Which outsiders could outrun their odds in the big Aintree race?
The Grand National has always been a lottery and judging by recent results – winners at 100/1, 33/1, 66/1 and 25/1 in the past six years – that still very much applies.
So, while those at the head of the market boast better credentials, it’s fairly safe to say that any of the 40 runners could pop up and the message to punters is clear: don’t let the price put you off! But unless you’re going to use the traditional pin method or just go by the name to find the winner, some informed advice won’t go amiss and here are four lively outsiders who could surprise, including the trainer / jockey combination, racing weight and best prices at the time of writing.
Saint Are (Tom George / Paddy Brennan; 10st 6lb)
I’m classing anything at 33/1 or bigger as an outsider and I’m surprised that Tom George’s runner is as big as that price given how much he has going for him. Formerly trained by Tim Vaughan, who saddled him to finish ninth in the 2013 renewal behind Aurora’s Encore, he has looked as good as ever this term and arrives on the back of a confidence-boosting success at Catterick. That came off a lowly mark of 129 and he’s running off 143 here, but has a lovely racing weight of 10st 6lb. He used to be prone to errors but was much better when finishing third over the National fences in the Becher Chase earlier this season and he has a fine record at this meeting, winning in 2011 and 2012. He should be at the peak of his powers at the age of nine – 33/1 bet365.
Royale Knight (Dr Richard Newland / Brendan Powell; 10st 2lb)
Ran away with the Durham National over 4m in October, when building on a couple of promising efforts over marathon trips, and warmed up for this when finishing second over hurdles at Chepstow. The ground was was far too soft that day and this good-ground performer should make a bold bid for last year’s winning trainer off bottom weight. His backers will be hoping the forecast rain stays away or, should it miss the track, they don’t put too much water on the course – 33/1 bet365.
Monbeg Dude (Michael Scudamore / Liam Treadwell; 10st 7lb)
The ten-year-old is another with a low weight to carry and while the strong trend towards horses under the 11st barrier is coming under threat due to the modern compression of the weights, it certainly won’t harm his chances. Having finished seventh in last year’s race, when looking a real threat until weakening going to the penultimate fence, he could do even better this time around with that experience under his belt. Certainly, he’s looked as good as ever this term, with third place in the Welsh equivalent the highlight, and his chances would be increased further should the forecast rain materialise – 40/1 Paddy Power (6 places).
Court By Surprise (Emma Lavelle / Richie McLernon; 10st 3lb)
Has crept into the race on a very low weight and seems a big price given he has shown progressive form this winter. He began the season in fine style when winning on his reappearance at Exeter and, while he got lucky when awarded the Badger Ales Trophy following the disqualification of The Young Master, it was still a cracking effort to beat all bar the well-handicapped winner. He hasn’t been seen since November due to his preference for good ground, but that’s no real real concern as he has gone well fresh in the past. A good jumper who has yet to fall in 15 chase starts under Rules, he could well live up to his name and post a surprise result – 50/1 Coral.
If the above has encouraged you to place a bet the advice is to get on early (Saturday morning at the latest) as prices always collapse before the off.