This year marks a very special Grand National. Back in 1977, Red Rum did the unthinkable. He strode across the line to complete his third victory in the race, securing a record that has since never been beaten.
There will be a magnificent atmosphere at Aintree this year in celebration of that feat, but who will cross that finishing post, where Red Rum is resting, and claim their own stake of Grand National history?
It’s just a matter of weeks before horse racing’s most prestigious steeplechase gets underway, with the country’s top jockeys and trainers all wanting a chunk of that £1 million.
Grand Opening Day
As the excitement builds, Thursday will bring a fantastic day of racing to kick off the weekend. It’ll kick off on ITV at around 2.20pm and the first race broadcast will be The Doom Bar Anniversary 4YO Juvenile Hurdle.
For us punters, it’s a chance to get off to a winning start and Defi Du Seuil looks a sure-fire winner for the Aintree Juvenile Hurdle. The Philip Hobbs trained horse has been in fine form, winning the JCB Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham in March and has won all six of his outings. It’ll go into the race as standout favourite at 8/13, but that’s not surprising given its form.
Charlie Parcs and Divin Bere follow up the favourite at 7/1 each, with the latter finishing second in the Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle at Cheltenham a few weeks ago.
The Betway Aintree Hurdle gets underway a little later in the day and it’ll be another Cheltenham winner with the Champion Hurdle winner Buveur D’Air expected to triumph again. Yanworth looks a decent punt at 5/2 alongside Apple’s Jade at 4/1. The latter produced a fine performance just a few weeks back in the Mare’s Hurdle and could run strongly once again.
The sale of fake tan and eyeliner will have skyrocketed over the last few weeks in Liverpool and all for this. Friday brings Ladies Day to Aintree and it’s all set to be a great day of racing.
The JLT Melling Steeple Chase is the fourth race of the day and sees last year’s winner Gods Own return at 10/3.
Sub Lieutenant has been securing top three finishes for the last few months, including second in the Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham and could follow that up with a win at Aintree.
You can back the Gigginstown House Stud horse at 8/1, which could make a few ladies very happy!
The Topham Chase follows that, with one of Willie Mullins’ expected to take the victory. Ballycasey and Red Mills Chase will finish strongly so could be worth a free bet, while Jonjo O’Neill’s Go Conquer will also represent a good bet.
The day everyone is waiting for, Grand National Day. Hundreds of millions of pounds is placed on the big race, but who will win?
It’ll be a poignant meeting this year with the anniversary of Red Rum’s famous victory, and owners and trainers are already talking up their horses’ chances.
Last year’s winner, Rule the World won for the Gigginstown House Stud but they’ve had a rough time in the build up to this years. Disappointed at some of the weights allocated by handicapper Phil Smith, the stud has withdrawn eight horses including Outlander, Empire Of Dirt, and Don Poli.
The likes of Jonjo O’Neil and Willie Mullins will have some strong contenders in the race while the David Pipe trained Vieux Lion Rouge currently stands favourite at 10/1.
Plenty of horses are in with a great chance this year. Here’s the top 10 Grand National favourites with the bookies and how we think they may fare…
|Owner||Prof Caroline Tisdall & Mr John Gent|
|Last 5 Results||1/1/7/6/2|
Finishing in seventh place last year, Vieux Lion Rouge has had an impressive time since, finishing first in its last two races ridden by Tom Scudamore.
Winning the Becher Chase at Aintree, the horse has already proved itself over the National fences in recent months and secured a victory in the Grand National Trial at Haydock. The horse will be backed strongly over the coming weeks, and we fancy it to finish strongly ourselves.
|Owner||Mr P J Martin|
|Last 5 Results||1/UR/1/3/1|
Definity Red’s odds have shifted rather quickly over the last few weeks having just rode to victory in a strong field at Doncaster in the Grimthorpe Chase. Beating National rival The Last Samuri in that race, Definitly Red is a strong jumper and trainer Brian Ellison is confident it can do the business at Aintree.
The horse sits in a large pack carrying the same odds currently but his strong form at Doncaster could see a few fancying its chances.
|Trainer||N A Twiston-Davies|
|Owner||S Such & Cg Paletta|
|Last 5 Results||2/3/5/4/3|
It’s expected that Noel Fehily will ride Blaklion this year, and he’ll be looking to claim his first Grand National following Minella Rocco’s omission.
The horse has been in good form, securing second in the Grand National Trial Handicap Chase at Haydock in February and will certainly be worth an each way bet. He’ll be a strong contender and most certainly expecting to push right to the finish.
|Trainer||Miss Lucinda V Russell|
|Owner||Two Golf Widows|
|Last 5 Results||1/5/1/3/4|
Naturally, there will be a few bets on this one by anyone who has any form of connection to an Arthur but, even so, he is a good runner.
It’ll be touch and go as to whether jockey Derek Fox will be fit to ride One For Arthur after a fall in early March, and without him it could hinder the odds.
It’s worth being mindful of but should Fox be in the saddle and enjoyed a victory in the Betfred Classic Handicap Chase in January.
Another win in April? 14/1 says possibly.
|Owner||Mr John P McManus|
|Last 5 Results||1/5/14/PU/5|
Picking up a victory at Cheltenham as boosted the odds of JP McManus’ Cause of Causes. The horse finished eighth in the National two years ago and the bookies aren’t quite sure on how to price this one.
It’s been a decade since Gordon Elliott won in the National becoming the youngest person ever to do so.
|Trainer||K C Bailey|
|Owner||Paul & Clare Rooney|
|Last 5 Results||2/3/5/2/1|
Last year’s runner up could be a really good punt at 14/1. The horse finished second in the BetBright Grimthorpe Handicap Chase behind Definitly Red and is well in contention.
A stone heavier than last year could upset that slightly but proved at Doncaster the extra weight isn’t showing too much strain. Trainer Kim Bailey is used to winners, being the only trainer to have had a winner on every National Hunt course. One more at Aintree? Maybe!
|Owner||Mr Simon Munir/Mr Isaac Souede|
|Last 5 Results||4/2/7/4/7|
Jockey Daryl Jacob is expecting a good ride from Ucello Conti this year, claiming Gordon Elliott will have the horse in peak form when it comes to April 8.
A horse with incredible stamina, Jacob is hoping to see the ground a bit firmer than last year, and if he does he’s well worth taking an each way bet on.
Plenty of people are backing Ucello Conti and after a fourth-place finish at Leinster in March, there’s good reason to.
|Owner||Mr John P McManus|
|Last 5 Results||6/F/6/3/PU|
More of That has never run at Aintree before so will certainly be an outsider when it comes to the race. A fantastic horse who loves Cheltenham, More Of That will have a tough job against this field but could surprise.
Both chases he has previously won were novice and up against the more experienced chasers he may struggle.
|Trainer||W P Mullins|
|Owner||Mr Malcolm C Denmark|
|Last 5 Results||1/4/1/PU/3|
Willie Mullins is eying a victory for this one, and at 20/1 it might be a nice earner for punters who back him. Ruby Walsh has had some good rides on Pleasant Company lately, winning the At the Races Bobbyjo Chase in February. A winner of the Irish Grand National in 2015, Mullins will be looking to secure a win at Aintree in a few weeks, and is certainly worth an each way backing.
A winner of the Irish Grand National in 2015, Mullins will be looking to secure a win at Aintree in a few weeks, and is certainly worth an each way backing.
|Trainer||P F Nicholls|
|Owner||The Stewart Family|
|Last 5 Results||5/1/2/F/3|
Sam Twiston-Davies has elected to ride this one following a fantastic ride in the Gold Cup, finishing fifth. Marked at 20/1 by William Hill, his 2017 form is enough to know he’ll run a good race, with Twiston-Davies claiming his jumping rhythm in the Gold Cup was lovely.
Since falling in the Hennessy Gold Cup in November he’s been jumping well and will be well prepared to face what the Grand National has to offer.
For a full list of odds, check out one of our fantastic bookmakers for all the best free bets.