Horse-by-horse guide to Grand National
On His Own
(Healy Racing Photos)
Ballabriggs Last year's winner is trained by Donald McCain, son of the Grand National legend and trainer of Red Rum Ginger. Ballabriggs has been trained all year with this one day in mind and even though up ten pounds for last year's victory he looks sure to go well again and could easily be in the money once more. My worry for win purposes is he is off a career high mark and has to defy the stat that no horse has won back to back National's since Red Rum.
Weird Al The second string for trainer Donald McCain although he does have a touch of class on his day, as he showed when winning the Charlie Hall at Wetherby on his reappearance this season. He broke a blood vessel when pulled up when fancied for the Cheltenham Gold Cup and can't be backed with any confidence after that disappointment.
Neptune Collonges Champion trainer Paul Nicholls has yet to win the Grand National and Neptune Collonges is his only runner this year. Has won three Grade 1 races in his prime and is still capable of useful form as he showed at Haydock last time out when just beaten by Giles Cross. He has plenty of weight though with 11st 5lb and it is hard to see him challenging for more than a minor place.
Calgary Bay Is currently in the form of his life and has really clicked for his jockey Dominic Elsworth, with impressive wins at both Cheltenham and in the Sky Bet Chase at Doncaster beating Shakalakaboomboom in a tight finish. He now has a career high mark to contend with of 157 and his weight of 11st 6lb and hold up tactics will make it hard for him. Let's hope he goes better than last year when falling at the 4th fence.
Alfa Beat His best victory was in the Kerry National at Listowel last season but his most recent run was a poor one, when pulled up in the Bobbyjo Chase at Fairyhouse. He jumped poorly in last year's Topham Chase over the National fences so it looks hard to see him winning.
Planet Of Sound A former Grade 1 winner in the Punchestown Gold Cup in 2010. He has been lightly raced since but if the rain stays away he could well at a decent price, as his excellent second in the Hennessey Gold Cup at Newbury shows he is still capable of being competitive off this sort of handicap mark.
Black Apalachi Goes really well over these fences as when romping to victory in the 2008 Beecher Chase and finishing an excellent second to Don't Push It in the 2010 National. He runs off the same handicap mark and looks sure to go well again. Any more rain would be welcomed but as he showed when second he can still go well on decent ground.
Deep Purple One of three runners for Welsh trainer Evan Williams and probably the least fancied. He followed a win at Sandown with a poor performance in the Racing Plus Chase when falling 5 out when beaten at the time. He is very much hit or miss and I would be backing him to be a miss in this race.
Junior A tremendously versatile horse having won on the flat at Royal Ascot and the Cheltenham Festival over fences. He now goes for the biggest chase of all and it will be some performance if he can pull it off. He is still off a competitive mark as he showed at Doncaster last time out, however, he does tend to belt a fence or three on the way round and he won't get away with that here.
Chicago Grey Has the profile of a horse sure to run well if he gets the breaks under the excellent Paul Carberry. He proved his stamina when winning the 4 miler at last year's festival and his trainer Gordon Elliot knows how to train a National winner having done so in 2007 with Silver Birch. If the rain stays away he is a major player.
Tatenen Seems to reserve his best form for Ascot with his last 2 wins being there. However has stamina doubts and is a very unlikely winner.
Seabass He has won his last 7 races and comes here in tremendous form and bids to give his pilot Katie Walsh who is the sister of Ruby a first win for a female rider in the Worlds biggest steeplechase.
Father Ted Walsh trains the horse and has a National winner to his name having trained Papillion to victory in 2000 with son Ruby on board. Stamina is the only doubt for Seabass but he looks sure to go well for a long way for his excellent pilot .
Shakalakaboomboom With the ground now looking like been on the good side Shakalakaboomboom does come into the reckoning for a big run.
A very consistent type he had a spin over these fences last year in the Topham chase and has been trained this year for the National. In good form all season including a close second to Calgary Bay in the Sky Bet Chase at Doncaster. He looks sure to give the superb Barry Geraghty a great ride and should go close.
West End Rocker Has been very well backed this week when the rain came as this one likes soft ground as he showed when romping to victory over these fences in the Becher Chase. With the ground drying out his backers may desert him but dangerous to do so as he has won on good ground and can still run a huge race for the bang in form yard of Alan King.
According to Pete Has been in great form this season with wins in the Rowland Meyrick at Wetherby and the Peter Marsh at Haydock and he looks sure to give a bold sight up with the pace for a long way. Further rain would increase his chance of hitting the money for the Malcom Jefferson yard who continued it's good form with Cape Tribulation winning on Thursday.
On His Own Ruby Walsh has had the pick of several horses and he selected this Willie Mullins trained gelding to try and give him a third Aintree national win. A wide margin win in the Thyestes Chase last time out means he arrives in great form and looks sure to go well with any more rain in his favour.
Always Right A good third in last years Scottish National proving his stamina for this sort of test was followed by an impressive reappearance win at Kelso in December. Since then however he has disappointed badly being pulled up at both Wetherby and Haydock. Hard to know what to expect now but has a chance on his best form.
Cappa Bleu An impressive win in the 2009 Foxhunters chase at Cheltenham was the highlight of his career so far and this Evan Williams-trained horse is the pick of stable jockey Paul Moloney and he looks a big contender after three good runs this season including a win at Haydock and a good third in the Welsh National. With the ground drying in his favour he should put up a bold bid as long as the heavy showers stay away.
Rare Bob Has bits of form that would give him a shout off this mark including when running very well at this meeting last year before unseating his rider two out . The good ground will suit him and gives him a better chance of getting home as his stamina is not proven for this test.
Organisedconfusion Has been given a typical National preparation by trainer Arthur Moore after winning last year Irish version and he looks to give the other female jockey Nina Carberry the historic win. The ground and trip should be fine but seven-year-olds have a terrible record in the race and an early fall at Leopardstown in January certainly wasn't part of the plan.
Treacle He ran well when second in the Paddy Power Chase in December and followed that with a good run when third in the Hennessy Gold Cup behind Quel Esprit with Thursday's Aintree Bowl winner Follow The Plan just behind in fourth. Fits a lot of the stats needed to win a National and no surprise to see him go well.
The Midnight Club Went off favourite for last year's renewal in which he never really made an impression after an early mistake. He seems to be in worse form going into the race this time round so it's hard to see him going much better this time and he is one of those discarded by Ruby Walsh.
Mon Mome The winner of the 2009 National at 100/1 and can now run off a 3lb lower handicap mark so he can't be ruled out if putting his best foot forward although that has happened only once this season whn runner up at Cheltenham in January.
Arbor Supreme Has failed to complete in the last two Nationals and hard to see him faring much better this year. He hasn't jumped a fence in public since last years race with two hurdle races used for his prep.
Sunnyhillboy He comes here in great form after his victory in the Kim Muir at the Cheltenham Festival and he can race off the same handicap mark which mean he is ten pounds well in here compared to future races. Seagram though was the last Cheltenham winner to go on to win the National in the same year and that was in 1991 so the stats are against him and this will provide a much stiffer test for him.
Killyglen He will be a very popular selection for many as he fits most stats required to win the race. He was still in with a chance when falling four out last year and a recent win at Down Royal shows he is in form but he is not one I want on my side on the long run in as he has been known not to find much off the bridle. I suspect that may be the case again.
Quiscover Fontaine He hasn't run over fences since an excellent fourth in last years Irish National and he could go well at a price if his stamina holds out. That looks the main doubt with this one.
Tharawaat Very hard to make a case for Gordon Elliott's second string . He is only seven which is a big negative and he doesn't look in any sort of form to buck that trend.
Becauseicouldntsee He ran well to be second in the Kim Muir behind Sunnyhillboy last time out and he looks an interesting contender as long as he can get into a rhythm early which didn't happen in last year's race when he came down at only the second fence.
State Of Play An excellent National record of being placed in the last three runnings although he never looking like winning any of them. Now 12 it will be a bit surprising if he can make the frame for the fourth year running.
Swing Bill He won on his reappearance this year at Cheltenham in November but it has been downhill since and it will be a shock if he troubles the judge here after a poor effort back at Prestbury Park last time.
Postmaster Will be a huge shock if this one can deliver! Even though he has won his last two races this is a major step up in class and he won't be up to it.
Giles Cross Had been well backed this week when the rain arrived, but that seems to have dried up and his winning chance might have too unless there is further rain as he loves the mud. The worry is he may struggle to lay up on genuine good ground and he's also lacking his regular partner Denis O'Regan.
Midnight Haze Represents Kim Bailey who won the 1990 running with Mr Frisk and the trainer has been fairly bullish about this one's chances recently. Not a complete no hoper but will have to produce a personal best to make the frame.
Vic Venturi Has failed to get round in the last two running's of the race and after disappointing at Leopardstown last time out behind Salsify, he can't be backed with any confidence.
In Compliance Finished a well beaten 13th last year when his suspect stamina was stretched to breaking point. Hasn't been in much form recently so will do well to beat last year's finishing position.
Viking Blond The season started well with a win at Chepstow but that was the only highlight and he can't be seriously fancied. The trainer's son Sam Twiston-Davies has chosen Hello Bud who is one of the outsiders!
Hello Bud Tremendous servant for connections who always runs well over these fences. Should produce a bold display for a long way again but his winning days are probably over I'm afraid as a 14-year-old.
Neptune Equester Was very well thought of earlier in the season by his trainer Brian Ellison. However, his recent form is not backing up the handler's regard for him and it will be a major shock if he gets involved at the business end of the race.
» All news for Sat, 14th Apr, 2012
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