Friday 24 January 2020

Read our horse-by-horse guide and all the experts' top tips for the Aintree Grand National

Many Clouds and Leighton Aspell touch down ahead of Tony McCoy and Shutthefrontdoor en route to victory in the Crabbie’s Grand National last year.
Many Clouds and Leighton Aspell touch down ahead of Tony McCoy and Shutthefrontdoor en route to victory in the Crabbie’s Grand National last year.

Niall Cronin gives his horse-by-horse guide of today's Grand National (5.15 )at Aintree and we share the the best tips from all the nation's top experts.

Many Clouds 8/1

(Oliver Sherwood)

Rating 10 (out of 10)

The one to beat. Last year’s winner has unsurprisingly had nothing else on his agenda only to get back to try and retain this crown. Running off a 5lb higher mark but only carrying 1lb more in his saddle. Rock solid.

Silviniaco Conti 10/1

(Paul Nicholls) 5

A seven-time Grade One winner, the most recent of which in February when it looked like he had lost his way. Stamina was found wanting in two Gold Cups.

First Lieutenant 10/1

(Mouse Morris) 8

Despite being 11, showed he was is still up to mixing it in top company when third in the Hennessy and being beaten narrowly in the Lexus Chase. Should not to be ignored.

Wonderful Charm 50/1

(Paul Nicholls) 5

Trained with this race in mind all season, but stamina might be the main problem, having never won over anything further than 2m 5f.

Ballynagour 50/1

(David Pipe) 4

This season began well, when third in the Charlie Hall, but his form tailed off. A bit more promise at Cheltenham but looks too hit and miss to be trusted.

O’Faolains Boy 25/1

(Rebecca Curtis) 6

Shown flashes of quality this term and ran well for a long way in the Gold Cup. Trainer has always felt he’d be perfect type for this but needs a return to his 2014 RSA form.

Gilgamboa 40/1

(Enda Bolger) 8

Went close off a big weight at Leopardstown at Christmas but was disappointing in the Irish Gold Cup. Ran well over an inadequate trip at Cheltenham; jumping not a worry. Class horse on his day with a chance.

On His Own 40/1

(Willie Mullins) 5

A faller when well fancied in 2012 and 2013, he is now 12 but showed in Lexus he is still capable of running to high level. Might not get his own way in front and that would be a concern.

The Druids Nephew 16/1

(Neil Mulholland) 8

Fell at fourth last when still holding every chance as 10/1 shot last year and has had this season campaigned around getting back to this race. Form could be better but horses can come alive at Aintree. He’ll need to.

Triolo D’Alene 25/1

(Nicky Henderson) 6

Won a Hennessy Gold Cup as a six-year-old yet is still only nine. Pulled up in this last year but and despite good win in January is hard to fancy.

Rocky Creek 50/1

(Paul Nicholls) 3

Second best to Don Cossack on seasonal debut. Fancied for this race last year (11/2) when hampered by faller. Couldn’t win as eight-year-old behind Pineau De Re. Will struggle.

Sir Des Champs 25/1

(Willie Mullins) 5

Won at two successive Cheltenham Festivals and was one of the leading staying chasers around. Not been the same horse since injury struck.

Holywell 12/1

(Jonjo O’Neill) 6

A horse that only seems to be able to produce his very best form in the spring and that was shown again at Cheltenham when second last month. Would have been primed to the minute for that. Still found one too good though.

Shutthefrontdoor 16/1

(Jonjo O’Neill) 6

Travelled like the winner for much of the race before fading on the run-in. However, connections felt he may have suffered an injury and do not feel it was a stamina issue. If that’s the case, he’s not to be overlooked but pulled up on his last run.

Soll 50/1

(David Pipe) 4

Seventh three years ago and ninth last year suggests he may struggle off an even higher handicap mark.

Buywise 50/1

(Evan Williams) 6

Is two years looking for another win over fences and has hardly been setting the world alight this season. Jockey has a good record around here without winning it.

Boston Bob 25/1

(Willie Mullins) 7

Had to work hard to beat stable companion On His Own last time but on better ground he should improve. At his best, he would look well handicapped but he’s now 11. Trainer/jockey always to be feared.

Aachen 66/1

(Venetia Williams) 5

A 12-year-old which is running off a career-high mark. Trainer won the race with 100/1 shot before but surely can’t do it again.

Morning Assembly 25/1 (Pat Fahy) 9

Ran a nice trial for this when fourth at Cheltenham. Few of the runners could match his form as a novice and he has been nicely handled to get to this point this season even without winning. Potentially could be the best of the Irish raiders as we look to end the drought for this race.

Double Ross 66/1

(Nigel Twiston-Davies) 3

Has run well over these National fences twice before but has another two miles to contend with today and he doesn’t stay that sort of distance.

Goonyella 20/1

(Jim Dreaper) 7

Stamina will certainly not be a concern and the more rain the better. Ran a fine trial behind stable companion in the Leinster National. If he warms to his jumping early he could be knocking on the door but may have to succumb to others.

Ucello Conti 33/1

(Gordon Elliott) 7

Has only had three runs for Gordon Elliott, the last of which saw him brought as wide as possible when third in the Thyestes Chase. Is certainly worth an investment as he remains unexposed.

Unioniste 20/1

(Paul Nicholls) 4

Second to Many Clouds at Kelso and it would be a surprise of he got within 10 lengths of him this time. Trainer stated horse did not enjoy race last year when he fell.

Le Reve 40/1

(Lucy Wadham) 7

Plenty of stamina and a sound jumper. He doesn’t leap off the

page with his form but wouldn’t

be a surprise if he ran well at big price

Gallant Oscar 20/1

(Tony Martin) 7

Ran well the last time he didn’t have to encounter very testing ground and that was at Cheltenham last year behind The Druids Nephew but hit hard by the handicapper and has struggled since then. Trainer in form.

Onenightinvienna 33/1

(Philip Hobbs) 6

Faces a tough test in this race as a novice, but wasn’t beaten far by subsequent RSA Chase winner Blaklion. May be well handicapped but on the other hand may be just too inexperienced.

The Last Samuri 10/1

(Kim Bailey) 9

May possibly go off favourite such has been the support for him in the last week or so. Won readily last time out and has seem to improve with every run this season. Ticks a lot of boxes.

Kruzhlinin 25/1

(Philip Hobbs) 7

This has been his target all season and he has experience over the fences which is a plus but some of his jumping at Cheltenham last time was head scratching.

Rule The World

(Mouse Morris) 7

A consistent chaser but still a maiden over fences. May have won a Galway Plate but for slipping up late on. Trainer seems quietly confident of a big run and might get it.

Just A Par

(Paul Nicholls) 5

Won the bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown last season but subsequent efforts hardly inspire a great deal of confidence.


(Venetia Williams) 3

Not won since January 2013 and has struggled badly since his return from injury. Tough to see him playing a hand in the finish.

Vics Canvas

(Dermot McLoughlin) 4

Relatively lightly raced for a 13-year-old and stayed on gamely in the Becher Chase in December. Better ground will be a help to him.

Black Thunder

(Paul Nicholls) 2

Bits of form that make you have a second look. Beat Many Clouds once upon a time. Hard to fancy on recent evidence.

Ballycasey 66/1

(Willie Mullins) 6

Brought down early last year and was an eyecatcher at Cheltenham last month. Not most reliable but can’t be ruled out.

Hadrian’s Approach

(Nicky Henderson) 4

Useful on good ground, but even that might not be enough for a horse which has flattered to deceive since win at Sandown in April 2014.

Vieux Lion Rouge 40/1

(David Pipe) 3

A grand horse with some nice form earlier in the season but never reached the dizzy heights of a live contender for a race like this.

Pendra 50/1

(Charlie Longsdon) 5

Has failed to deliver at Cheltenham and in Irish National. Could outrun odds but would be surprise winner.

Saint Are 16/1

(Tom George) 6

Fine runner-up last year and sneaks in off a 1lb lower mark than 12 months ago. Won a veterans’ chase last time out and even had a run over the cross country fences. On some shortlists but not for me.

Home Farm 100/1

(Henry de Bromhead) 3

Has never quite managed to achieve what has so often been expected of him. Was third in Irish National three years ago but even that form wouldn’t be good enough here.

The Romford Pele 40/1

(Rebecca Curtis) 6

Trainer’s horses are hitting a bit of form and this horse certainly wasn’t disgraced in very different assignment at Cheltenham. There’ll be worse 50/1 shots running for you.

Experts' Tips

Irish Independent

Richard Forristal: Holywell 12/1

Wayne Bailey:  The Last Samurai 10/1

Patrick Mullins: Ballycasey 10/1

Niall Cronin: Many Clouds 8/1

Irish Daily Mirror

Newsboy: Morning Assembly 25/1

Irish Daily Star

Brian Flanagan: Silviniaco Conti 10/1

The Irish Sun

Paddy Power: Shutthefrontdoor 16/1

The Irish Daily Mail

Marcus Townsend: The Druids Nephew 16/1

Online Editors

The Left Wing: Schools rugby special - 'The St Michael’s dream team are the side to beat'

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport