Grand National–predictions

Of the horses at the head of the betting I like The Last Samurai, Cause of Causes, One for Arthur and Vieux Lion Rouge as they have all shown that they can jump the National fences and have generally decent form anyway! I am tempted to include Definitly Red in the fancied horses category but I am just not sure of his jumping. I will include Pleasant Company as he has Ruby Walsh on board and the Bobby Joe chase has been a good guide in the past.

Next we look at horses between 20/1 and 49/1 in the betting.  Perfect Candidate has never fallen and could well get round. Ucello Conti jumped round last time and his Irish form is very solid.  Highland Lodge likes the fences which is a plus. I am just not quite sure about Vicente’s jumping. Raz de Maree stays well and I like the way he has been prepared for this.  Rogue Angel is a serious contender as is Thunder and Roses.

Of the real outsiders Houblon Des Obeaux and Just a Par look the pick.

So taking 2 from each category I am going for; The Last Samurai and Pleasant Company; Highland Lodge and Raz de Maree; Houblon Des Obeaux and Just a Par.

Good luck!

Grand National form guide

The Last Samurai was runner up last season  and finished 3rd in the Becher Chase this season so he clearly handles the course and fences really well. He comes into the race on the back of a good run in the Grimthorpe at Doncaster where was runner up. He is clearly one for the short list – the worry would be that he has gone up significantly in the weights.

More of That is a former winner of the World Hurdle.  He was 6th in the Cheltenham Gold Cup this year and clearly has class. Whether he is quite the force of old is debatable.

Shantou Flyer has a touch of class and has some good form over shorter distances. I am not so sure about his stamina though.  He was a fairly remote 2nd to Cue Card at Ascot last time out.

Perfect Candidate won a veterans handicap at Exeter last time out over 3M. Only beaten a nose in a good 3.25 M handicap at Cheltenham in December. He does seem to go well at that track where he has a decent record in staying chases. He goes well on soft ground but has winning form on good as well.  His price of 50/1 does not seem to reflect his chance.

Saphir du Rhea was 5th in the Gold Cup last time out and occupied the same finishing position in the Hennessy last season when he was top weight. He is not badly treated at the weights. .

Roi Des Francs won over 3.25M at Down Royal last month.

Wounded Warrior – recent form is not promising.

Wonderful Charm was pulled up in last seasons National but has been running well in hunter chases this season, notably when finishing runner up in the Foxhunters at Cheltenham.

Tenor Nivernais won a useful 3m handicap at Ascot in February and has since finished runner up at Kelso.

Blaklion won the RSA Chase at Cheltenham last season. This season he has run well in the Hennessy (5th), at Wetherby (3rd)  and most recently when runner up in the Haydock Grand National Trial.

Drop Out Joe hasn’t run since June when winning over 3.25 miles at Uttoxeter. Probably his best career performance was when winning the Badger Ales Trophy at Wincanton over 3M 1F in 2015.

Le Mercurey has been running well this season in good company but is untried over this sort of trip and in big fields.

The Young Master showed some good form last season finishing 3rd in a good handicap at the Cheltenham festival before winning the Whitbread of 3M 5.5F at Sandown.He fell in the Becher Chase this season which is a worry but ran an encouraging race when 6th at Cheltenham last time out.

Cause of Causes was 8th in the Grand National 2 years ago. His best form has been shown at Cheltenham where he is yet to finish outside the first 2 in staying handicaps. He is a former winner of the 4 miler.

Regal Encore  it is hard to assess the form of this runner. If we look at his last 8 races he has been pulled up 6 times. The other two runs were much better, runner up at Punchestown and a win in an Ascot handicap.

Vieux Lion Rouge has an obvious chance. He was 7th in last years race as a 7 year old and had earlier finished 6th in the Cheltenham 4 miler. This season he has been in fine form winning the Becher Chase and the Haydock National Trial.

Definitly Red has won the Rowland Meyrick at Wetherby and the Grimthorpe at Doncaster which puts him in with a chance. He has failed to get round in 2 of his last 7 starts which is a slight concern.

Ucello Conti was 6th in last years race and has since finished 4th in the Becher Chase.  He has shown consistent form in a variety of good handicaps in Ireland over the last 2 years.  His best form is on soft ground.

Double Shuffle was second in a good handicap at Kempton last time out over 3M but is only a 7 year old and that age group has a very poor record in the race.

Houblon Des Obeaux has been running well in marathon handicaps this season. 3rd in the Welsh National, 4th in both the Warwick Classic and the Midlands National. He stays and is no slouch but shows his best form on soft ground.

Pleasant Company won the Bobby Joe Chase at Fairyhouse last time out which makes him a serious contender – Ruby Walsh has the ride.

One for Arthur was 5th in the Becher Chase and went on to win the Warwick Classic.  One for the shortlist.

Ballynagour failed to get round last year and has been pulled up on his last 3 starts.

O’Faolains Boy is a former winner of the RSA Chase but has not shown anything like his best form for quite a while.  He has had a wind operation which might do the trick.

Highland Lodge loves the National fences. He has finished 8th, 1st and 2nd in the Becher Chase in the past 3 years. He was 4th in the 2013 Hennessey.

Bishops Road was third in the Peter Marsh Chase over 3 miles on his last start at Haydock where he won the National Trial the previous season.  He unseated over the National fences last season in the Topham over these fences.  He was 10th in the Welsh National at Chepstow.

Lord Windermere won the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2014 but has failed to maintain that sort of form since. The ground will suit him though.

Saint Are has a good record over the Aintree fences.  He was second in the 2015 National and was 3rd in the Becher Chase in 2014. He will have his favoured ground but he failed to complete in his last two efforts over the National fences.

Vicente commands respect for his win in the Scottish National last season.  He was 5th in the 4 miler at Cheltenham and 6th in this year’s Welsh National.

Just a Par has run twice over the National fences without having any success but has a very good record in the Bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown over an extended 3 miles 5 furlongs.  He won this race in 2015 and was a short head second last year. The ground should suit and he is a winner last time out.

Measureofmydreams was third in the Cheltenham 4 miler last season.. This about the pick of his form.

Raz de Maree has solid form in staying chases.  He has won the Munster National, Cork National (twice) and finished runner up in the Midlands National and, earlier this season the Welsh National. Had a good warm up for this when second at Thurles over hurdles last month.

Stellar Notion has won 3 times over fences, all over 2.5 miles or shorter.

Rogue Angel won the Irish National last season and is a former winner of the Kerry National at Listowel. He was 8th in this years Becher Chase over the National fences and showed promising signs when coming 5th on his most recent start in a Grade A handicap at Gowran Park where he finished 5th.

Cocktails at Dawn Lacks stamina for this and recent form has been poor.

Thunder and Roses won the Irish National in 2015 and did not run badly last time out when 6th in the Leinster National at Naas.

Gas Line Boy fell at the first fence in the 2015 race. Reasonable recent form and was 4th in the National trial at Haydock on his most recent start.  Likes to bowl along in front.

Goodtoknow stays well and was second in the Warwick Classic in January. Not sure he quite has the class for this race though.

La Vaticane does not look to have the stamina for this and has a poor record over the National fences.

Doctor Harper has bits of form including a second at Cheltenham in January but he is a bit in and out.  He has failed to finish in 3 of his last 6 starts.