there are positives. His two recent spins over timber, although fruitless, will have him fit, and there’s the very real possibility that this is part of a long term plan. The Grand National was mentioned back in 2017 for him, and from a top yard, who’re not in the habit of targeting this race, that’s worth noting. What’s also worth considering is that he always looked as if he’d be more comfortable going left handed over his fences, and for all he’s hard to recommend on recent form, he’s without a doubt, got a bit of class, and he remains of some interest, having been considered good enough for last season Punchestown Gold Cup.

    Monbeg Notorious – Had a fair old time of it last season, mopping up a few nice races, with the highlight being his victory in The Thyestes. There was the suggestions that he was nothing more than a mudlark, but even he found the atrocious conditions in The Irish National too much, and he’s perhaps best judged on his flying finish in an action packed Growise Novice Chase at Punchestown. That was one of the best line ups for a Novice Chase I’ve seen in recent times, and he was acquitting himself well, even before the late drama. Bang there on last seasons form then, and I had him down as dark horse for The Gold Cup this season. Safe to say that was well wide of the mark, and his first two runs this season were bitterly disappointing, with him not looking interested. Signs of recovery at Naas last time in The Leinster National, but he’s got to build on that, and it remains debatable if he can make that leap. On last seasons form, he’s a crazy price, and from these connections, he is, of course, worthy of respect, but the way he shaped earlier this season, particularly at Gowran Park, remains a concern, and he comes here as a bit of a puzzle.

    Ramses Des Teille – Certainly caught the eye last year, but his first run after Wind Surgety this season, in The Badger Ales, was a bit flat. Any concerns though, that the wind op hasn’t done the trick, have been quickly dispelled, with a very impressive win at Chepstow, followed by filling the runners up spot back there in The Welsh National. He met a good one that day in Elegant Escape, and it was a decent show, as was his second to Robinsfirth at Haydock. Looks to have been kept for this, and the yard having a better time of it recently, so he has to be given a real chance here.

    Tea For Two – Any horse that wins a Lanzarote, a Feltham, and an Aintree Bowl is obviously a decent animal, but he’s probably best known for his brave efforts in defeat in The King George on a couple of occasions. As such he looked one of the better treated horses when the entries were revealed, and he certainly caught my eye. He might though, just be one to treat with caution. It’s two years since that win in The Bowl, and his efforts this season haven’t been anyway near as impressive. Obvious claims on back form, and he looks to have conditions to suit, and he’s also a very attractive price. You can certainly make a case for him, and you could argue that his season might just have been geared around this, but recent performances just look a bit of a concern, and I’ll reluctantly pass him over.

    Mall Dini – Yet to win over fences, but that doesn’t tell the full story. Trainer is well known for getting them ready for the big stage, and after twice going to The Festival and landing The Pertemps, before going going so close in The Kim Muir, it’s perhaps telling that he sidestepped Cheltenham this year. His run in The Irish National last year, is a bit of a concern, but overall, I think he’s been ticking along nicely. There was enough to take from his run in The Thyestes, as well as his run a fortnight ago, over an inadequate trip. The winner that day hardly franked the form last week, but it might pay to not read too much into that. I think he’s better judged on his Cheltenham performances, and from a yard who, as mentioned, appear to gear their season around one prize, then he looks one who’s primed to put in a big run.

    Step Back – Last April he was as impressive a winner of The Bet365 Gold Cup as I’ve seen, and it was a performance that hinted at perhaps a future out of handicaps. He was very impressive, and his seasonal reappearance at Chepstow had promise. Missed a few obvious targets after that though, which was a concern, while his run in The Classic Chase was a bit of a disappointment. Questions to answer then, and I’m not convinced that he’s had the soundest of preps. It could also be the case that the Sandown win is as good as we’ll see from him, but I’d give him the benefit of the doubt. He was very impressive that day, and if he is sound, then he could be very competitive. Popular in the market recently as well.

    Ultragold – Needs no introduction round here, having landed the last two runnings of The Topham. Opinion is divided as to how much stamina he possesses. His run in The Becher this season strongly hinted that he would handle this trip, however Warwick was less conclusive. He has the option of a third tilt at The Topham, and the vibes are mixed as to where he might be heading. I think The Topham might just shade it for me, and from a yard who don’t seem to have The National as a top priority, I have a feeling that’s where we’ll see him.

    Pairofbrowneyes – A horse that I always rated, and he always looked to have a decent prize in him. It was still something of a surprise though, when he made the switch to Willie Mullins halwfway through last season. That move seen him immediately stepped up in trip by WPM, and this opened up new possibilities. It paid off immediately, with a win in The Leinster National, winning as he liked. He then went off a hot favourite for The Irish National, where he he fell early on, which was very uncharacteristic, as he’s usually a very safe conveyance. His early form this season wasn’t inspiring, but it always looked highly likely that his main target would be in the spring, and a very very comfortable win, again in The Leinster National last month, finally got him qualified. The style of his win that day couldn’t be ignored, and it suggested, not only that he could easily step up in trip again, but also that he had a little bit up his cuff. The Handicapper seems to agree, stating that he’s very well in, and he’s obviously miles ahead of his mark. Main negative would be the drying ground, but he has form on Good, and I wouldn’t be too concerned with the going. I’m more concerned with his entry in The Irish National, which might prove something of a distraction if it dried out dramatically, but I think current conditions are ok for him. No concerns over his jumping, trip looks within his reach, (current) ground shouldn’t be an issue, campaigned nicely, in form, from top yard, and still a big price. There’s loads to like, and he’s my idea of the winner.

    Blow By Blow – A very highly regarded Novice Hurdler for Elliot and Gigginstown, and after a low key start, he finally got it together last year, culminating in a comfortable win in The Martin Pipe. That promised plenty, and though not the hottest race, his debut over fences at Punchestown in October, went very well, and he was a very easy winner. No concerns over his two subsequent defeats, as he acquitted himself very well. A big season looked assured, but his three runs since have been a bit of a concern. Yard are no strangers to laying them out for something, but the manner of his last three defeats, don’t really suggest that, and the manner in which he has dropped out, is something of a concern. His run in The Leinster National saw him travelling like a dream, to finding nothing very quickly, and there may just have been something amiss. He was my idea of next years National Winner, but it’s very hard to be confident of that, certainly on recent evidence. I haven’t completely given up on him, and if they’ve just been keeping him ticking him over, with this in mind, and if he’s as good as I think he is, then he is absolutely thrown in. It’s hard to be confident though of that scenario, and he just looks one to be slightly cautious of, and for all he looks a very nice price, he just looks hard to be overly confident about.

    Up For Review – He’s been coming along nicely, and there was absolutely nothing wrong with his third to Invitation Only and Alpha Des Obeaux in The Thyestes, I think that’s a solid piece of form. Strong market support for him in The Ultima was telling, and it looked justified as he swept into contention at the business end, only to clout the third last. It didn’t seem to knock the stuffing out of him too much, and he was quickly back with the front pair, but I was just slightly concerned that he appeared to find little, eventually well beaten. He just looks one to forgive though, his overall profile suggests to me that he’ll come again, and as much as he really appears perfect for Fairyhouse, he looks more than worthy of his place in the line up here, and not without a chance either, as conditions should suit.

    Singlefarmpayment – I had high hopes for him at the start of last season, but he hasn’t came close to achieving what I thought he would. He’s been called a few names in the past, and although he hasn’t looked 100% up for a battle, he still had the ability to get there, and it’s maybe a little harsh to slate him too much. Yes, there were occasions where he probably should have won, and it’s a fair while since he did actually win, but there’s a very good horse in there, and it’ll click one of these days. He doesn’t look the most obvious to me though, but he wouldn’t be the first horse to spring to life round here, and he does look very well treated on overall record. More of a worry to me was his lifeless run in The Ultima, where there didn’t appear to be too many excuses, and a lot may depend on how well he gets on with Paddy Brennan. I can see why he might appeal to some as a lively outsider, but not for me here.

    Vieux Lion Rouge – Fourth attempt in this, and though he’s never threatened to land it, he’s never been that far away, and he’s been as safe a conveyance as you could possibly hope for. He also boasts a fine record in The Becher, having won it, and also finishing in the runner up spot. Stamina doubts look justified though, and there’s no reason to suggest he’s entitled to finish any closer than in previous renewals, especially after two very disappointing runs this season, with his run at Haydock, too bad to be true. He’s got stable form in his favour, but as likeable as he is round here, it’s easy enough to look elsewhere.

    Valseur Lido – Looked like being one of Gigginstowns future stars three years ago, only for a season ending injury to put those plans on hold. Long road back for him, and although he never quite hit the heights he promised to, he’s still had his moments. Highlight for me was his run in this last year. He’d never fully convinced as a stayer, but it was a big effort on that going, and it was only before the second last that he was found out. Yes, he’s had a quiet enough campaign this time around, but as a consequence, he finds himself 12 lbs lower this time around, and with less testing conditions ahead of him, then I’ve seen worse horses at 100-1. My main concern would be that he looks even better treated for The Topham, otherwise I’d have him as my pick of the rank outsiders right now. Not asked a question in The Plate at Cheltenham, and as a result, he could go in The Topham with another 3 lbs off his back. Very risky then Antepost, but I’ve just a feeling that he’s got something left to give, and should he make it here on Saturday, he’s very much worth a look from an each way angle.

    Vintage Clouds – Went in my National Notebook back in October 2017, with a win at Aintree, where he just shaped like a horse who would thrive for a step up in trip. That’s been the case, and though something of a disappointment in The Welsh National this year, he made the frame in it last year, as well as The Scottish Version, and both subsequent renewals of The Ultima at Cheltenham. That run at Cheltenham last month, finds him a few pounds well in here, and from a yard who have landed this before, it goes without saying, being owned by Trevor Hemmings, that his whole season will be geared around this. Solid Jumper, with seemingly no ground concerns, and he looks obvious shortlist material.

    General Principle – Last years Irish National winner, really digging it out in a mudbath, and as such, he can easily be excused his low key start to the season. A lot more like it in The National Trial at Punchestown, and he looked primed for a big run in The Ultima, but he flopped badly, eventually pulling up. As mentioned previously though, possible, like many in the yard, that he was under the weather, and I’m willing to forgive. It’s always looked that this was the seasons target, and he did the business at Fairyhouse after a quiet enough campaign, so the similarities this time around are obvious. I think he’s better than his mark, by some way, and if he was indeed under the weather at Cheltenham, then I’d put him bang in the mix here, for all that might seem puzzling on current form.

    Livelovelaugh – Smashing hurdler a couple of years back, and it was something of a surprise to see him go over the larger obstacles. He’s a horse I’ve followed closely since his hurdling days, and he’s certainly had his moments over the larger obstacles, but overall, his efforts on the big stage, just raise enough question marks. I’ve no concerns over the trip, I think it’s within his reach, I’d just be a bit more concerned with his run in The Kim Muir, where he didn’t find that much. Connections had a horse with a similar profile last year, Childrens List, who eventually ran a cracker, so not out of the question that he’s been kept for this, but as much as I’ve followed him, I just find it a bit difficult to be too enthusiastic here.

    Walk In The Mill – But for his Becher Chase win, he’d be very difficult to recommend. He was a late withdrawal last year, and at the time, I couldn’t have had him on my mind. I’ve a very different view of him now. It was just the manner of his win in The Becher, he seemed to love it, and for all he doesn’t have that much other form to recommend him, I just think he’s the type to pull another big run out of the bag. I would certainly have had stamina doubts about him before The Becher, but he looked to have no concerns on that front. He’s been kept fairly quiet since, but even his spin over hurdles at Chepstow reads well, with the winner that day more than franking the form since. Obvious chance, and easy to see him making an impression.

    Folsom Blue – Nearing veteran stages now, but plenty of life in the old dog yet. Never struck a blow at Chepstow, but after looking well beat at Sandown and Uttoxeter, he finished very strongly on both occasions, and one of those in the line up who wouldn’t give you the slightest stamina doubts. Big question over his running style though, and with conditions fast enough for him, he may find himself too far back. Tactics could be key then, and it’s maybe too simplistic to write him off over those runs. Yes, he probably has his own ideas, but you don’t have to go too far back for his unlucky run in The Irish National, as well his win in last years National Trial at Punchestown. More than entitled to to take his chance, and though seen as something of a mudlark, he was running a huge race in The Scottish National on Good to Soft, when brought down, so he should act on it. Easy to see things happening quickly enough for him, but still, he does look a lively outsider for top yard.

    Captain Redbeard – Solid enough performer, who’s beating of Definitly Red in a match at Kelso, was very impressive. Not quite so good back there last time, though was keeping on, but on the whole, his profile remains patchy. His record round here doesn’t scream winner of this, and he just looks short of what’s required, with stamina doubts as well.

    Current Cut Off Point

    Bless The Wings – Proper veteran now, and ran the race of his life to make the frame last year. He came here with a few things in his favour last year, and for all he was a 13yo, 66-1 shot, he did look to have lots going for him. Not so easy to enthuse about this time around though, and he looks as if age has started to creep up on him. Looks high enough in the weights this time around, and the main thing in his favour would be that they’re certainly persevering with him.

    Joe Farrell – Sprang a huge shock in last years Scottish National, just getting the better of Ballyoptic. He has to top that time around, but previous outing at Newbury, over a trip which is now clearly short of his best, was obviously a step in the right direction, and should he get in, no reason to see why he can’t make an impression. Drying ground certainly wouldn’t inconvenience him, and no surprise to see him shortening in the market. Not my idea of the winner, but should go well.

    Just A Par – Only one run to his name in the last two years, and finishing down the field in The Becher doesn’t suggest that he’ll be good enough here, in a race where he couldn’t land a blow in two previous attempts, when at his peak. Very hard to make a case for.

    The Young Master – Long threatened to be a National horse, but previous runs over the fences have been unconvincing. Highlight of his career was landing The Bet365 Gold Cup in 2017, and after seeming to go off the boil, he’s fairly bounced back this season. I’m as guilty as anyone of overplaying the Waley-Cohen angle over these fences, but his record is still commendable. Clear round assured, and I’d have him as a big outsider, but he has to cut out the jumping errors which have blighted his career. At his very best, and he’s looked close to it this year, he’s extremely well treated, and I can see a big run on Saturday at a price, should he get in.

    Baie Des Iles – For all she’s seen as being laden with stamina, she emptied pretty quickly last year on her favoured going. Going very well when fell last time, so she looked as good as ever, but the ground throws up a lot of question marks, not to mention that as popular as she is, away from her two wins at Punchestown, in their National trial, she does come up short often enough. If she gets in, she should run her race, but I’d struggle to see her make the frame.

    Isleofhopendreams – A very late bloomer for Willie Mullins, who, over the last 12 months or so, has finished runner up in The Irish National, The Leinster National, and twice at Punchestown in both the National Trial, and a very competitive at handicap at the big festival. Mullins clearly knows how to get a tune out of him when it matters, and for all he’s getting on, he seems as good as ever, and it’s a shame he’s struggling to make it, as he’d have been a live outsider for me.

    Exitas – Definite signs of encouragement at the start of the season, but he’s failed to build on that, and as seen at Ascot at the weekend, he looks way short of what’s required here.

    Red Infantry – Not the most obvious one, and his wins to date over fences don’t read that well now, particularly his victory at Haydock this season. He’s a nice enough type, and has more to offer, but perhaps pushing it in this company.

    The key horse is obviously Tiger Roll. I’ve banged on about him for what seems like years now, but it’s not even close to three years since that incredible display in The Munster National, when I was absolutely blown away. What he’s went on to achieve has been phenomenal, and incredible to think that after his exertions in this last year, he’s actually improved. Improved loads. An absolute star, and the extra weight isn’t a concern, he still looks well treated. Can he do it? Of course he can, but this just looks tougher, and I think he’ll just, but only just, come up short. It just seems difficult to keep him out of the frame though, and he’s a proper star.

    I had a real dilemma splitting Rathvinden and Pairofbrowneyes. Rathvinden looks bullet proof, impossible to be negative about, while there are slight concerns over the ground for his stablemate. I think he’ll be just fine though, and I took the “heart over the head” route for Pairofbrowneyes, who’s been my idea of the winner for some time though, given a shrewd campaign, and I just think he screams “National Winner”

    I absolutely love the Hemmings pair, with just a slight preference for Vintage Clouds, though I can’t see Lake View Lad being far away, and the owner looks well positioned to challenge for an incredible fourth National.

    Of the rest, well plenty of others to come into it, and looking to nominate a top six, while obviously impossible, is what I’ll attempt.

    The common sense approach would see me side with Ramses Des Teille, Rock The Kasbah, or Regal Encore, but in the end I was drawn to the Elliot pair, Jury Duty and General Principle. In the end, I went with Jury Duty, who just looked in good heart last time.

    Of the rank outsiders, Valseur Lido looks the most intriguing.

    Edit, with Pairofbrowneyes not declared, he’s taken out, and now he’s confirmed, Valseur Lido is added.

    1st Rathvinden
    2nd Vintage Clouds
    3rd Tiger Roll
    4th Jury Duty
    5th Valseur Lido
    6th Lake View Lad

    My Bets
    I’m very hopeful Tiger can do it, but it will obviously be tougher again, and he’s in numerous perms 12’s to 20’s, but not in anywhere near as many as I’d like.

    I’ll be looking to lay off a bit of Mall Dini, so that he’s not that far off being a saver, while I don’t know what to make of my old friend General Principle.

    I’ve Sandymount Duke on the exchanges for a small go, and the 66’s ew is a small one as well. He’d be a welcome surprise if he got me anything back, and he’s very much a saver right now.

    Blow By Blow was bet as he was my long term hope for next year, and I couldn’t risk missing out a year early, for all recent form is a huge concern.

    My main hope though is obviously Pairofbrowneyes, and I’m fairly confident of a big run, I just hope he doesn’t get diverted to Fairyhouse, and my cause may be aided by that race being a lot later this time around.

    Tiger Roll (perms)

    Pairofbrowneyes 40’s EW NRNB
    Pairofbrowneyes 110’s

    General Principle 33’s EW NRNB

    Blow By Blow 66’s EW NRNB
    Blow By Blow 360’s

    Sandymount Duke 110’s
    Sandymount Duke 66’s EW

    Mall Dini 33’s
    Jury Duty 40’s NRNB

    • Total Posts 26588

    Great write up VTC, not sure about the conclusion though. :good:

    value is everything
    • Total Posts 26588

    Got a short list of 12, although most are up with the favourites, at the moment does include a 100/1+ shot – if getting a run.

    So far am on: Tiger Roll, Ramses De Teillee and Jury Duty.

    value is everything
    • Total Posts 7160

    Superb bit of work there Bobby, and I’m glad to see you give Jury Duty a decent
    shout. My 2 ante post bets, Missed Approach and Traffic Fluide are well gone now,
    but after a re-evaluation I added Jury Duty last month (on page 19) at 33/1. I’m
    glad to see that Robbie Power gets the leg up, he gets on well with the horse and
    travelled out with the horse to the States to win the valuable Grand national
    Hurdle Stakes. It’s not, as you mentioned, a conventional route he’s taken, but
    he looked well last time out when he got the better of Mala Beach at Down Royal
    over 3m 2f, pulling away after the last as if further would be to his liking. He
    gets in carrying 10-11, which I think gives him every chance. I’ve not added to
    him yet, but will have a couple on the day when there should be some decent place
    etc offers on the go.

    • Total Posts 3673

    there should be some decent place etc offers on the go.

    BigG, the last few years 365 had an offer from 1pm on the Friday. Place an EW bet up to £50 and get your win part back as cash if it does not win. Think they went 7 places on the Saturday last year. You can back as many horses as you want also.

    • Total Posts 2055

    going now GS soft in place national course

    great write up VTC, will have my one bet of the year on the hedgehoppers this weekend

    • Total Posts 4858

    Absolutely brilliant write up as per the norm Bobby :good: :good:

    I am on Lake View Lad ante post at 25/1 and 20/1 and am sure I will be adding others come the day.
    I am currently leaning towards Dounikos Pleasant Company and Pairofbrowneyes but that may change in the coming days.

    Just for reference I have only backed three or four Grand National winners ever!! So following me may not be a good idea :wacko: :wacko:

    • Total Posts 5769

    A huge amount of work in that, Bobby, magnificent write up. The forum has been very fortunate come National time with the amount you and Ginger have put in over the years. Thanks to you both.


    Never argue with a fool. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience, then onlookers might not be able to tell the difference.

    Quelle FarceQuelle Farce
    • Total Posts 198

    If we had a like button it would be clicked several times over in this thread, and of course for VtC’s superb commitment to the cause. I am about to devote twenty minutes to looking at it now, and have made a cuppa to join me.

    My thoughts before I do so are: I’m thinking a lot like peter h this year, in so much as I was really keen to see Yala Enki have a go at this (have been thinking the same for three years now). And after all the stick I’ve given Singlefarmpayment(BF) in here, is he my long-shot?

    I wanted Rathvinden to run in this last year, but as he didn’t I got a rare (for me) GN winner in Tiger Roll. If this race was ran nine times, I would expect TR to win it twice at least. Therefore, 7/2 seems to me to be fair. I’d not forgive myself if I looked elsewhere and backed something else (I’m not much of an ante post punter).

    I really want Joe Farrell to get in. Instead the first reserve will be a 14-y-o who should have been retired after pulling up in the Cross-Country. smh :wacko:

    I suspect I’m not the only one who has recently looked at recent GNs, and then a few of the old ones on YouTube.

    • Total Posts 5769

    I backed Singlefarmpayment at 50s nrnb but he’s now so big on the exchanges I’m wary of following up in case he’s a no show.

    One For Arthur a forgotten horse too and next best for value, imo.

    Never argue with a fool. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience, then onlookers might not be able to tell the difference.

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