Tiger Roll bids to become the first horse since the legendary Red Rum back in 1973/4 to win the Grand National in successive years later this afternoon and he is a worthy market leader at 4/1 with BetVictor.
Gordon Elliot’s stable star looked better than ever when turning the X-Country Chase at last month’s Cheltenham Festival into a procession and the handicapper would give the Tiger an additional 8lbs had he been able to frame the weights for the race today rather than in mid-February.
That said the gelding only held on by a diminishing head 12 months ago and is 9lbs higher in the weights than when beating Pleasant Company last year. He is not the biggest horse to be carrying a large weight, but his class may get him home. He is the most likely winner but 4/1 is short enough and he is reluctantly overlooked.
My two each way recommendations against the field are Vintage Clouds (12/1 with BetVictor) and Rathvinden (5.15) with marginal preference for the latter who is 10/1 and do note BetVictor are again offering six places on the Aintree showpiece.
Rathvinden won the 4m NH Chase last season and made a winning reappearance when landing the BetVictor Bobbyjo Chase at Fairyhouse last month. Ruby Walsh – who has ridden Papillon 2000 and Hedgehunter 2005 to victory in the race – takes the ride and he receives 5lbs from Tiger Roll.
Vintage Clouds shoulders just 10st 4lbs and has been knocking on the door in many of the best staying chases in recent years. Today could easily be his day in the famous green and yellow silks of Trevor Hemmings’.
Sire Du Berlais has been raised 8lbs for winning the Pertemps Final at Cheltenham last month although talented conditional Jonjo O’Neill takes off a valuable 3lbs. He must go close but the each way vote in the opener goes to Nestor Park (1.45) who is 14/1 at BetVictor who are betting five places on the race.
The selection won well at Newcastle last time and looks sure to appreciate the step up to 3m for the first time for Ben Pauling.
Brewin’upastorm (2.25) should find conditions ideal having been, arguably, outstayed when fourth in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham last month. The selection has not had much luck so far this season but should appreciate this slight drop back in trip and he can justify 11/4 favouritism with BetVictor.
The Grade 1 Novice Chase over 2m is a poor renewal although there is plenty of pace in the race with Ornua and Knocknanuss confirmed front-runners. Us And Them finished a never nearer second in the Arkle last time but I am going to take a chance with Destrier (3.00) who is unbeaten in two starts over fences for Dan Skelton. The each way selection is 11/1 with BetVictor and can belie those odds although his lack of chasing experience is a slight concern.
If Apple’s Jade is back to anything like her best, then she has the G1 Liverpool Hurdle at her mercy, but she was beaten at halfway in the Champion Hurdle last time and is overlooked. Roksana was a fortunate winner of the Mares’ Hurdle at Cheltenham but this return to 3m will suit. Preference, however, is for Sam Spinner (3.40) who finished second to Paisley Park in the Stayers’ Hurdle last month and is another each way recommendation in his bid to go one better.
Jedd O’Keefe’s stable star has not yet recaptured the best of last season’s form but at 9/2 with BetVictor (4 places) I would be disappointed if he was out of the frame.
I am a big fan of Mister Malarkey for Colin Tizzard in the 3m Handicap Chase although I am slightly concerned that the yard’s runners have not all be running up to their very best in recent days. A big run from Lostintranslation on Friday would help allay those fears.
Without that information, however, the vote in the 3m Handicap Chase goes to top-weight Kildisart (4.20) who finished fourth in the Grade 1 JLT Chase at Cheltenham last time. The hope is that this step up to three miles for the first time will suit. The each way selection is 15/2 at BetVictor and I hope to see a big run despite the steadier of 11st 12lbs.
For all your racing odds go to BetVictor.com