Definitly Red Can Land Grand National Glory

The Grand National is a race that drags people into the racing whirlwind for ten adrenaline-pumping minutes, once a year.

The once-a-year punters that pick names, colours or maybe their lucky number, are all glued to the television screen as forty horses descend across 30 obstacles on Merseyside.

As always, it looks like a very difficult race to dissect, with so many different variables to take into account. Ground, stamina, course form, ability to jump a fence, weight… and of course, luck.

For the 2017 renewal, we’ll be taking a chance on Definitly Red. It’s not the most fashionable choice, given his place towards the head of the market but he looks as solid a selection as you will find.

He’s only ever been out of the first three once if he’s completed (appreciate that could be a big IF at Aintree) and that was in the Champion Bumper back in 2014. Since then he has gone from strength to strength and he boasts a plethora of really strong form in the book.

After a nice start to the season, he snatched the headlines when running away with a competitive looking Rowland Meyrick Chase, beating Wakanda and Blaklion with ease. He was never going to trouble to runaway winner on his next start at Haydock, where he was hampered and unseated his rider three out.

This could have dented his confidence, so it was pleasing to see him no ill effects as he put in his biggest performance to date last time out. He showed he enjoyed a stamina test, as he bounded clear over 3m 2f last time, putting clear distance between himself and the field.

He was getting 12lb off The Last Samuri, last year’s Grand National runner-up and again at Aintree, he receives the same amount. He’s 10lb well in on figures and although the lack of experience over the Aintree fences is a negative, trainer Brian Ellison has given glowing reports after the horse schooled over similar style obstacles.

Ellison appears very bullish and with the current good ground, which could be a major positive for the horse, the 12/1 looks a fair bet.

Selection: Definitly Red (Grand National) @ 12/1 (Various)

The Grand National.

It’s that time of year when betting shops see an unusual surge in attendance, as the nation gathers to place their yearly bets on the worlds biggest steeplechase.

As 40 runners depart into the Merseyside wilderness, the world holds it’s collective breath as they maraud down to the opening fence, clutching their betting slips with more hope than expectation.

In a 21 year life, I have only ever managed to back the winner of the race twice (Red Marauder and Amberleigh House), yet that never stops me coming back every year, with the mindset that I have finally found ‘the one’.

Aintree 2

I get more texts in the days leading up to the Grand National, than I do for the rest of the year combined usually, with my racing knowledge deemed worthy for one race a year.

Hopefully I won’t let you all down!

Anyways, on with the racing, and as there are 40 runners, I won’t bore you with low-downs of each horses strengths and weakness, I will simply highlight what I believe the first four home will be.

FIRST – CAPPA BLEU

Evan Williams’ 11yo was fourth in the race last year, and has been laid out for another crack at the big prize.

He has finished second on his two starts this term, pleasing his trainer with both runs.

Connections know what it takes to run a big race, after State of Play was placed in three nationals with Paul Maloney on board, as-well as Cappa’s fourth place last year.

Cappa Bleu’s run was impeded several times and he looked as though he would struggle to land any sort of blow, before staying on best of all on the flat, eventually knuckling down and staying on for fourth.

He manages to get into the race on a relatively low weight of 10 stone 11lbs, which he should be able to carry comfortably.

His jumping is impeccable, and if he manages to avoid trouble tomorrow, his jumping strength, tied in with his stamina and connections’ nous of making sure their mounts run a big race, the 12/1 on offer looks incredible value.

SECOND – SEABASS

Katie Walsh’s mount finished third last year, and will be hoping to go two better, as he lines up once more.

The Ted Walsh trained 10yo looked the likely winner last year, before fading up the run in.

The 75 yards less to run this year, will definitely play in to his hands, and he looks to have a real chance of allowing Walsh to become the first female jockey to ever land the Grand National.

A close third in a Grade 2 at Fairyhouse last time out is solid form, and it would be no surprised to see the gelding go off as favourite come Saturday afternoon.

A solid jumper, a great relationship with his jockey and a slightly shortened trip suggest a big run is expected from Seabass and he can fill up one of the places.

THIRD – ACROSS THE BAY

Owners of the 9yo turned down a six-figure sum for their only horse last month which in itself shows just how much potential they think he has.

He has already beaten leading fancy Cappa Bleu this season, albeit when the latter was in need of the run. However this is solid form, and Donald McCain’s gelding has since had a wind operation which has helped considerably.

The 9yo landed the Grade 2 Rendlesham at Haydock on his only run since the operation, and the manner of his success suggested the step up in trip is likely to suit.

He tends to lead from the front, which is the best place to be in the national, in an attempt to keep away from the carnage that a faller would bring to the middle of the pack.

Trainer Donald McCain knows what it takes to get a horse right for the big race, having done so with Ballabriggs in 2011.

40/1 looks too big to ignore, and is sure to receive some each-way interest before the race begins.

FOURTH – CHICAGO GREY

Gordon Elliot’s charge will be hoping to carry on the success of grey horses in the race, after Neptune Collonges finally got rid of the voodoo last year.

The 10yo never really managed to get into the race last year, as he was brought down at the fifth fence, but will be hoping for a big run come Saturday.

He was last seen landing a Grade 2 at Navan, staying on best of all to beat a high-class trio.

The form of the race has worked out extremely well as the runner-up since come out and landed a Grade 2 himself.

Chicago Grey’s form is rock solid, and with Paul Carberry on board, the stylish jockey is sure to give the grey his best chance of winning.

A low weight of 10 stone 7 lbs, strengthens his case further and it would be no surprise to see the 10yo make the frame.

Overall Prediction:

1st: Cappa Bleu (12/1)

2nd: Seabass (10/1)

3rd: Across the Bay (40/1)

4th: Chicago Grey (14/1)

Advice:

1 point e.w: Cappa Bleu @ 12/1 (Various)

 

2013: +23.11