Tip Reasoning

It’s no secret that Holywell is a better horse in the Spring.  The 6 best efforts of his career have come, 1 in February, 3 in March and 2 in April with both April efforts coming at the Grand National Festival.  In 2014 he gave Don Cossack a ten length beating in the Mildmay Novices Chase before returning last year to finish a close 3rd to Silviniaco Conti in the Betfred Bowl.

He had not been enjoying a particularly successful season this time around before a return to better ground and handicap company saw a excellent 2nd under a welter burden in the Ultima at the Cheltenham Festival.  There was no disgrace in not being able to give 5lbs to a horse of the class of Un Temps Pour Tout in that contest with the David Pipe trained horse running in a chase handicap from a mark 15lbs lower than his hurdles rating.

That effort suggests that, as is the norm, with the days getting longer and warmer, Holywell is sparking back into life.  He stays every inch of three miles with a 4th place in the 2015 Gold Cup on ground softer than ideal giving hope that he will at least be effective at a little further.  The Grand National is a far cry from the level of contest it was in the 80’s and 90’s with genuine Grade 1 class horses lured in by monster prize money to have a tilt at the World’s most famous race.  Holywell’s class and ability to travel at pace should allow him to stay out of trouble on the first circuit and with conditions likely to be to his liking, his touch of class can see him at least hit the frame.

In Jonjo O’Neill, he has a trainer whose recent record in this contest is exceptional.  8 of his last 27 runners in the race have made it into the first 5 home with 6 of them making the first 3.  A 9/2 shot that O’Neill will get something in the frame and Holywell on his first go over the fences (8 of the last 10 winners made their debut over the bigger obstacles when winning) he looks the pick of the trainer’s pair.

While Many Clouds took all the plaudits in 2015, the runner up, Saint Are was the one who took the eye of many race watchers.  He travelled well through the race to get himself into a challenging position but found Many Clouds had stolen a march on him.  Saint Are was staying on all the way to the line, cutting the deficit to a mere length and three quarters by the time they passed the post.  He is two pound better off with Many Clouds this time around which on the bare form should be enough to turn the placings round given almost four and a half miles to run, yet he is available at almost four times the price of the Oliver Sherwood trained horse.

Tom George will have planned this entire campaign around a repeat bid at the Grand National and the horse finds himself well in at the weights given that his final warm up for this contest resulted in a winning effort at Doncaster.  The drying Spring ground will suit him better than the soft that he faced when well seen off in the Beecher chase earlier on in the campaign and with a prominent racing style and the experience in the book, he should be able to steer clear of the early fallers.

With just 10-5 to carry, he is far from overburdened and finds himself smack in the middle of the 9-11 age range that have dominated those in the frame in this race over the past decade.  There looks to be an excellent chance to get round the fences safely once again and find himself in the winner’s enclosure at a tasty each way price.

Grand National Runners Preview

Number: 22 – Age: 11 y-o
Rating: 149 – Trainer:  Venetia Williams
Form: 902114-4P13P
Odds: 100/1
Notes: An experienced 3 miler who enjoyed a successful start to the season winning at Wincanton and Cheltenham. Struggled on his last two runs on better ground and is yet to place at any contest over 3m 2f.

Number: 39 – Age: 9 y-o
Rating: 147 – Trainer: Willie Mullins
Form: 4359-BP3712
Odds: 80/1
Notes: Finished 5th at the Cheltenham Festival despite being well fancied for the Festival Plate. He’s never won a race over 3m and was brought down in last year’s National when travelling near the back of the field.

Number: 7 – Age: 10 y-o
Rating: 155 – Trainer: David Pipe
Form: 7PP5351F-2P2
Odds: 66/1
Notes: Runs predominantly in Graded contests these days but is yet to win anything over 2m 5f. He struggled in both the King George and the Denman chases before being pulled up. Highly unlikely to be a real danger around Aintree.

BISHOPS ROAD (Reserve 1)
Number: 49 – Age: 8 y-o
Rating: 154 – Trainer: Kerry Lee
Form: 11303F68-35126
Odds: 33/1
Notes: His rating has risen by 25lbs after the last three races with the last run being extremely impressive, winning a Grade 3 over 28f, with seemingly plenty left in the tank. If he makes the cut he could be a live danger although still relatively inexperienced for the demands of the Grand National.

Number: 38 – Age: 9 y-o
Rating: 147 – Trainer: Paul Nicholls
Form: 6U0-75124
Odds: 50/1
Notes: He was struggling in the Welsh National before unseating Harry Cobden and also finished a distant 7th in last year’s Festival Handicap Chase. Boasts plenty of big race experience but is yet to win anything over 3m.

Number: 20 – Age: 11 y-o
Ratings: 155 – Trainer: Willie Mullins
Form: 1P05-044231
Odds: 40/1
Notes: Had struggled since running 10th in last year’s Gold Cup but returned to form when finishing strongly to win at Fairyhouse in February. Yet to run anything over 3m 1f but strong rumours that Ruby Walsh takes the ride.

Number: 19 – Age: 9 y-o
Rating: 151 – Trainer: Evan Williams
Form: 3423-54151
Odds: 50/1
Notes: May not have won yet this season but has put in a number of good performances to feature in the places every time. Missed the start at Doncaster last time but finished extremely quickly to come 3rd. Yet to run over 3m but he could feature if he gets a clear run.

Number: 24 – Age: 10 y-o
Rating: 147 – Trainer: Nigel Twiston-Davies
Form: 99542-06RU3B
Odds: 66/1
Notes: A highly thought of chaser who’s rating has dropped 13llbs since November 2014 after two disappointing season. He’s jumped and stayed OK this campaign but has struggled to find pace to threaten a win and doubtful the Grand National would be the place to find it.

Number: 4 – Age: 11 y-o
Rating: 155 – Trainer: Mouse Morris
Form: P2348-038642
Odds: 33/1
Notes: A consistent runner in Graded chases but hasn’t won since this meeting in 2013. Finished 16th in his Grand National debut last year but put in an much improved run in the Hennessy finishing 3rd. That said, a weak display in the Irish Gold Cup last time around won’t fill the Mouse Morris camp with much confidence going to Aintree.

Number: 29 – Age: 10 y-o
Rating: 148 – Trainer: A. J. Martin
Form: 57U1-34221
Odds: 33/1
Notes: Has only attempted a trip over 3m once before and that ended badly when his rider was unseated. Showed good form last season but after a win on his seasonal reappearance he hasn’t been at his best so far this term. Big doubts over current form and the trip here.

Number: 9 – Age: 8 y-o
Rating: 159 – Trainer: Enda Bolger
Form: 5543-12311
Odds: 66/1
Notes: This seems a strange entry considering the furthest distance he has won over is 2m 4f. Enda Bolger is renowned for training great long distance chasers, but a lack of form this season will have been a blow, fifth place’s in both the Irish Gold Cup and the Ryannair is the best he has been able to muster. Clearly has talent, but major doubts over this marathon trip.

Number: 25 – Age: 9 y-o
Rating: 149 – Trainer: J. Dreaper
Form: 2493-2137U2
Odds: 20/1
Notes: Last year’s Midlands National winner has struggled for form since that nine length victory. He’ll be a popular one though and the step back up in trip will suit. He could be a big danger with a clear run.

Number: 40 – Age: 9 y-o
Rating: 144 – Trainer: Nicky Henderson
Form: 7P-6
Odds: 50/1
Notes: Hasn’t raced often during the last two years and results haven’t been great when he has appeared. Won the Gold Cup Sandown Chase over 3m 5f in April 2014 and didn’t run badly at Kempton last time out although he didn’t seem to have the extra pace to really make an impression.

Number: 16 – Age: 9 y-o
Rating: 157 – Trainer: Jonjo O’Neill
Form: 2P45-341U3
Odds: 16/1
Notes: Ran on well off top weight to come 2nd at the Cheltenham Festival in March. Has good form around Aintree, beating Don Cossack less than two years ago. Looks to have a really good chance given a generous weight.

Number: 46 – Age: 9 y-o
Rating: 147 – Trainer: Henry De Bromhead
Form: 64-8P7F1
Odds: 100/1
Notes: He was pulled up as a 100/1 shot in last year’s Gold Cup and his next appearance was a disappointing 8th at Sandown. Both his runs this season have been over hurdles and a return to chasing is hardly likely to bring around a change in fortunes this time.

Number: 34 – Age: 9 y-o
Rating: 147 – Trainer: Paul Nicholls
Form: 290-13024P5
Odds: 40/1
Notes: He was a surprise winner of the Gold Cup Sandown chase just over a year ago, but has struggled to replicate that run since. He stayed on well for second over 3 miles in his last outing, but the Grand National may just be a step too far.

Number: 35 – Age: 10 y-o
Rating: 139 – Trainer: Venetia Williams
Form: P6-P26
Odds: 100/1
Notes: He was looking like a high quality chaser back in 2013, but after a few years of disappointing results in Grade company, his rating has dropped by 18llbs. He was a distant 13th at the festival and has never won any race over 3 miles. Mark has stayed the same this season despite being Pulled Up twice at Ascot and beaten 59 lengths at Cheltenham in the Ultima Handicap Chase.

KNOCK HOUSE (Reserve 2)
Number: 48 -Age: 7 y-o
Rating: 143 – Trainer: Mick Channon
Form: 4F421-15241
Odds: 100/1
Notes: This National may have come too soon for this seven year old, but he’s clearly a chaser with plenty of talent. An uncharacteristic fall in his second to last appearance can’t dampen the progress he has been making over the last two season, but he is yet to test himself in a trip longer than 3m 2f.

Number: 32 – Age: 9 y-o
Rating: 147 – Trainer: Philip Hobbs
Form: 51-27
Odds: 33/1
Notes: Somewhat of a late developer, he seems to have found his best form this season. He was among the favourites to win the Ultima Handicap chase at Cheltenham, but never got into the race, eventually finishing fifth. A distant tenth on his Grand National debut in 2013 but well fancied to improve on that this time round.

Number: 28 – Age: 8 y-o
Rating: 148 – Trainer: Lucy Wadham
Form: 51620P-3213P1
Odds: 28/1
Notes: Another promising chaser, but he’s really struggled to hold his own on trips over 3 miles, with a third place finish in the Gold Cup Sandown chase the best he has been able to manage. He was leading going over the second last, but couldn’t find the extra pace to hold on. Not sure whether he will last this even longer trip.

MAGGIO (Reserve 4)
Number: 53 – Age: 11 y-o
Rating: 143 – Trainer: Patrick Griffin
Form: 6531-03234
Odds: 150/1
Notes: Won on his seasonal reappearance in a Class 3, but has struggled in higher quality races since. The furthest trip he has tried so far is 3m 1f and 143 is his highest career rating after 18 chase runs meaning he’s unlikely to figure in the finish.

Number: 1  – Age: 9 y-o
Rating: 166 – Trainer: Oliver Sherwood
Form: P6-P26
Odds: 8/1F
Notes: Since winning here last year, he’s managed to do what all but one of his predecessors have failed to do since 2003, and that’s actually winning another race after the Grand National. He’ll be amongst the top weights again as he seeks to be the first horse since Red Rum to win back-to-back Nationals, he’s got a great chance.

Number: 33 – Age: 9 y-o
Rating: 149 – Trainer: P. A. Fahy
Form: 422-3
Odds: 33/1
Notes: He may be lightly raced, but he always features in high quality Graded races. He’s only failed to finish outside the paid places once in his career so far, with his last run coming in the Ultima Handicap at Cheltenham. Definitely one to watch out for.

O’FAOLAINS BOY – Non Runner (Lame)
Number: 8 – Age: 9 y-o
Rating: 151 – Trainer: Rebecca Curtis
Form: 78P1P
Odds: 50/1
Notes: Missed most of last season through injury, but won his first race in December since winning the RSA at the 2014 Cheltenham Festival. Clearly a high class chaser but it’s hard to tell whether he will last the trip. Could sneak into the places.

Number: 10 – Age: 12 y-o
Rating: 157 – Trainer: Willie Mullins
Form: 8284U797P-156
Odds: 40/1
Notes: Like the afore mentioned Alvarado, it’s his previous Grand National runs, more than his current credentials, that have dictated this 12 year old’s price. He may only run in big Graded races, but his form this season has been pretty terrible and unlike Alvarado, he has fallen on both his previous National visits. Not likely he will pull up any trees this year.

Num: 30 – Age: 7 y-o
Rating: 147 – Trainer: Philip Hobbs
Form: 5221-112
Odds: 40/1
Notes: Another promising chaser who is being thrown into the National a little early in his career. He comes in with plenty of good form, despite coming fifth last time out, but that was in a very high quality Grade 2 contest at Ascot. He’s too young to win the National this year, but he’s definitely one to watch in the future.

Number: 44 – Age: 8 y-o
Rating: 145 – Trainer Charlie Longsdon
Form: 51-54
Odds: 66/1
Notes: He went off as the favourite in both his starts in 3 milers at Ascot this season, winning the first one before finishing fifth behind Wakanda second time round. He’s been given a long rest to prepare for this one, but still huge doubts about his experience and stamina.

Number: 54 – Age: 9 y-o
Rating: 142 – Trainer: Fergal O’Brien
Form: 152-0515171
Odds: 66/1
Notes: this will be his first run away from Cheltenham in well over a year. He’s had a crack at both the National Hunt and Kim Muir chases at the last two festivals but hasn’t cracked the top ten on either occasion. He’s clearly talented, but doubtful he will make much of an impression in this one.

Number: 13 – Age: 10 y-o
Rating: 153 – Trainer: Paul Nicholls
Form: 04P2-P01P2
Odds: 66/1
Notes: He may only be 10, but already has two Grand National runs under his belt, including a fifth place finish on his debut. Recent form hasn’t been great, but he’s a proven stayer and has completed the National course twice. Definitely worth a look for each-way purposes.

Number: 33 – Age: 9 y-o
Rating: 145 – Trainer: Mouse Morris
Form: 45223S6-222522
Odds: 50/1
Notes: Consistently runs and performs well in high profile races over in Ireland, but hasn’t recorded a victory since January 2014. He usually stays around 3 miles, but did finish strong to finish second in a three and a half mile contest last year. Rated at 158 at the peak of his powers so he clearly has plenty of class, he could be a real danger.

Number: 45 – Age: 10 y-o
Rating: 150 – Trainer: Tom George
Form: 167-21333
Odds: 25/1
Notes: Last year’s runner up will be heading into his third Grand National in good form, after staying on well to win a Class 2 Handicap chase at Doncaster. He will be weighted a little higher than last year, but he has plenty of experience and quality to cope with it. Will it be third time lucky? He’s got a very good chance.

Number: 17 – Age: 9 y-o
Rating: 148 – Trainer: Jonjo O’Neill
Form: P3-51
Odds: 25/1
Notes: The presence of the imminently retiring A. P. McCoy in his saddle last year, meant that he went off as the favourite, but still stayed on well to finish fifth. His form hasn’t been great in a season where he has only ran twice, all in preparation for another crack at the National. He’s won at Aintree before and we know he stays the course. Could be in with a good shout.

Number: 2 – Age: 10 y-o
Rating: 169 – Trainer: Paul Nicholls
Form: 1P22-17115
Odds: 12/1
Notes: A multiple Grade 1 winner and former Gold Cup favourite, who has won three of his last four runs around Aintree. It’s unknown whether he will actually stay the trip, as the furthest he’s ever tackled is 3m 2f, but he’s a high quality chaser and a very neat and tidy jumper. It’s easy to see why he’s the second favourite.

Number: 14 – Age: 10 y-o
Rating: 154 – Trainer: Willie Mullins
Form: 751/
Odds: 40/1
Notes: Another multiple Graded winner and two-time Cheltenham Festival champion who has been given a crack at the Grand National as his age rises into double digits. He returned this season after a lay-off of nearly two years, in which time his rating has dropped by nearly 20llbs. Still invitingly priced for a horse of such quality, whether he will last the trip is still very debatable.

Number: 18 – Age: 11 y-o
Rating: 150 – Trainer: David Pipe
Form: 3140-911P
Odds: 50/1
Notes: An experienced chaser who has won plenty of 3 mile contests in the past, with his most recent victory coming in a Veterans Chase at Sandown. He’s finished ninth and seventh in his two previous Grand National appearances and looks capable of going better if he gets a clean run.

Number: 11 – Age: 9 y-o
Rating: 153 – Trainer: Neil Mulholland
Form: 266-F15721
Odds: 16/1
Notes: He was a faller on his Grand National debut last year and came into the race off the back of a big win at the Cheltenham festival. He skipped Cheltenham this year to get ready for his second crack at Aintree but a second in the Grimthorpe earlier this month show’s he’s in decent form. Could be a danger.

Number: 31 – Age: 8 y-o
Rating: 161 – Trainer: Kim Bailey
Form: 113-21U112
Odds: 12/1
Notes: Finished ten lengths ahead of The Druids Nephew in the Grimthorpe, making it two handicap wins in a row. He’s been running well for the last few years, so it’s no surprise to see him high up in the betting, but he has struggled when thrust into Graded company and this will be his first trip over 3m 2f.

Number: 47 – Age: 9 y-o
Rating: 145 – Trainer: Rebecca Curtis
Form: 83F77-1113
Odds: 50/1
Notes: Had an extremely profitable summer in 2014, but has struggled to find any form since. He finished third behind Thistlecrack over hurdles earlier this year, but his last chase ended with a fall at Cheltenham in December. Can be dangerous but tough to recommend.

Number: 12 – Age: 9 y-o
Rating: 155 – Trainer: Nicky Henderson
Form: 51-3P
Odds: 33/1
Notes: Made his Grand National debut in 2014, but had to be pulled up half way around. He returned to action after over a year out in January, which turned out to be a winning return in a small field chase at Kempton. He’s a very tidy jumper and he winning form at Ascot in the past, could go well again in this one.

Number: 26 – Age: 8 y-o
Rating: 144 – Trainer: Gordon Elliott
Form: 326-P1
Odds: 33/1
Notes: His last two runs have been quite impressive, finishing second in a 28 horse field at Leopardstown, before coming third in the big Handicap chase at Gowran Park on his last outing in January. This will be his first race on British soil and it will be just his second trip over 3 miles. Probably too inexperienced to feature here.

Number: 27 – Age: 8 y-o
Rating: 149 – Trainer: Paul Nicholls
Form: 31208-8F316
Odds: 33/1
Notes: He was an early faller on his Grand National debut last time, but has bounced back with some good form this year. He won as the short priced favourite in a small field at Kelso, before coming in ten lengths behind Many Clouds around the same track earlier this month. Has to be respected.

Number: 36 – Age: 13 y-o
Rating: 140 – Trainer: D. A. McLoughlin
Form: 6P58-3F31245
Odds: 66/1
Notes: An experienced chaser who hasn’t been at his best this season, with a fifth place finish in a Grade 3 at Aintree the best he’s been able to do. His Grand National debut has come too late in his career to really give him a chance.

Number: 43 – Age: 7 y-o
Rating: 144 – Trainer: David Pipe
Form: 62U111-093
Odds: 66/1
Notes: A promising chaser who has shown some very good form over the last year, claiming a hat-trick of wins in handicap chases. He was travelling well as the favourite in a Grade 3 at Cheltenham before unseating his rider but bounced back with a solid sixth in the National Hunt at the festival. He may be young but could be a good each-way prospect.

Number: 5 – Age: 8 y-o
Rating: 158 – Trainer: Paul Nicholls
Form: 2-P387321
Odds: 50/1
Notes: Despite not winning a race since October ’14, his OR has remained at the exact same mark. Hasn’t shown much when running over 3 miles but he remains very highly rated. Difficult to make a case for.


Grand National Race Information

Race Time: 5.15pm
Race Date: 9th April 2016
Meeting: Aintree
Distance: 4m 3f 110y
Full Race Name: Crabbie’s Grand National Chase (Handicap) (Grade 3)

Grand National Betting Tips

The 2016 Grand National meeting is a three day event that will this year take place from the 7th right through to the 9th April. The feature race is the Grand National, the handicap chase after which the meeting takes its name. The race sees 40 horses tackle 30 fences over a 4m,3f trip, the reigning Grand National champion being Many Clouds who’ll be back to defend his crown. Other races being held up in the North West for the meeting include the Aintree Hurdle, the Melling Chase and the Topham Chase. We’ll have horse racing tips for them all!

You’ll want our 2016 Grand National tips as this is the one day in the steeplechasing calendar that gets the whole world talking. The Saturday of last season’s renewal of the Aintree spectacular saw over 8.5 million people tune in on Channel 4, accounting for more than 56% of the audience share across all terrestrial and cable channels! You can be sure then that your mates will all be placing bets so with our Grand National 2016 tips you can get ahead of the game.

Whilst some pundits might be swayed by sentimentality, our Grand National tips will cut to the chase – we want to back the best horse in the race!