Grand National Preview 2019

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By Samantha @sam_angelina22

The Grand National is the greatest steeplechase of them all. No race combines the stamina test of a four mile two trip with the giant, unique National fences. Forty runners from all over Britain and Ireland make their way up to Liverpool, to Aintree Racecourse, with one goal in mind – to win the Grand National.

There will be spills but there will be lots more thrills. Who knows, we could have another 100/1 shock like Mon Mome in 2009? Or maybe another JP McManus winner, they haven’t been in the winners enclosure after this race since 2010 when Sir AP McCoy won it on Don’t Push It? They have three representatives this year. Or maybe Trevor Hemmings will become the winningmost owner in the races’ history by winning it four times?

The big question is – who will the biggest steeplechase of them all in 2019?

Two runners in this race have already won this before. One For Arthur won this in 2017 under Derek Fox. Lucinda Russell’s ten year old got injured and didn’t run last season and has unseated on both starts since his comeback. He loves these fences and stays all day. Connections think he has a good each way squeak.

Tiger Roll won this last year off 10st13lbs and carries 11st5lbs this year. There is no reason why you wouldn’t fancy his chances – he won a grade two hurdle and then won the Cross Country Chase at Cheltenham this season. He is a very short price at 7/2 and anything can happen in the Grand National.

Gordon Elliot has thirteen confirmed runners, including Tiger Roll, but, in the market, his next horse is at 25/1 and that is General Principal. He won the Irish Grand National in a blanket finish at Fairyhouse over three miles five, staying on, so probably will stay. Another Gigginstown-owned runner is Dounikos, who won the Grand National Trial at Punchestown with General Principal and Monbeg Notorious in behind over three miles four. Monbeg Notorious is a multiple winner over three miles and was tenth that day at Punchestown so I don’t think he’ll stay. A similar comment applies to the other two Gigginstown runners A Toi Phil and Blow By Blow, who have struggled to win even over three miles so I don’t think they will make the trip at all.

Outlander and Don Poli, two excellent servants for Gordon and Gigginstown will be sold on the eve of the race – guaranteed a run. Outlander was pulled up in the Irish Grand National over three miles five and will struggle to win over this trip especially with this weight. His is a four times grade one winner and the person who purchases him is really lucky. Don Poli had a trial over these fences in the Becher but got pulled up. He had been third in a Gold Cup and won the RSA but I’d be surprised if he won or even finished sadly.

Mala Beach and Noble Endeavor are from the same ownership. Mala Beach pulled up in the 2016 Irish National, which was his only try at further than three miles two. Noble Endeavor was tenth in the Ultima at Cheltenham and his last win came in 2016 in a grade B chase over three miles. He was sixth, beaten eighteen lengths, in the 2017 Irish Grand National so there is a bit of stamina in him but the actual Grand National is about a mile longer.

Bless The Wings, another of Gordon’s, was third in this last year and sneaked in when Sandymount Duke came out. He is now fourteen and has won a cross country chase around the Cheltenham course, come second in an Irish National and he is an out and out stayer but he has been struggling lately and age is catching up.

That leaves Folsom Blue and Jury Duty to complete the Gordon Elliot battalion. Folsom Blue seems like he needs seven miles let alone four miles two. He won over three miles four and half in February 2018 but he ran in the Midlands National last time out and finished last of the finishers. He ran at Chepstow in the Welsh National and plugged on in a style that is becoming trademark at the end. Jury Duty is a 25/1 shot after beating two of his stable companions, who also run in this race, over three miles two. He is another with stamina doubts.

The second and fourth from last year’s renewal line up too! Pleasant Company 100% stayed the four miles two trip when running on at the final second to almost nab Tiger Roll of the victory. He has ran similarly to the lead up to last year’s race this year by showing absolutely nothing. I’m hoping he runs well again this year as he loves these fences. He should be primed for this.

I also fancy the chances of his stablemate Rathvinden. He won the four miler at Cheltenham last year, proving he’ll stay, and made a belated seasonal debut at Fairyhouse and he won really well from Valseur Lido and Outlander on good ground. He goes on most ground and should handle conditions. He will be well schooled to tackle the fences and is a leading player. Also Willie Mullins has Pairofbrowneyes. The ten year old won the Leinster National last time over three miles and stayed on well. He is yet to tackle a longer, marathon trip such as this but he will probably stay and I have a feeling he’ll like the obstacles. Up For Review was eighth in the Ultima and he is a winner over three miles on heavy going but I can’t imagine he’ll stay. The last one of Willie Mullins’ is Livelovelaugh. He doesn’t stay three miles so I’m surprised he’s even running.

Anibale Fly came fourth in this race last year and put in an excellent performance to be second to Al Boum Photo in the Gold Cup. He stays all day, jumps well, goes on pretty much any ground and has a really good chance. His owner JP McManus also has Regal Encore and Minella Rocco. The latter hasn’t won since the 2016 Four Miler at Cheltenham. He has the stamina but he’s struggled the last few times. Regal Encore’s trainer Anthony Honeyball was meant to run his star mare Ms Parfois but she sadly was found to be lame. Regal Encore is another really delicate horse. He was eighth in One For Arthur’s Grand National and meant to run last year but pulled out the night before. He’s a good horse on his day.

Walk In The Mill won the Becher Chase with Vieux Lion Rouge in 2nd, Ultragold (pictured ^) 3rd and Noble Endeavor 9th. Don Poli and Ballyoptic also ran but they didn’t finish. The formers jumping wasn’t excellent but he travelled really well and will know more for this run. He stayed on really nicely and it would be brilliant for connections if he could run a big race. Vieux Lion Rouge is a grand old servant. He’s ran in the last three Grand Nationals coming 9th in 2018, 6th in 2017 and 7th in 2016. He has been pulled up on both tries since his Becher second but he stays and loves these fences. Another who loves these fences is Ultragold. He’s one of my favourites and he has won two Tophams over the National fences. There are questions about his stamina and whether he’d be better off in that race but I appreciate what connections are saying in that they have a horse who is so good over these fences so they may as well run him in the National.

Ballyoptic fell in the Becher and he has always been a chancey jumper. He didn’t run too badly until the mistake when his race ended but he was a good sixth in the Welsh National over Christmas and he was second over four miles in the Scottish National last year so realistically, if he jumps well, he could be there at the finish. His trainer also has Go Conquer, who will be partnered by Sam Twiston-Davies. This gelding won the Sky Bet Chase under Tom Bellamy, who’s down to ride Ballyoptic, in January very nicely. He stayed on well over the three mile trip with Warriors Tale pulled up in behind. He is yet to tackle a marathon trip but connections appear hopeful.

Warriors Tale, owned by three times winning owner Trevor Hemmings, runs in this race apposed to the Topham as it’s likely to be good ground. Saying that, he has won on heavy before so there shouldn’t be any issues there. He pulled up in last year’s race and I’m not convinced he’ll stay but trainer Paul Nicholls knows more than me. Hemmings also has Vintage Clouds, one of the fancied runners, and Lake View Lad. The former was a brilliant second at the Cheltenham Festival in the Ultima and has decent form over longer trips so he will stay. Lake View Lad was behind him in third in that race and he is a winner over three miles but I prefer Vintage Clouds.

Daryl Jacob won the Grand National on Neptune Collonges in 2012 and partners Valtor for Simon Munir and Isaac Souede, who he is first jockey for, and Nicky Henderson. The ten year old has only raced twice in England but he was a smart over in France before that. He won his first race over here by eight lengths over just short of three miles and he ran in the Cotswold Chase next time out but was pulled up. He was unplaced over three miles five in the Grand Steeplechase De Paris so there is stamina doubts.

There are three other Irish representatives in the race – Magic Of Light, Mall Dini and Valseur Lido. Valseur Lido is owned by Gigginstown, trained by Henry De Bromhead and set to be ridden by dual Cheltenham Festival winning jockey Rachel Blackmore. He was third behind Rathvinden on his penultimate start and well beaten in the Stable Plate at Cheltenham. He was eighth in this race last year but will need to step up. Magic Of Light will be partnered by fairly inexperienced jockey Paddy Kennedy but it is good of trainer Jessie Harrington for putting him up. This mare has won twice since the beginning of the season but is yet to tackle a trip like this. Mall Dini is from the same yard as Gold Cup favourite Presenting Percy and there is a little bit of hype around this horse just at a lot smaller scale. He has never won over fences so for me, that puts me right off. He is round about a 20/1 shot but I don’t think he’ll break his fences duck in this.

Ramses De Teille was second in the Grand National Trial at Haydock in February, beaten a half of a length. He was second before that in the Welsh National when a shocking mistake at four out ruined his chances. He stays well but will need to clean up his jumping to figure. Step Back is very lightly raced. He’s only ran on the track eight times but three were winning. He won around Sandown over three miles four with Rock The Kasbah in second. He couldn’t stay with them over a furlong more at Warwick in the Classic Chase so will need to improve.

Rock The Kasbah won over three miles three, with Singlefarmpayment in behind, in November and hasn’t been seen since finishing sixth in December behind Singlefarmpayment, who was second. The Tom George trained runner is a bit of an odd ball. You don’t really know what you’re getting most of the time. The furthest he has won over is three miles one and this is a big step up in trip. I’m more inclined to believe that Rock The Kasbah will stay better than Singlefarmpayment. Tea For Two is a grade one winner and will be partnered by Lizzie Kelly, who he unseated last time in the Cross Country Chase. He is a good horse but I’m not sure that hell be up to this. Captain Redbeard unseated Sam Coltherd at the seventh last year and has since been behind Warriors Tale and Vintage Clouds. I don’t think he’ll stay.

One horse who will stay but may not get a run is Joe Farrell. He won the Scottish National last year so stamina is assured. He is a very good jumper and has put in two really good runs this season. His price has shrunk massively in the past few days but, at the time of writing this, he still needs one to come out. I really think, if he gets in, especially off such a small weight, he’ll be bang there at the finish.

SAMANTHA’S SELECTIONS

I’ve been looking at this race for a long time a few of the horses I mentioned in my Early Look At The Race aren’t running. My main selection for this race is RATHVINDEN. He impressed me last season over four miles and his comeback run was excellent. It’s hard not to fancy Tiger Roll but I’m trying to be a bit unique and he is a very short price. I said last year that Pleasant Company would win this National and I’m pretty confident he will run well. The Becher winner Walk In The Mill and Vintage Clouds both have strong claims.

REST OF THE TEAM SELECTIONS

EVIE- Tiger Roll, Vieux Lion Rouge & Baie Des Iles (Needs three to come out to get in)

MAX- Ramses De Teille, Jury Duty & Vintage Clouds

KILLIAN- Mall Dini, Jury Duty & Dounikos.

LOIS- Tiger Roll, Ramses De Teille & Vintage Clouds

LUKE- Tiger Roll, Aniable Fly & Mall Dini

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