In a little over two months time, the nation will unite for the one day a year where horse-racing takes centre stage.
The Grand National never fails to draw a mass worldwide crowd, and betting shops fill up with the ‘one race a year punters’ who love to have their pennies on a mount in the Aintree spectacular.
With 40 runners likely to line-up, it is always incredibly difficult to select the winner, as so much can happen across the four and a half mile venture, with 30 obstacles to negotiate.
However, at this time there are plenty of value bets to get stuck into, and hopefully you will be able to watch the price drop and drop until the day of the big race, which makes it all the sweeter.
Obviously we have less to work with at this stage, such-as we don’t know the official weight, whether they will get to the race in top shape etc, but this is all reflected in the price.
Unfortunately, my biggest fancy for the race would have been the consistent Cappa Bleu who has gone close in the previous two years, however he has been ruled out of the big race after picking up a knock. Trainer Evan Williams has stated a bid for the 2015 Grand National to be on the cards, but unfortunately he will miss what looked set to be a great opportunity.
Tea for me;
However, Wales will still be very well represented in the race, with last year’s third placed finisher Teaforthree lining up again for another crack at the big race.
He looks ideally suited to the stamina test at Aintree, and proved his capabilities in handling the track when putting in an inch perfect round of jumping, before staying on at one pace towards the end of the race.
The fact he has never fallen on a racecourse is a major plus, as the Aintree fences, although having been amended over the last few years, still take no prisoners. There are no stamina doubts for the 10-y-o, and his added touch of class may well prove extremely hard to peg back.
A sold run in the Welsh National in December will have acted as a perfect blowout, and the performance was enough to show he has retained his ability, and he should well be able to outrun his current 25/1 odds.
Time to Walkon;
Alan King is yet to win the Aintree feature, however he knows what it takes to win a big race, having landed last year’s Scottish National with Godsmejudge who is currently 33/1 for the English equivalent.
However the Barbury Castles handler is double handed in this year’s race, and it’s his other intended runner, Walkon, which is of more interest.
The 9-y-o grey excels in big field races, and looks the ideal candidate to attack the obstacles at Aintree. His last visit to the Grand National meeting was a semi-successful effort, finishing runner-up in the Topham Chase, over the National course last year. This effort is enough to instill effort in the punters who know the gelding can handle the unique Aintree obstacles, and if he has retained any of his previous class he should be able to mount a serious challenge.
He disappointed on his last visit to Merseyside, unseating when favourite for the Old Roan chase in October. He makes his re-appearance on Saturday in the Argento Chase at Cheltenham, and a good run there could see his price shorten severely. The 66/1 currently on offer looks very generous, and if he manages to line-up safe and sound come April, there is no way he will be the same price.
Teaforthree @ 25/1 (Various)
Walkon @ 66/1 (Various)