Randox Health Grand National Handicap Chase (Grade 3) (Class 1)
- Distance: 4m 2f 74y
Antepost Tip – Pleasant Company @ 33/1 Each Way
Every year the discussion after the Grand National is will we ever see another winner repeat? In Tiger Roll, many will argue that in 2019 there is the best chance for a number of years of that happening. He’s nine pounds higher than when taking home the most famous race in the world last season but his Boyne Hurdle and Cheltenham Festival cross country wins suggest that he may be better than ever this time around. He handles any conditions but his current odds are prohibitively short given the luck in running needed to land this contest over thirty fences. He is the right favourite but at the prices, there are others who appeal more.
Runner-up to Tiger Roll last season was Pleasant Company, two pounds better off for only being beaten a fast diminishing head margin. He arrived at the 2018 contest in poor form having been well beaten at Leopardstown over Christmas and then again in the Thyestes. He has taken a similar path this season, though he showed up better at Gowran for a long way to suggest that he is being trained with this one race in mind. He clearly stayed every inch of this trip and at the weights and respective prices, he is preferred to Tiger Roll.
Anibale Fly was another to hit the frame in 2018, fourth at the finish, keeping on well late on. Both last year and this, he has contested the Cheltenham Gold Cup, doing the best of his work up the hill. He is clearly a class act and goes on most ground so the extra five pounds on his back is the challenge. If Bristol De Mai misses the race, it will leave Tony Martin’s charge as the topweight in here and that’s going to demand a little more from him. That said, his Cheltenham run was a career-best RPR by five pounds so he may yet be capable of defying that.
One of the most interesting of those at bigger prices at present is Noble Endeavor. He has long looked like a National horse, upsides Native River and Vieux Lion Rouge when coming down two from home in the 2016 National Hunt chase. He had a sighter of these fences in the Becher, shaping well for a long way before a 600-day break told on him. He caught the eye once more in the Ultima – a race he had finished third in, in 2017 – when picking a few off late from the back in a race where it paid to be prominent. He’s one of many in here who shapes as if his season has been building to this, he’s a fascinating contender.
Winner of the aforementioned National Hunt chase (in 2018) was Rathvinden. Very lightly raced for his age, he has been seen just once this season when a comfortable winner of the Bobbyjo. It was no surprise there that the further he went the better he looked, for all that the favourite exited the race at halfway, leaving him with generally disappointing types to beat. He has wins from good all the way through to heavy with an abundance of stamina, he’s another who looks a solid each way player.
Vintage Clouds has been a shade disappointing in a pair of Welsh Nationals but showed much more like his best when third in the Scottish National last season and when placed in the Ultima at the Festival. The latter contest favoured those – like he – who raced close to the pace but it was still a strong effort. He does have a tendency to make at least one serious mistake in each race, this track one that will punish him for doing so which is a niggling concern within an otherwise solid case.
Trevor Hemmings has won this race three times, he also has Lake View Lad in here along with Vintage Clouds towards the head of the betting. He has been brought along slowly, making up into a very smart chaser this season. Third behind Vintage Clouds in the Ultima at Cheltenham, he was just tapped for toe at a crucial moment before staying on again. Perhaps this flatter track will be more to his liking and despite his stamina being completely unproven, he shapes as if he will stay further than he has been campaigned over.
A maiden over fences won this in 2016 and in Mall Dini, there is another maiden here with solid each way claims. He has spent the majority of his chasing life running over a trip too short. The winner of the Pertemps Final over hurdles, he has returned to the Festival twice to finish fifth and second in the Kim Muir. It will be interesting to see if the blinkers he sported for the first time in the 2018 renewal of that race will make an appearance at Aintree having produced a career-best in them. Stamina is his strong suit and for a canny yard, a bold showing wouldn’t surprise.
Ramses De Teillee has filled the runner-up spot in both the Welsh National and the Haydock Grand National trial this season, proving his stamina over the longest trips that he has encountered. A seven-year-old has not been successful in this contest since Bogskar in 1940 so that has to be a massive negative for him to overcome but he does strike as a potential National type horse and with his mark ever increasing, it’s no surprise that connections will be keen to give this a go, with him proving himself on better ground last time out.
Antepost Tip – See the Tips tab for a full antepost preview.
PLEASANT COMPANY was runner-up in this race last season, two pounds better off in 2019 with Tiger Roll for just a head beating. At the current prices, he looks considerably overpriced.