With the Aintree Festival starting tomorrow, and the Grand National taking place on Saturday, it’s the beginning of what’s going to be three days of awesome racing.
And at the Race Advisor, we are pretty dang excited!
We’re about to witness some of the most thrilling racing of the year and, to make it even better, we’ve…
Spent nearly 200 hours analysing every single race over the next three days!
The Grand National is at 5:15pm on Saturday afternoon and currently, has an incredible 70 runners declared.
Of course, some of these horses are likely to be pulled out before the race, but by any standards, that number is insane!
Since the modification of the fences and contracting of the weights to attract better horses, the Grand National has become more akin to a high-class staying handicap chase than the lottery of former days.
In fact, the top 10 horses in the weights would not look out of place in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, and two horses who ran in this year’s race standout from the rest of the field in the National.
If you backed More Of That or Saphir De Rheu to win the Gold Cup, you never looked like collecting but both horses ran excellent trials in the context of the most famous race in the world at Aintree on Saturday.
Blaklion ran an eye catching prep race in the National Trial at Haydock for the big one. The horse won the RSA Chase at Cheltenham last season which identifies the champion novice chaser. On that form Blaklion could be a blot on the handicap.
He was beaten by Vieux Lion Rouge at Haydock giving weight. The horses are closely matched on their handicap marks but Blaklion has that extra bit of class which prevails more so now in the National.
The race has been sanitised to a certain extent and none of us want to see injured horses and fatalities. The more extreme elements are still not satisfied, but a balance has now been struck between animal welfare and the race maintaining its intrinsic challenge.
Horses still have to jump 30 fences over almost four and a half miles. I don’t think the enjoyment for professionals and once a year punters has diminished, but the National is now a better race for its safety.
Picking the winner though has not got easier.
Jonjo O’Neill has said that More Of That is the best he has trained. His charge is the only animal to beat Annie Power when that horse completed. That was in the Stayer’s’ Hurdle in 2014, winning form at the highest level.
On past form More Of That has been given a chance at the weights. Finishing about 7 lengths adrift of Sizing John at level weights in the biggest chase of the season is a fine endorsement of the horse’s well being ahead of the National.
More Of That was running a huge race in the Irish Gold Cup in February when falling at the last fence. The race was also won by Sizing John so I think we can say that was a good effort.
Saphir De Rheu was three and a half lengths closer to the winner in the Gold Cup but carries one pound less than More of That in the National. Strictly on the book Saphir De Rheu is better treated. The horse won a Grade 1 novice chase at Aintree in 2015 so is proven at the highest level.
However, More Of That is more suited to the National and the trainer knows his onions with long distance chasers. That means your headline tip for the 2017 Grand National is More Of That.
If you’re looking for early prices on a strong each-way possibility, then More Of That could be one of the best at 16/1 with Coral.