Tiger Roll will attempt to become the first horse since Red Rum in 1974 to win two successive Grand Nationals and it’s likely that the second, third and fourth placed from last season will all renew rivalry with the current favourite.
This article discusses the merits of the leading contenders for the 2019 renewal and highlights two outsiders hopeful of claiming each-way money.
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The Gordon Elliott trained horse only just prevailed in this race last season when seemingly set to win comfortably. However, the 9-year-old must carry only 6lb extra and has appeared a much-improved horse this term. After finishing fourth in a Cheltenham cross-country race back in November when carrying top weight, Tiger Roll then beat some useful hurdlers over 2m5f at Navan. He then produced arguably one of the best performances at the Cheltenham Festival when trouncing the rest of the Glenfarclas cross-country runners without approaching top gear. He will be difficult to beat given a clear round.
Having won the 4m National Hunt Chase for Willie Mullins at last season’s Cheltenham Festival, Rathvinden has proved his stamina for this contest and he won at Fairyhouse back in February when racing for the first time this term. Set to carry eleven stone, he is not without a chance although this will be his first Aintree appearance at 11-years-old.
Trained by Tony Martin in Ireland, Anibale Fly finished third in the 2018 Cheltenham Gold Cup before a fourth placing in last season’s Grand National. After suffering a two-lengths defeat by Monalee over an inadequate 2m4f back in mid-February, the 9-year-old was a fast finishing second in last month’s Gold Cup. Yet there is just a suggestion that Anibale Fly may be one of those ‘nearly’ horses who just cannot win the big prize, and he is set to carry top weight.
If the 2018 Grand National had been raced over a few hundred yards further, Pleasant Company may have won given the way he finished that race. However, the Willie Mullins trained horse may have produced a freak performance that day as in two races both before and after that second place, he has been well beaten. Yet the 11-year-old has completed the last two editions of this contest and may just like the course.
This 9-year-old gelding seems to have around for years and has been a consistent animal over the three-miles plus distance. Following a disappointing effort when pulled up behind Elegant Escape in the Welsh Grand National, Vintage Clouds underwent wind surgery and subsequently finished second behind Beware The Bear in a three miles handicap at the Cheltenham Festival. He is reliable horse who may just find one or two other competitors too quick.
When Vintage Clouds was second at the Cheltenham Festival, Lake View Lad was a fast finishing third in the same race offering the impression that he would be better suited by a truer test of stamina. Nick Alexander trains this 9-year-old consistent gelding who won his other two starts this season and has completed the course in all twelve races over fences.
Welsh trainer Rebecca Curtis won the Scottish Grand National with this horse last season at 33-1. Joe Farrell has raced just twice this term but produced a promising effort when second behind Chic Name at Newbury when carrying 11st12lb. He is lightly weighted on Saturday and could be a contender.
A few of the each-way hopes…
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One of the many Gordon Elliott trained horses in the race, Jury Duty was a decent novice chaser in Ireland during later 2017 before disappointing in the 4m National Hunt Chase at last season’s Cheltenham Festival. This relatively young 8-year-old gelding seemed to produce his former sparkle when winning over 3m2f at Down Royal last month following a five months break, and he represents a decent each-way hope.
When Cheltenham Gold Cup contender Definitly Red appeared at Kelso for a February prep race, it was expected to be an easy contest in a two-horse race. However, nobody told Captain Redbeard about the script and in receipt of ten pounds, he claimed a two lengths victory. Two-runner races are difficult to assess but the 10-year-old is a durable stayer and was perhaps unfortunate last season when unseating at the Foinavon fence (7th) when in contention. He is worth noting for a place.
This David Pipe trained horse has finished second in the Welsh Grand National and Haydock Grand National trial this season and should not be discounted. He appears to be suited by an extreme test of stamina and was not stopping at Haydock when headed after the last fence.
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