Monday 26 August 2019

Grand National 2019: Get the lowdown from our experts and top tips on the world's most famous steeplechase

 

Can Tiger Roll repeat the feat of the legendary Red Rum
Can Tiger Roll repeat the feat of the legendary Red Rum
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

The 2019 edition of the Aintree Grand National is upon us. Our expert team will hopefully help find the winner among the 40 runners.

WAYNE BAILEY'S GUIDE TO THE GRAND NATIONAL

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The indefatigable Tony McCoy, who was champion jockey for 20 years on the trot, finally got his Grand National winner in 2010 on board Don't Push It. It was his 15th attempt at winning the greatest steeplechase of all.

I've been betting properly for more than 20 years as an adult, and I'm starting to feel a bit like Tony McCoy must have felt around 2009, with not a single winning Aintree Grand National bet to my name during that period.

I've mentioned before that I picked the winner in 1990 all right, Mr Frisk, but I'm not sure I can include that on my CV here as I wasn't even 10 years of age and only backed him as the trainer, Kim Bailey, shared my surname.

I've gone close a few times and I must add up what my each-way return is down through the years - but I'm really dying to bag a winner, if only to get the monkey off my back and shut the lads up down the local, and this year is no exception.

One option is to throw a few darts at the board and back a number of runners, but that can prove costly in a race where anything can happen.

The other is to back the favourite and go with the market, although I prefer to put in my own analysis and see if I can somehow figure out the 40-runner puzzle.

Rephrase

Besides, I just can't be having Tiger Roll at 4/1 in such an open race. Actually, I should rephrase that - I can't be having any horse at 4/1 in the Grand National.

You can back a horse around that price any day of the week, but that's not what the Grand National is all about. Having said that, I'd be delighted for the sport and Gordon Elliott if he does actually win.

And make no mistake, he's got a serious chance, and well deserves his place at the top of the market.

He'd be the first winner since Red Rum to do two in a row and it would be one of the sporting feats of the whole year.

Even if you don't back him, any racing fan would surely appreciate and enjoy a success story like that.

It could be argued that he scraped a win last year off a rating of 150 so he can't be expected to win off 9lbs higher - but it could also be argued that he's well-in, having put in a cracking display to win the Cross Country at Cheltenham, with his rating now set to rise further.

Anyway, I wish him well, but I won't be backing him, simply because of the price.

Speaking of horses that look well-in, I'm going to side with Joe Farrell, a proven stayer which won the Scottish Grand National off a rating of 135 last year.

While he defied an 11lb rise to win that contest, he's in nearer the lighter end of the scale here with a rating of 142 to give a racing weight of just 10st 12lbs.

However, that rating has been locked in since before he finished a very good second to Chic Name in a decent handicap at Newbury last time, arguably a career best.

Rebecca Curtis's 10-year-old is due to go up 3lbs for that, to 145, so he looks well treated here, and the 18/1 available yesterday evening looks fair. Of course, it's the Grand National so I'll be going each-way.

Another reason I like this one is that he's never fallen in his eight races over fences, or in his five races over hurdles.

It would be a great boost for Curtis's small yard too, which has fewer than 20 horses in training. He's got proven stamina, he jumps well, he's a nice price - what's not to like?

While his odds are not that attractive at around 10/1, Willie Mullins's Rathvinden can't be ignored under Ruby Walsh.

Having won over four miles in the past, we know he can stay and when he put a number of good rivals to the sword in a Grade Three at Fairyhouse in February, despite a break of nearly a year, I had to double-check the race card to confirm I hadn't got it wrong and that he was actually aged 11.

Usually spotted racing well in graded company, he's one of the classier acts here.

With all the attention on Tiger Roll, some of Gordon Elliott's other runners are worth considering including Jury Duty around 20/1 - or for those that love a big-priced outsider, A Toi Phil, which was 66/1 in the betting yesterday evening.

It's hard to know what to read in to Jury Duty's American Grand National win at Fair Hills in October but it's certainly a positive piece of form, and he comes here following a nice win over stablemate and even-money favourite Mala Beach in a minor event at Down Royal three weeks ago. He can be relied upon to jump well and he's a big player today.

Downhill

A Toi Phil has been a bit of a let-down this term - but his trainer can often get a good run out of a horse that seems to be going downhill, and the nine-year-old has had a couple of spins over hurdles in preparation for this, in which he wasn't disgraced.

Deep down he has talent, it's just a matter of getting him to show it, and he has a number of Graded victories to his name, including the Kinloch Brae Chase at Thurles in January last year.

Finally, the David Pipe-trained Ramses De Teillee is worth a mention, and is expected to go off around 25/1.

He's definitely on the young side aged seven, the last winner of that age being Bogskar in 1940, but younger animals have been gaining ground in recent years with three of the last four winners aged eight.

He traded at 1/2 in-running in the Welsh Grand National, and 1/10 in the Haydock Grand National trial, eventually finishing second in both, so it wouldn't be a major shock if he finds himself taking home some place money.

A little earlier in the Ryanair Stayers' Hurdle (3.40), I'm going to take a chance on Apple's Jade, although I'm a little nervous about doing that as I always seem to be on the wrong side of the bet when she loses, and don't back her when she wins.

Her flop in the Champion Hurdle can't be explained easily, but she might bounce back here at the longer trip.

TOP TIPS FROM OUR EXPERTS

Patrick Mullins

1. Rathvinden

2. Tiger Roll

3. Pleasant Company

4. Valseur Lido

5. Don Poli

Michael Verney

1. Rathvinden

2. Walk In The Mill

3. Valseur Lido

4. Tiger Roll

5. Jury Duty

Wayne Bailey

1. Joe Farrell

2. Rathvinden

3. Jury Duty

4. A Toi Phil

5. Ramses De Teillee

Aidan Coleman

Just A Par (e/w)

Niall Cronin

Tiger Roll

Robbie Power

Jury Duty

 

 

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