Friday, 10 April 2015

Rollins! Rollins Wins the Title!

It's almost here, folks- the Grand National!

As tradition dictates, let's go through a couple of general pointers, along with some of the possible contenders:

It Pays To Go Each-Way
I'm going to assume that, if you're reading this blog, you know what's meant by each way, but with so many horses in with a chance of at least placing, and so many runners at biggish prices, it really is worthwhile covering yourself by going each way on your runner(s). Scout around for the bookies offering 5 (and even 6) places, as well as scouting around for the best prices (we'll touch on that again later)

Beat The Crowd- Get Your Bets On Early
The casual punters will all be in your local Ladbrokes or Hills on Saturday morning, and their flood of fivers and tenners will only send the prices downwards, diminishing your returns (although the disappearance from this year's race of Shakalakaboomboom does mean there's no risk of the Ooh, Let's Pick Him Because He has A Funny Name LOLZ crowd adversely impacting on a horse's price). With the final declaration stage having been Thursday (once all the horses had been to the horse dentist), get in there quickly after that to get your runners (because you're taking more than 1; come on, there's 40 horses in the field!) at the best available price. Remember and shop around for the best prices, too- consult Oddschecker to compare bookies and their odds and offers

The Runners (well, some of them)
We'll not get through all 40 of them, but let's start from the top of the betting

The 7/1 favourite and mount of AP McCoy in his final ever Grand National- it's worth looking elsewhere for value, though. Won the 2014 Irish Grand National, however that's not really proved a springboard for horses to go on to greater things, and hasn't been seen since triumphing over a middling field over 3m 1/2f at Carlisle in November- 8 year olds have a poor record here, too

5th in last year's running of this race, there's every chance the 10/1 2nd favourite could place again this year, having romped a warm-up race at Kempton. 9 years old and coming into his prime for Paul Nicholls, very much one to consider despite carrying plenty of weight

Romped a competitive handicap at Cheltenham last month, which saw his price for this tumble from 33/1 into its current 12/1. His jumping was fluent in that, plus he appeared to have plenty in hand, and goes off a decent weight in this. Concerns are over his stamina (has never won over more than 3m 6f) and his age (it's 13 years since an 8 year old won this), but if he can stay clear of trouble early on he's got a real chance

Given a new bad-ass attitude, show him some latitude and you'll win his gratitude. Unfortunately hasn't made the cut for this year's running, due mainly to the fact that the Springfield Derby doesn't count as a qualifying race
Image result for Furious D

A real mudlark who has experience round these fences before, finishing 7th here last year under a similar weight and a former Welsh National winner. Unlikely to get the ground he needs, though, and while he should stay the distance, there's faster horses in the race over the distance

Last year's winner lines up again aiming to become the first horse to win back-to-back Grand Nationals since 1974. He's had a low-key build up to this year's run, just as last year, under Dr Richard Newland. Now 12 years old (it's 11 years since a horse that age triumphed here) and carrying 8lbs more than last year, you'd fancy him to have a decent chance of getting round again, but will probably be outpaced by others

The real veteran of this race at 14 years old, he has a tremendous record in this race, placing 2nd in 2011 and 4th in 2013, as well as winning the Becher Chase at Aintree back in December. Were he any younger than 14 (nothing that age has won since 1853) then the 50/1 currently available on him would be genuinely outstanding- as it is, while he should run well for a while, he may just be found wanting at the end

Hugely unlucky in both 2013 and 2014, where loose horses hampered him when leading onto the 2nd circuit- was unfortunate again at Cheltenham when brought down by another horse. This year sees him carrying less weight than both his previous 2 Grand National attempts- he's also fond of front-running, so may be worth backing for a bit of interest in the 1st half of the race- stamina won't be far off, and he's surely due a change of luck

An interesting 100/1 outsider. Was in decent form before Christmas before a slightly disappointing showing at Haydock in February- when you're only 4th in a race won by Harry the Viking, something's not right. Has demonstrated he's a decent stayer, but it would be a big ask for his jumping to hold up over 30 fences in a 40 horse field

There you have (some of) it, folks. Enjoy the big race

Image result for mutual of omicron

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