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Saturday 9 April 2022

The 2022 Grand National - 9th April

Crowds return to Aintree: home of the Grand National.

I'm sure this is going to be a fantastic race as there does not seem to be a horse holding an outstanding chance in the race.  It looks a real puzzle of a race to try and find the winner, and if successful that winner could be at decent odds. There are a lot of front-runners in this race and we could see an electric fast pace set on the 1st-circuit: so slower horses may get left a long way behind.
In number order:-
1) This year. the top-weight is OR161 rated Minella Times, who won the race last year but he was only carrying 10st 3lb then and has 11st 10lb this year.  To be fair - he's not in the same form having pulled-up LTO, and I will be surprised if he finishes in the 1st-4. 
2) Delta Work looked as good as ever LTO winning the Cross-Country chase at Cheltenham, and this multiple Grade 1 winner certainly has the stamina to win a National - my worry is that he's spent 2 years in the doldrums since winning the Irish Gold Cup in Feb2020, and maybe that win LTO was overrated.  
3) School Boy Hours managed to get in yesterday and could well run a big race. He looked destined for better days when a novice, but his form was indifferent until winning a top handicap chase on 27Dec.  He was pulled-up at Cheltenham after an error put him out of the race, and he's the sort who could surprise. 
4) On 11st 8lb is another McManus horse in Any Second Now who was 3rd in this race last year with 10st 9lb (OR152). He ran a cracker LTO at Fairyhouse beating Escaria Ten and looks primed for a big run. Remember, he was badly hampered mid-race last year, so looks very interesting if finding a clear run.
5) Run Wild Fred is a plodder: pure and simple, but he could finish in the 1st-5.   
6) The 10yo Lostintranslation isn't the horse he was when 3rd in the 2020 Cheltenham Gold Cup, and I will be surprised if he finishes the race.
7) The 11yo Brahma Bull hasn't run a race worthy of his lofty OR154 rating in years. 
8) Last year, Burrows Saint was well-fancied and held every chance 3-out but faded; he's carrying 6lb more this year with 11st 5lb (OR156) and he may struggle to win again.
9) Regular readers of the blog will remember that I noted Mount Ida as a potential Ladbroke Trophy winner after she won the "Kim Muir"; but it was the horse in 2nd Cloudy Glen who went on to win it! She goes best right-handed and may not be suited to the course.
10) Trainer Martin Brassil won the 2006 Grand National with Numbersixvalverde, and Longhouse Poet is taking a similar route having won the Thyestes Chase over 3m1f on 27Jan. That was a top handicap win, but he runs off a 10lb higher mark in this (OR155) and that may prove too much.
11) A horse who looks weighted to win this is Fiddlerontheroof: not beaten far by top novice Monkfish in the RSA Chase at Cheltenham in 2021, he only just failed to win the Ladbroke Trophy in November and I think he was beaten by the soft ground LTO at Ascot.  This prominent runner looks just the type.
12) Two For Gold has run 7 times at trips beyond 2m7f and won 3 times, but he's nearly always run in races with under 10 runners - this may be too much for him.
13) Santini was a top-class staying chaser two-years ago but lost his way. If Polly Gundry has rekindled his enthusiasm then he could run a cracker, as I was impressed by his run at Cheltenham in January - odds of 50/1 could be huge. 
14) Samcro is an odd sort who only runs to his best when he wants to, and is an unreliable type.
15) Escaria Ten was beaten "on-the-nod" LTO by Any Second Now, but that was a great prep for him as he looks a horse who wants a marathon.  He was only 3-lengths behind Galvin in the NH Chase over 3m6f in Mar2021 (with Snow Leopardess a well beaten 4th) and, off OR152 with 11st 1lb, he must go close.
16) While Good Boy Bobby has improved this season, but seems best suited by soft ground.
17) Romain De Senam is a late entry and I cannot see him getting close. 
18) Coko Beach at 7yo is too young, and he's also inconsistent.   
19) It is a big ask to think De Rasher Counter who won the Ladbroke Trophy in Nov2019 can win this having run just twice in the last 2 years with his run in February his first in 16 months. 
20) If Kildisart has come back from injury as good as he once was, then he could be capable of a bold show - but they never come back as good as they once were.
21) Last year, Discorama ran in this off a break of nearly 5-months and was in with a chance 2-out before fading quickly.  He's had a prep-run this time over 3-mile on 9th Feb, just failing behind Full Time Score who is fancied to go well in the Irish National; so I reckon Discorama will run a big race.
22) Top Ville Ben is unreliable, and also performs best in the mud.
23) Enjoy D'Allen does stay well, but finds races hard to win, so he could well run into a place. 
24) Anibale Fly at 12yo is surely past his best in what looks a competitive race. 
25) Dingo Dollar is a horse who is a serial under-performer, and it would take a career-best for him to win this.
26) Freewheelin Dylan has his fans, but I'm not one - he was a fortunate winner of the Irish National at odds of 150/1 and lightening does not strike twice.
27) Class Conti hasn't won in 3 years and his best form is on soft/heavy ground.
28) Noble Yeats is ridden by Sam Waley-Cohen and is sure of a bold run, but this novice chaser looks to be on a tough handicap mark at OR147. 
29) Mighty Thunder won last years Scottish National and was 2nd in the Midlands National - a repeat of that form would see him go close, but this season he's not looked the same horse and has had a recent wind operation. 
30) Cloth Cap was favourite last year, but I thought he wasn't up to this race and he wasn't. He's not looked the same horse since and is an unlikely winner.
31) Snow Leopardess is one of this years market leaders having won the Becher Chase here in December over the National fences. I think she will go well for a long way, but her handicap mark of OR146 looks tough, and when not racing on soft ground she's looked slow. 
32) Agusta Gold has run well in races beyond 3-mile but finds winning difficult.
33) Commodore is another late qualifier and again I like this one: always runs best when fresh and he's been aimed at this since winning at Cheltenham almost making-all in December. The sort who will run a great race from the front.
34) Deise Aba loves Sandown and soft/heavy ground and I just think this race isn't for him.
35) Blaklion has always run a big race over these fences, and at 13yo it's likely he will enjoy himself again, but he can't win - can he?
36) Poker Party is one of these horses that should never have been entered, his claim to fame is winning the Kerry National beating Ravenhill who went on to win the NH Chase at Cheltenham - but that win was in Sept2019.
37) Before the recent Cheltenham Festival, trainer Gordon Elliott said Death Duty was the best handicapped chaser in his stable - I didn't think so and his subsequent run at Cheltenham was poor. His recent win over 3m4f on heavy suggests he wants a slog in the mud.
38) Domaine De L'Isle struggled recently in the Eider Chase over 4m1f so a big turnaround in form is required - and that's unlikely.
39) Eclair Surf is another late entry and he has to be in with a chance: the form of his win in the Warwick Classic over 3m5f was excellent (Corach Rambler in 4th and Gericault Roque in 2nd finished 1st & 2nd in the Ultima Chase at the Festival); and then pushing subsequent Scottish National winner Win My Wings in the 4m1f Eider Chase LTO was a stonking effort. Even on OR143, he could be 7lb well-in here.
40) Fortescue ran a cracker to win LTO at Ascot, beating Fiddlerontheroof - but that win was on soft ground.  When the pair met on good-to-soft in the Ladbrokes Trophy in November, Fortescue was well beaten. He may struggle to keep up the pace. 

My shortlist is 
Fiddlerontheroof - this is my main hope to win
Eclair Surf - should be in the 1st-5
Escaria Ten - should be in the 1st-5
Any Second Now - may need a bit of luck as he's carrying a lot more weight than last year
Discorama - could run a big race at a huge price

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