Grand National: Voice of Values’ Runner by Runner Guide

MRF_GrandNational_02

STILL need to pick your 2017 Grand National winner? Well, look no further. National Hunt expert Voice of Value is back with his horse-by-horse guide to the runners and riders in the big race.

1 The Last Samuri

  • Age: 9
  • Trainer: Kim Bailey
  • David Bass

Carrying too much weight to win. It is possible to win with top weight but it hasn’t been done since Red Rum. Aside from that he tried last year and failed so why is he one of the favourites this year carrying a much higher weight? You need your head examined if you’re lumping on this one at the current prices.

  • Value Rating: 3/10

2 More Of That

  • Age: 9
  • Trainer: Jonjo O’Neill
  • Barry Geraghty

Hasn’t quite delivered as the top class horse that Jonjo claims he is but 6th in the Gold Cup last time was decent and there is an argument to be made that he is potentially well-handicapped. People forget he was a splendid winner of the World Hurdle a few years back. His jumping errors and inconsistency put me off though. I think Geraghty has made a mistake in picking him over Cause of Causes.

  • Value Rating: 5/10

3 Shantou Flyer

  • Age: 7
  • Trainer: Rebecca Curtis
  • Jonathan Moore

Nothing to like about this lad for the race I’m afraid. He’s a 7 year old which should be enough to chalk him off the list straight away. If you need another reason what about the fact that he won’t stay and is carrying too much weight? Avoid.

  • Value Rating: 2/10

4 Perfect Candidate

  • Age: 10
  • Trainer: Fergal O’Brien
  • Paddy Brennan

It would be ideal if I could say that this lad is indeed the Perfect Candidate but it’s never that easy. He is too high in the handicap for me based on his achievements. He is pretty exposed as a stayer (i.e. he doesn’t have much improvement left in him) and isn’t the smooth-travelling type I look for in the race.

  • Value Rating: 5/10

5 Saphir Du Rheu

  • Age: 8
  • Trainer: Paul Nicholls
  • Sam Twiston-Davies

Ropey jumping at times although that does seem to have improved lately but I think he is a year too young for this, I’m not a massive fan of the jockey and he isn’t particularly well handicapped. His 5th in the Gold Cup last time would be encouraging for those who like him.

  • Value Rating: 4/10

6 Roi Des Francs

  • Age: 8
  • Trainer: Gordon Elliott
  • Jack Kennedy

I can’t have this one either. Probably too young and is almost certainly a soft/heavy ground horse that won’t enjoy the anticipated good ground. A type to keep an eye on for an Irish Grand National in future perhaps.

  • Value Rating: 4/10

7 Wounded Warrior

  • Age: 8
  • Trainer: Noel Meade
  • Sean Flanagan

I have better recent form than this one so if Noel Meade has been holding him back for this race he’s made some job of it. He does have previous form to suggest that he might perform well here and good ground will be a big bonus but with nothing all season to suggest he is in form I can’t bring myself to back him. At 66/1 or thereabouts don’t let me put you off if you fancy a small each way on the chance that Meade has him ready for the big battle.

  • Value Rating: 5/10

8 Wonderful Charm

  • Age: 9
  • Trainer: Paul Nicholls
  • Ms K Walsh

He’s about 11lbs ‘wrong’ in the weights i.e. he carries 11lb more weight as a handicap than he should be and that in itself is enough to cross him off. It’s hard enough to win this thing without carrying tons of weight. He won the Foxhunters at Cheltenham but the form of that race isn’t great – he beat mostly day-trippers that day.

  • Value Rating: 4/10

9 Tenor Nivernais

  • Age: 10
  • 11-1
  • Trainer: Venetia Williams
  • Liam Treadwell

You would be daft to discount Venetia Williams and Liam Treadwell after the incredible win they had with Mon Mome a few years back although Venetia has been quite quiet in the National since then. I have a sneaky feeling about this lad though. He has that touch of class that I’m looking for, he has a nice cruising speed that won’t see him caught out in the first half of the race and his jumping is sound.

He might prefer the softer side of good ground but that’s not certain so I won’t put that down as a negative. We’re in the lap of the Gods after that with regard to his ability to stay. It’s not that he can’t stay – we just don’t know yet because he hasn’t been tried at a marathon trip like this. His profile reminds me a bit of Neptune Collognes who won a few years back for Paul Nicholls. I think this one has a chance at a big price.

  • Value Rating: 8/10

10 Blaklion

  • Age: 8
  • Trainer: Nigel Twiston-Davies
  • Noel Fehily

He’s an obvious type for the race but I’m not actually convinced that he stays. He sometimes looks hard work over 3 miles and whilst he respond really well for pressure it would take some effort to be off the bridle for a mile and a half in this race and still win. We need one who will cruise through to the last fence and I don’t think it’s Blaklion.

  • Value Rating: 6/10

11 Drop Out Joe

  • Age: 9
  • Trainer: Charlie Longsdon
  • Tom O’Brien

Won nicely when he was last seen back in June but he has been out with an injury since then. He jumps well and when he is in the mood he can stay the distance but hard to strongly fancy him when he hasn’t been seen for 9 months.

  • Value Rating: 5/10

12 Le Mercurey

  • Age: 7
  • 11-0
  • Traner: Paul Nicholls
  • Sean Bowen

A nice horse in the right race but this definitely isn’t the right race. He won’t stay, he’s too young for this and the fences will put too much pressure on his jumping. No chance.

  • Value Rating: 3/10

13 The Young Master

  • Age: 8
  • Neil Mulholland
  • Mr S Waley-Cohen

I’m absolutely torn here. I’ve followed this lad through thick and thin and he had a lean spell that led to the nickname of The Young Disaster amongst some of my acquaintances but he bounced back in April last year to win the Bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown in style. He fell when tired late on in the Becher Chase in December over these fences and I am happy to forgive him that in the knowledge that Neil Mulholland won’t have had him quite 100%.

If he gets into a rhythm towards the front he could go very well and he has a jockey with an exemplary record over the National fences. This might be a year too early for him but his owners wanted to come last year so fair play to Neil Mulholland for convincing them to wait because that would certainly have been a waste. He has a real chance.

  • Value Rating: 7/10

14 Cause Of Causes

  • Age: 9
  • Trainer: Gordon Elliott
  • Mr J J Codd

What a horse this is. He had two Cheltenham festival wins to his name before this season when Gordon Elliott decided to reinvent the horse as a Cross Country specialist. He didn’t look up to it in January but Elliott had him over for extra schooling over the course and lo and behold he absolutely bolted up at the festival for this third festival win.

He doesn’t look like a National type – he’s quite small – but he he can jump and he can stay (won the 4 miler at the festival as well as the Cross Country over almost the same distance). I like good cross country horses for the National (Balthazar King being the best example) because they are ready for the thrills and spills. If that win hasn’t taken too much out of him and, crucially, if Jamie Codd can ride him closer to the front than usual, he could be the winner.

He has everything and rumour has it that, contrary to the general view that Elliott was aiming him at the festival, this has been his target all year.

  • Value Rating: 9/10

15 Regal Encore

  • Age: 9
  • Trainer: Anthony Honeyball
  • Robbie Power

A hold up horse who has question marks over his fitness and attitude. He has been pulled up too many times for my liking and susceptible to jumping errors too. Not for me.

  • Value Rating:5/10

16 Vieux Lion Rouge

  • Age: 8
  • Trainer: David Pipe
  • Tom Scudamore

I can’t make my mind up on the Lion. All of his last 3 performances just scream Grand National at you, including his 7th place in the race last year when only a 7 year old. I am pretty sure that makes him the best performing 7 year old in the race in the last decade. He then won the Becher Chase, demonstrating his ability over the fences, before winning the Grand National Trial at Haydock in February.

He is a few pounds ahead of the handicapper as a result of that and you can almost be certain that he’ll be cruising along nicely coming to the last few fences. Will he stay that extra half mile or so? Will you be roaring home the lion? Who knows but I can’t criticise anyone that gets behind him – he is one of the most likely candidates to give you a good run for your money.

  • Value Rating: 8/10

17 Definitly Red

  • Age: 8
  • Trainer: Brian Ellison
  • Danny Cook

Won really nicely last time looking like a thorough stayer and he has an obvious chance. My main concern would be whether he will have the cruising speed to go with them early on and whether he might prefer soft ground. I can understand why he is one of the favourites but I’d be looking for something closer to 20/1 before I got involved.

  • Value Rating: 6/10

18 Ucello Conti

  • Age: 9
  • Trainer: Gordon Elliott
  • Daryl Jacob

Tried and failed last year and although tons of punters seem keen on this lad I don’t quite see the attraction. He has threatened to deliver a number of times without getting the job done and I wouldn’t be anywhere near him at the current prices. He has never won a race in the UK or Ireland and that doesn’t fill me with confidence.

  • Value Rating: 5/10

19 Double Shuffle

  • Age: 7
  • Trainer: Tom George
  • A P Heskin

Too young and too inexperienced so unlikely to get round.

  • Value Rating: 3/10

20 Houblon Des Obeaux

  • Age: 10
  • Trainer: Venetia Williams
  • Charlie Deutsch

A cracking horse who was previously considered a Gold Cup prospect. He is a tough stayer but also has a touch of class and if he can get into a rhythm he will outrun his price. He has a nice racing weight to carry, Venetia Willams knows how to get one ready to win a National and despite seemingly being around for ever he is only 10 years old so is a good age for the race. Don’t discount him.

  • Value Rating: 7/10

21 Pleasant Company

  • Age: 9
  • Trainer: W P Mullins
  • R Walsh

An inexperienced horse for his age who probably wants soft ground but he does have the benefit of Ruby Walsh onboard. He was pulled up in the 4 mile race at Cheltenham and I would have worries about his staying the distance.

  • Value Rating: 6/10

22 One For Arthur

  • Age: 8
  • Trainer: Lucinda Russell
  • Derek Fox

A cracking chance for a Scottish horse to win the Natonal for the first time in almost 40 years. His win last time out was a great audition for the race, powering home nicely over a long trip but that was on soft ground and it seems like he would prefer a bit of rain. I have concerns that he won’t be able to go with them at the breakneck pace on good ground for the first circuit so I’m just going to stop short of tipping him.

  • Value Rating: 7/10

23 Ballynagour

  • Age: 11
  • Trainer: David Pipe
  • David Noonan

Some really poor recent form and apparently he has had bleeding problems but if you look back at is run in the race last year he was going well when he unseated Tom Scudamore. If he was to bounce back to form he would have a chance but its hard to fancy him.

  • Value Rating: 4/10

24 O’Faolains Boy

  • Age: 10
  • Trainer: Rebecca Curtis
  • Paul Townend

Another one who is in poor form and although he has apparently had a wind operation to improve his breathing it’s hard to fancy him for this without any indication that he is ready to bounce back to the form of his RSA win a couple of years ago.

  • Value Rating: 4/10

25 Highland Lodge

  • Age: 11
  • Trainer: James Moffatt
  • Henry Brooke

A great record over the National fences, winning the Becher two runnings ago and finishing 2nd more recently. Another one who probably wants softer ground and he was pulled up in the Scottish Grand National last year which suggests he might not stay the trip.

  • Value Rating: 5/10

26 Bishops Road

  • Age: 9
  • Trainer: Kerry Lee
  • Jamie Moore

Definitely a soft or heavy ground horse who won’t be suited by the good ground or the pace of the race.

  • Value Rating: 5/10

27 Lord Windermere

  • Age: 11
  • Trainer: J H Culloty
  • Leighton Aspell

A very interesting jockey booking in the shape of Leighton Aspell who has been successful twice in the last two years. Lord Windermere has hardly won a race since he won the Grand National but he is now way down the handicap list for a horse that won a Gold Cup. Unlikely to be in the mood for it and hard to back given recent performances.

  • Value Rating: 6/10

28 Saint Are

  • Age: 11
  • Trainer: Tom George
  • Davy Russell

Has tried a couple of times and failed to win but he came very close in the race two years ago, finishing second. He hasn’t looked as good as that since then and it looks like his chance has gone.

  • Value Rating: 6/10

29 Vicente

  • Age: 8
  • Trainer: Paul Nicholls
  • Brian Hughes

This winner of last season’s Scottish Grand National looks very nicely handicapped. I was concerned about his recent form but Paul Nicholls insists that the reason for that is the need for good ground. If that’s the case then he should get his ground and if he jumps well and stays with the leaders he’ll be going as well as anything approaching the last fence.

  • Value Rating: 9/10

30 Just A Par

  • Age: 10
  • Trainer: Paul Nicholls
  • Harry Cobden

Should complete the course but he’s a bit of a plodder and might struggle to go with them. Wouldn’t be surprised to see him 6th or 7th going past tired horses at the end.

  • Value Rating: 6/10

31 Measureofmydreams

  • Age: 9
  • Trainer: Noel Meade
  • Donagh Meyler

Bang average recent form. He was 3rd in the 4 miler at Cheltenham in a hot race last year but since then he hasn’t done anything to suggest he can win this. He probably lacks a bit of experience over fences too.

  • Value Rating: 5/10

32 Raz De Maree

  • Age: 12
  • Trainer: Gavin Cromwell
  • Ger Fox

Getting on a bit now but he’s an absolute stone cold stayer and might well plug on into a place at the end. He is reasonably versatile ground-wise too. Can’t see him winning it though.

  • Value Rating: 6/10

33 Stellar Notion

  • Age: 9
  • Trainer: Henry De Bromhead
  • David Mullins

He hasn’t been given a test like this before so its hard to say whether he will stay but he looks an unlikely winner to me. He has previously campaigned over shorter and it looks like this is a shot at nothing to see if he will stay the trip. Possibly the owners are looking for a nice day out.

  • Value Rating: 5/10

34 Rogue Angel

  • Age: 9
  • Trainer: M F Morris
  • B J Cooper

A good age, carrying a nice weight, no problem with the ground, proven over a marathon trip and the winning trainer from last year who seems to think this one has an even better chance than last year’s winner. Rouge Angel won the Irish Grand National last year and if you look at the Becher Chase in December he jumped the fences very nicely and wasn’t given a hard race at all. The horse will be timed right to the minute for this and he looks one of the most likely winners to me.

  • Value Rating: 9/10

35 Cocktails At Dawn

  • Age: 9
  • Trainer: Nicky Henderson
  • Nico de Boinville

Has very little form to suggest he should even be in the race never mind win the thing.

  • Value Rating: 1/10

36 Thunder And Roses

  • Age: 9
  • Trainer: M F Morris
  • Mark Enright

A similar profile to Rogue Angel in that he has won the Irish Grand National (two seasons ago) and has poor recent form. This lad is an out and out stayer but he’s not the quickest and I would be afraid that he will get behind and not be able to make up the ground at the end. Would prefer soft ground. Could very well be one for a place.

  • Value Rating: 7/10

37 Gas Line Boy

  • Age: 11
  • Trainer: Ian Williams
  • Robert Dunne

A solid staying chaser who is reasonably versatile in terms of ground. He is highly likely to jump round and complete the course but he looks like another one who might find the early pace a bit too quick.

  • Value Rating: 6/10

38 Goodtoknow

  • Age: 9
  • Trainer: Kerry Lee
  • Jake Greenall

Probably wants soft ground and looks an unlikely type to me although he is a strong stayer.

  • Value Rating: 5/10

39 La Vaticane

  • Age: 8
  • Trainer: David Pipe
  • Richie McLernon

Lacking in experience and class so unlikely to be a factor.

  • Value Rating: 4/10

40 Doctor Harper

  • Age: 9
  • Trainer: David Pipe
  • Conor O’Farrell

An enigma of a horse who clearly has talent but it isn’t always transferred onto the racecourse. It’s not certain that he’ll stay – he was pulled up in the race at Warwick that One For Arthur won but also was staying on well when 2nd at Cheltenham in January – and he hasn’t shown the right attributes for me to be interested.

  • Value Rating: 5/10

The Rest:

It’s unlikely that any of the reserves will get in but the first reserve is one that I have had my eye on so if he does get in then he could be one for a bet. Bless The Wings is the horse in question and I got 100/1 the other day with non-runner no bet so if he doesn’t get in it’s not a disaster.

The horse has great experience over the Cross Country courses with good jumping and he stayed on nicely to be second in last year’s Irish National. He’s getting on a bit now but he has a nice low weight and I would really fancy him to get involved if he is lucky enough to get a run at the last minute. The rest of the reserves don’t hold any interest and are even less likely to get in.

Shortlist & Recommended Bets:

  • Cause of Causes 2pt e/w @ 14/1 (various)
  • Vicente 2pt e/w @ 25/1 (various)
  • Rogue Angel 2pt e/w @ 25/1 (various)
  • Bless The Wings (2 pt e/w if he gets in)
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5 Comments
  1. Profile photo of renwick
    renwick 2 weeks ago

    Great write up, fair play!

  2. Profile photo of peter daryll
    peter daryll 2 weeks ago

    Nice write up man

  3. Profile photo of elvis parsley
    elvis parsley 2 weeks ago

    The last samuri is one of the favourites because he was 2nd last year and with the winner retired holds best recent form over c & d.
    The decent ground and the fact he has been lightly raced and aimed at this race will help with the extra weight he carries.
    If had to name a banker to place top 5 this would be it. At 16-1 £10ew returns £50 for a place.
    Or you can get 23-5 to finish 1st 4 at betfair.

  4. Profile photo of chelseagirl
    chelseagirl 2 weeks ago

    Total tosh about Last samuri and Ucello Conti .They will be in the mix don’t worry about that I am both of them e/w with 365 money back offer.

    • Profile photo of elvis parsley
      elvis parsley 2 weeks ago

      Voice of value.
      When did lord Windermere win the grand national ??

      Saying that I think he has a good chance of a place at 50-1.
      1 the last samuri
      2 blaklion
      3 vicente
      4 lord Windermere

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