Randox Health Grand National Preview
Currently heading the betting for this prestigious race is Vieux Lion Rouge who is 2 from 2 this season with the first of those wins coming over these fences in the Becher Chase. He faded into 7th in this race last year but his trainer David Pipe has reported that he’s grown up a lot this season and has had the perfect preparation for this race.
Barry Geraghty has chosen to ride More Of That who has plenty of class having won the World Hurdle back in 2014. He’s had plenty of problems during his career but ran respectably in the Gold Cup last time out. A sound jumper, this sort of test may well suit him these days.
Geraghty could have ridden three-time festival winner Cause Of Causes, the latest of those victories being the Cross Country Chase. He disappointed in this race a couple of years ago but was only 7 at the time. My worry with him is that he will get too far back like he did on his first attempt and has never run well after winning at the Festival.
Arguably the best handicapped horse in this race is Definitely Red who is 10lb well in having bolted up in the Grimthorpe Chase at Doncaster last time out. He can make the odd mistake but he has reportedly schooled well over the national fences recently and should stay the trip on this ground. He should go close if he avoids mishaps.
Second behind Definitely Red in the Grimthorpe was The Last Samuri who went close in this race last year when finishing second off a mark of 149. Runs off 161 this time and, although he’s been in good form again this season, it will be an incredible performance if he was able to win off his career high mark.
Nigel Twiston-Davies has a good record in this race and his only runner this year is the previous RSA Chase winner Blaklion. He was runner-up behind the favourite at Haydock on his most recent start. At the weights, there shouldn’t be much between them on that form. He’s improving and has plenty of class but can do too much in the early part of his races which is a worry and he’ll need to settle early on if he is to see out this trip.
Flying the flag for Scotland is One For Arthur and he ticks plenty of boxes having run a promising race in the Becher Chase before landing the Betfred Classic Handicap Chase at Warwick. Looks certain to stay this trip, has the all important experience over the national fences and seems versatile with regards to the ground.
Paul Nicholls has always held Saphir Du Rheu in high regard and I thought he ran a cracking race in the Gold Cup. 2m4f was on the sharp side for him the time before in a hot handicap at Cheltenham on Trials Day where he was staying on well at the finish. Shapes as though he will stay this trip and is also 6lb well in.
One at a bigger price who could go well is Perfect Candidate for the Fergal O’Brien team. A solid jumper, he’s improved again this season and bolted up at Exeter in February carrying top weight. There’s every reason to believe he will stay the trip and is sure to be ridden up with the pace.
1) Definitely Red
2) One For Arthur
3) Saphir Du Rheu
4) Perfect Candidate