Let’s make no bones about it; the world’s most famous race has the feel somewhat of a lottery when the weather is like it is now and quite literally all 40 horses have some sort of chance on the book. A mention then to ten of them here with a few each-way selections provided which at the prices can hopefully offer us a chance of some decent profit on the National.
Alpha Des Obeaux
Ireland’s National Hunt crop overall are strong and have been for years and this one can boast some good staying and heavy ground form. At 8 years old we haven’t seen the best of him yet and he could go well under Rachael Blackmore who will hope to be able to keep him together.
One of the class horses and one for which there has been money this week given his impressive third in the Gold Cup at Cheltenham. I think the price is skinny but you cannot deny he has a chance if he stays the trip in these conditions with jumping no worry. Could go off favourite.
Another who has an outstanding chance on his very best form on this sort of going, the only negative being that he may in fact be beyond his best these days. He’s still a decent proposition at a very big price and not one to ignore.
There’s a lot to like about this one; stays the trip, can do so in heavy ground and has the advantage of having the excellent Bryony Frost on board. This was my choice for the Eider at Newcastle but if anything he may appreciate this even more and must be considered a leading light. The only negative is the mileage he has on the clock this term.
Middle of the weights, perfect age, trained by the very best in Willie Mullins, likes the ground, stays the trip and has had a sighter having run 9th in the race last year. David Mullins rides and he could be on for a very good trip aboard the ten-year-old bay gelding who can be considered terrific value at around 33/1 and bigger overnight.
Raz De Maree
At 13 years old and not always having jumped perfectly you’d think he’s a rank outsider however the weather and the ground are bang in his favour and it brings Robbie Power’s ride into some sort of contention. At a general 33/1 on Friday he rates a very good each-way bet.
It took Scotland 39 years to get another National winner when One For Arthur took the race last season and they may be on for one more immediately. My only worry for Sandy Thomson’s charge is that his best form hasn’t come recently but there is a lot to like about this one given the conditions and he’s certainly one for the shortlist.
He’s only young at 8 but has had a ton of chase experience and crucially is in form right now and loves the mud. As long as he’s not gone over the top having done so well at Cheltenham then he is high on the list.
A strong candidate based on his staying ability and there’ll be plenty of money after his Cheltenham exploits – may just find a few too good or a few better handicapped to be fair as well as facing the spectre of fresher horses in this test.
Gordon Elliott knows his way around and has a proper chance with this one. He has good recent form, especially just in behind Anibale Fly at Leopardstown in December, and he looks fair value to run a big one at around the 20/1 mark.
Even narrowing down a 10-runner “shortlist” is hard work in advance of this race, but for me the best way to go is to back four of them each-way to small stakes. A modest investment then on the following runners could just pay dividends on the big day:
PLEASANT COMPANY (No. 21 on the racecard)
RAZ DE MAREE (25)