SOME of you will be aware the Grand National is far and away my favourite race of the year. Many see it as a bookies benefit but if you are shrewd enough and don’t put all your eggs in one basket I am convinced there is a whole lot of fun to be had and a bit of cash to be made along the way.
Over the next three weeks we will bring you ante-post selections followed by a detailed runner-by-runner guide that will hopefully help you whittle the field down and find the winner.
I am quite honest about the number of selections I make in the race – usually around 5 – but over the last few years those selections have included Mon Mome (100-1), Auroras Encore (66-1) and Pineau De Re (25-1).
In addition, I permed my final five selections in 2013 for exactas and trifectas with the Tote and won about £3500 for a £28 total stake as Auroras Encore, Cappa Bleu and Teaforthree obliged. For the record the other two were Chicago Grey (pulled up) and Balthazar King (15th).
Last year the same approach yielded a forecast in the shape of Pineau De Re and Balthazar King. The other selections were Teaforthree (unseated), Mountainous (fell) and Shakalakaboomboom (pulled up).
I don’t claim to be able to find the winner every year but I think there are a lot of myths about this great race that can be dispelled quite quickly. Copies of my guides for the last two years for racing geeks are available free gratis – just ping me an email to [email protected]
Anyway, on to this year…
Soll (25-1) I’ve had an eye on Soll for a while now. He has been in the notebook as a potential Aintree horse since he finished 7th in the race back in 2013 when I thought he had no chance. He is undoubtedly a better horse now judged on his last two wins, the second of which came after the weights for the National we’re announced so he is ahead of the handicapper. He is a no brainer for me at this price. A strong each way chance.
Advise 5pt each way bet.
Al Co (33-1) There is some talk that Al Co might go for the Scottish National again so make sure you get non-runner no bet with Bet365, Stan James or Betfair Sportsbook if you are having a punt but he seems a good price to me given that he has now proven his stamina with the win at Ayr. He had a spin over the National fences in the Becher in December and although he was pulled up he looked okay over the unique fences.
Advise 2pt each way bet.
Raz De Maree (66-1) I tipped him last year when he only managed to finish 8th but he was a big price then and he comes here 5lbs lower in the handicap and in my opinion in better form than last year – his recent staying on 2nd in the Midlands National was solid form. The concern for me is that he doesn’t have a great cruising speed and he might be left behind a little bit when they bomb off at the start. At the current prices though I still think he is good each way value.
Advise 2pt each way bet.
Horses to avoid at this stage:
Unioniste – too young and stamina not proven.
Lord Windermere – out of form, no guarantee of stamina, carries top weight.
Many Clouds – too young, wants soft ground, stamina also a question at this distance.
First Lieutenant – form has collapsed recently.