Grand National – ‘Always Back Two Horses’

The race is off at 17h00

When it comes to the Grand National today, it may be best to heed the advice given by a Timeform guru to this writer many moons ago. “Always back two horses – the race is a hard watch if your sole fancy departs at the first fence.”

Tiger Roll (3) clears the Water Jump in 2019 (Pic – 2018)

David Mollett writes that if the pundits and betting market have got it right, last year’s National winner, Corach Rambler, is set to follow in the hoofprints of Tiger Roll who won in 2018 and 2019. They argue – quite understandably – that he advertised his chance with his third in the Cheltenham Gold Cup and that 12 months ago he made the Aintree fences look unimposing.

However, there’s no denying Corach Rambler had a hard race in the Gold Cup. Will he be feeling the effects four weeks later?

So who are my two fancies for this famous race which sees one in three UK adults place a bet?

The answer is Vanillier and Panda Boy.

Click here to see Hollywoodbets prices on the race.

12 months ago, the Gavin Cromwell inmate, Vanillier, was only in ninth place with two fences remaining, but his stamina kicked in and he was closing down Corach Rambler all the way to the line.

Eight year-old, Panda Boy, trained by the shrewd Martin Brassil, looks one of the best handicapped horses in the race. It won’t have been lost on his trainer that he’s 11 lbs better off with one of the chief Willie Mullins hopes, Meetingthewaters, compared to their clash at Leopardstown in December.

Supporters of Meetingthewaters can argue that last month’s Ultima third at Cheltenham was the same route taken by Noble Yeats and Corach Rambler prior to their triumphs at Aintree.

Panda Boy will bid to give jockey JJ Slevin a unique National double following his recent win on Intense Raffles in the Irish equivalent, Ireland’s richest jumps race.

It seems remarkable that Willie Mullins has only won the Grand National once – with Hedgehunter in 2005 – but the Irish maestro could be represented by eight runners in the 34-strong field.

Two Mullins inmates who have attracted support in the antepost market are Mr Incrdible and I Am Maximus. The former suffered a slipped saddle at the Canal Turn in last year’s race, but his Midlands National run puts him firmly in the picture.

I Am Maximus won the 2023 Irish National on heavy ground and the word from Clerk Of The Course, Sulekha Varma, is that those conditions are likely on the National circuit.

Writing in his Sporting Life column, Mullins said “I’m looking forward to all my entries. Meetingthewaters has soft ground form and looking at the forecast you’ll need that. He looks in a very good place going into Liverpool.”

Regarding I Am Maximus, Mullins wrote that “his prep has gone fantastically. I’d imagine the weather is going to be a big plus for us too.”

Another runner who likes heavy going is Henry De Bromhead’s 2021 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner, Minella Indo. This may produce a slow pace which would suit the gelding ideally.

Trainer Dan Skelton, who enjoyed an outstanding Cheltenham, is involved in a battle with Paul Nicholls in the jumps championship, and a number of pundits feel his runner, Gala Des Liteaux, is the best longshot following his good run behind My Silver Lining in the Classic Chase at Warwick.

Hopefully, neither Vanillier or Panda Boy will depart at the first fence and – at the end of the gruelling four miles – one will throw down a challenge to the favourite, Corach Rambler.

The race is off at 17h00.

Have Your Say - *Please Use Your Name & Surname

Comments Policy
The Sporting Post encourages readers to comment in the spirit of enlightening the topic being discussed, to add opinions or correct errors. All posts are accepted on the condition that the Sporting Post can at any time alter, correct or remove comments, either partially or entirely.

All posters are required to post under their actual name and surname – no anonymous posts or use of pseudonyms will be accepted. You can adjust your display name on your account page or to send corrections privately to the EditorThe Sporting Post will not publish comments submitted anonymously or under pseudonyms.

Please note that the views that are published are not necessarily those of the Sporting Post.

Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments



Popular Posts

From Chaos To Reform

Charl Pretorius writes in his Off The Record column on the 4Racing website that owners, trainers and racing fans are gravely concerned about the state of our industry

Read More »