Tomorrow is my favourite day of the year. I LOVE the Grand National. I usually go to post (not literally) having backed nearly half the field as I care very little about making profit on the race, I just want a good chance of having a "live one" as they turn for home to increase that excitement (if that's at all possible?!)!
As followers of this blog will know, I backed Chicago Grey (pictured below) at 50/1 (and put a post up about why) months ago, he is now much shorter and hopefully has good claims as the ground is ideal for him. Join Together is another I backed a while back, taking 70.0 the win and 27.0 the place. I think it may be a year too early for this young horse but I expected (and later enjoyed!) a fantastic display of jumping in the Becher Chase and his price collapsed. I will no doubt add a good few more to the "team" before the big race goes off, but have included a couple in here. In fairness, I think you are better off picking your own whether you study form, pick by name/colour, or get the dog to make a muddy paw print somewhere on the racecard!
We all love a big price winner (if we've backed it) and one I think is massively overpriced is Any Currency. He should appreciate this better ground as he hosed up off 127 (5lb lower than tomorrow) last time he encountered good ground; he looks an out and out stayer (that win was 3m4f and he is always staying on at the finish); he goes off a lovely racing weight; and he is 100/1 so looks worth a small nibble in a race we all know can chuck up a surprise.
0.25pt e/w @ 100/1
The National aside I fancy a few at nice prices tomorrow and although not putting him in the blog piece, Triolo D'Alene (pictured below) was mentioned very favourably in a tweet shortly after (when 25/1) and duly obliged in the Topham having been granted his preferred good ground, so hopefully another will follow suit!
Johns Spirit was travelling nicely into his race at Cheltenham before blundering badly 4 out which cost him any chance he may have had. The race before that was also at Cheltenham and he blundered when making headway 3 out. Race before that he finished 2nd to a certain Katenko, who we all know is progressive and could be very handy. JS is still off the same mark of 133. He'd won fairly comfortably before that Katenko race and in only 2 other chase starts previously he made plenty of errors and was well beaten. As you may have guessed, he needs to jump well, but if he does I think he has a good chance of being competitive off this mark as he's lightly raced over fences and is only a 6yo. This is his only his 2nd attempt over 3m (the first being behind Katenko) so I think there's scope for improvement, and the trip will give him more time at his fences which may help. He was beaten a head in a Good to Firm bumper and has won twice on Good to Soft so should be okay on the ground.
1pt e/w @ 16/1 (various)
First In The Queue (pictured above) is a speculative selection but he takes a drop down in class having been recently tried in Listed and Gr3 company. I'm convinced he wants this better ground and he ran a cracker when beaten a head in soft ground at Ascot by Petit Robin off just 2lb lower in a class 2 (as tomorrow is) as that horse confirmed it to be no fluke when winning again next time off roughly the same mark (given a very good claimer was jocked up and negated most of, if not all of, the rise) and then finished 2nd to Cause of Causes in the Ladbroke off a good few lbs higher.
0.25pt e/w @ 40/1
In a competitive race it can't hurt to go in double handed and Special Catch goes off a nice low weight in the same race and I think he will be okay on the ground as he performed well behind Oscar Nominee last season on similar.
0.25pt e/w @ 16/1
I saw Tistory win at Ludlow on his British debut, beating Court Minstrel (pictured above) in the process. He was understandably green that day but looked a smart horse and will no doubt improve with experience. It is interesting they haven't run him all season and then chuck him into what looks a strong bumper. MTOY ran in it last year so if he's half as good he could have been overpriced at the 6s he opened up at.
1pt e/w @ 6/1 (He is now 3/1 but was put up on @kingofthejumps twitter at 6/1 in case the price went while this was being written so as to avoid “aftertiming” on the price).
Vago Collonges' form with Oscar Rock is a piece I like a lot, and I wouldn't be surprised to see Pure Science run a nice race for Nigel Twiston-Davies (pictured above, who won this race last year with The New One), but I know a group of lads who will more than likely back Sgt Reckless into 11/10 favourite by the time this race goes off, so it would be sacrilege not to join the party with a small interest. He is very highly regarded and although things didn't go to plan at Cheltenham, I think this track could suit and at his price he looks worth siding with.
0.5pt e/w @ 12/1 (BetVictor / PaddyPower)
In the 4.45pm at Chepstow I personally won’t be having a bet as our racing club part own Is It Me, but I think Quiet Whisper may improve tomorrow for Kim Bailey (pictured below, it will be interesting to read his views in his morning blog). QW has dropped to 97 very quickly from 115 and the return to 2m on better ground looks like it could suit as he has won in those conditions in the past.
0.25pt e/w @ 20/1
African Gold takes a step out of novice company tomorrow in the Liverpool Hurdle but I think this could be a very serious horse who will take high rank as a novice chaser next season so I'm willing to take a risk on him being up to this standard. He is very highly regarded and ran a stormer at Cheltenham to chase home the impressive At Fishers Cross in ground that would have suited the winner far better.
1pt e/w @ 8/1
Though not as fancy a price as the rest, Dodging Bullets definitely wants this better ground and although it's no easy task, I think he could be one of the best novices from this season in the right conditions so feel I must have a few quid on him to win the opener for Champion Trainer Paul Nicholls (pictured below).
2pt win @ 5/2