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Between March 2010 and April 2017, this blog recommended wagers on 520 individual races on Jump Racing in the UK, resulting in a PROFIT of £1,525.39 on cumulative stakes of £5,726 - this is equivalent to a Return On Investment of 26.60%.
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Saturday, 9 April 2016
2016 Grand National
The ground is likely to be more good-to-soft than soft on the National course, and I have already reviewed the field of 40 runners on an earlier blog (on Wednesday). From that review, I came up with a shortlist of 7 runners:
My shortlist for the Grand National:
Silviniaco Conti - In 2012, Paul Nicholls sent Neptune Collonges to win the race, and this year he sends a better horse in Silviniaco Conti to try and repeat that win. "Conti" loves Aintree, as he's won the Grade 1 Betfred Bowl twice, and he's shown he's as good as ever this season. He's not quite at home around Cheltenham but, like Kempton, this flat Aintree track brings out the best in him. Receiving 2lb from Many Clouds, should they both finish I'd expect "Conti" to be about 5-lengths in front. There is some debate that he does not stay the Gold Cup trip but my impression is that he's a one-paced, resolute galloper. He ran 4th in the 2014 Gold Cup, and was a disappointing 7th in the 2015 Gold Cup (behind Holywell). He looks the sort who could win this race by 20-lengths if he gets into the right rhythm. He's 14/1 with several bookies, and most are quarter-odds to 5 places.
O'Faolains Boy - beat Many Clouds over 3-miles as a novice chaser when in-receipt of 4lb, and he's shown this season he still has plenty of ability being a lot better than his OR151 rating. He couldn't keep up the pace in the Gold Cup when he made a brave effort, but he's on my shortlist being a class horse running off a fair weight, and he should be a lot shorter odds than 33/1. On reflection, he probably does not have a winning chance, unless he gets some luck in running, and won't be one of today's wagers. As it happens, he is a non-runner.
Holywell - went into a lot of notebooks for this race when running a cracker to be 2nd in the handicap chase on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival. He also beat a high-class novice field here in 2014 over 3m1f on the Mildmay course, with non-other than Don Cossack, Many Clouds and O'Faolains Boy behind him that day on level weights. A repeat of that form will see him win this race easily and, running off OR153 and carrying just 10st 12lb, he has been given every chance. Remember, he was 4th in the 2015 Cheltenham Gold Cup. Odds of 16/1 are still available and most bookies are at quarter-odds to 5 places. It would be no surprise to me to see a gamble on this horse on the run-up to the race.
Boston Bob - is the mount of Ruby Walsh, and he's been thought of as a National horse since winning here in 2014 over 2m4f, but a win in the Punchestown Gold Cup NTO (in April 2014) beating a strong field, meant he was aimed at the 2015 Cheltenham Gold Cup instead (which he missed). This year, this race has been the target all season, and his win in the Bobbyjo Chase LTO will mean he's in peak form. He's much better than OR151 on his day and I'm surprised he's drifted out to 33/1. Ruby Walsh did have the ride but he's not able to do it as he's injured; so Paul Townend takes the ride and he is a very able deputy. Can trainer Willie Mullins crown an already mighty season by winning the Grand National with this horse?
Just A Par - won the Bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown last April and comes alive at this time of year with the sun on his back, and he ran his best race since that Sandown win LTO at Exeter last month carrying 11st 11lb. He has only 10st 6lb to carry in this and, at 50/1, Just A Par is a lively outsider, and on the shortlist. Take the odds with Bet Victor who are quarter-odds for 6 places, and I'd be very happy if he comes 6th at these odds with my money on him.
Hadrian's Approach - also won the Bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown, but in 2014. Very lightly raced since, his seasonal debut in February could have brought him back to peak fitness for this and Nicky Henderson will leave no stone unturned. He's another lively outsider at 66/1 as he's much better than OR147 on his day. The worry is that he may not have had enough racing and, as such, he's passed over.
Saint Are - looked an unlucky loser last year, and looks an even better horse with his win LTO at Doncaster. Running off OR146, just 3lb higher than last year, he has a tremendous chance of winning. This will be this 3rd Grand National and the 4th time he's attempted the National fences (he ran 3rd in the Becher Chase). The horse just loves this track (many don't) and odds of 16/1 look very reasonable, especially as his trainer Tom George is in top form.
The Grand National has changed recently, not just in trip (shorter) and fences (smaller) but in the quality of horses contesting the race. As such, in recent years 5 of the last 7 winners have carried 11st or more to victory. Horses that carry 11st or more to victory have the ability to either win a Cheltenham Gold Cup (L'Escargot in 1975 with 11st 3lb), or be placed in the Cheltenham Gold Cup (Mon Mome, Hedgehunter, and Neptune Collonges all carried 11st or more to win a Grand National and were placed in a Gold Cup). There are 3 horses in the races who could have gone close to winning a Cheltenham Gold Cup at their peak, and they are the 3 I am advising to place a wager on.
Advised Grand National selections
Silviniaco Conti @ 14/1
Holywell @ 16/1
Boston Bob @ 33/1
Wagers of £5 eachway on all 3, that's £30 staked.
I was going to advise another wager in the 3m1f handicap chase at 4:20pm, but the overnight rain has put me off as it will likely be more testing ground than I anticipated and that could mean an unpredictable race.
The best of luck to all the runners and riders, and let's hope all the horses come back safe to race another day.