Aintree Grand National 2018: The pinstickers’ guide

A comprehensive look at all 40 horses set to run in Saturday’s big race on Merseyside

Keith Donoghue riding Tiger Roll clears the last to win the Glenfarclas Steeple Chase at Cheltenham. Photo: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

Keith Donoghue riding Tiger Roll clears the last to win the Glenfarclas Steeple Chase at Cheltenham. Photo: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

 

1) THUNDER AND ROSES (Mouse Morris) Rating 3 (out of 10)

Fell on his last two starts, which does not inspire confidence.

2) BLAKLION (Nigel Twiston-Davies) 7

Been in fine form since finishing fourth last year, but beaten a long way at Haydock last time out. Should still make his presence felt.

3) ANIBALE FLY (Tony Martin) 7

Career-best performance to take third in the Cheltenham Gold Cup last time, and looks a worthy ally for one of the shrewdest trainers in the game.

4) THE LAST SAMURI (Kim Bailey) 5

Runner-up in 2016, but not getting any younger and might find a few too sharp, despite showing up well at Cheltenham in the Cross Country .

5) VALSEUR LIDO (Henry de Bromhead) 4

Grade One winner in his pomp but things have not quite gone his way this year and others preferred.

6) TOTAL RECALL (Willie Mullins) 9

Fell in the Gold Cup but had previously been on fire over fences and hurdles. A big run looks guaranteed if he can stay on his feet.

7) ALPHA DES OBEAUX (Mouse Morris) 3

Trainer knows what it takes to win this race, but recent performances do not inspire confidence and best look elsewhere.

8) PERFECT CANDIDATE (Fergal O’Brien) 3

In-and-out performer and pulled up last year. Hard to make a case for.

9) SHANTOU FLYER (Richard Hobson) 4

Served connections well with a string of second-place finishes, but this is a different ball game.

10) TENOR NIVERNAIS (Venetia Williams) 2

Trainer won this with a 100-1 shot, but it would almost be a miracle for lightning to strike twice.

11) CARLINGFORD LOUGH (John Kiely) 4

Prolific Grade One winner in his halcyon days but he has regressed in recent times and is now 12 years old.

Carlingford Lough goes on to win the Hennessy Gold Cup at Leopardstown in 2015. Photo: Cody Glenn/Sportsfile
Carlingford Lough goes on to win the Hennessy Gold Cup at Leopardstown in 2015. Photo: Cody Glenn/Sportsfile

12) DELUSIONOFGRANDEUR (Sue Smith) 2

Trainer won race before but this game front-runner likely to be outclassed.

13) TIGER ROLL (Gordon Elliott) 10

Stunning winner at the Cheltenham Festival for a third time and looks a very well-handicapped horse. Proven levels of stamina and no issues with the ground. Massive chance.

14) REGAL ENCORE (Anthony Honeyball) 6

Won a nice contest at Ascot last time and finished eighth in the race last year. Might go well at big odds.

15) VIEUX LION ROUGE (David Pipe) 6

Largely struggled this season, but he knows the Aintree terrain pretty well and no surprise if his wily trainer had him spot-on for the big day.

16) CHASE THE SPUD (Fergal O’Brien) 4

Won nicely at Haydock in November but pulled up on his last two starts and needs to find something extra special to get involved.

17) WARRIORS TALE (Paul Nicholls) 6

Enters new territory over this sort of trip, but he is a decent jumper and is with the right connections to fight for a bit of each-way money.

18) SEEYOUATMIDNIGHT (Sandy Thomson) 8

Not an ideal preparation, but he has plenty of admirers and is definitely capable of having a big say following a reassuring comeback at Newbury.

19) GAS LINE BOY (Ian Williams) 6

Not getting any younger, but he is a sound operator over these fences. Solid each-way claims.

20) THE DUTCHMAN (Colin Tizzard) 7

Pulled up in a National trial in February, but suffered broken blood vessels. Interesting horse if back to the form that saw him win the Peter Marsh Chase at Haydock.

21) PLEASANT COMPANY (Willie Mullins) 5

Sparingly campaigned since finishing ninth last year, but needs to take a huge step up on his two runs this season.

22) UCELLO CONTI (Gordon Elliott) 6

Disappointing when pulled up in the Thyestes last time, but his previous second to Anibale Fly makes him one for the shortlist and he has once again been campaigned for this race.

23) SAINT ARE (Tom George) 5

Thrives on the National challenge, having placed twice, but yet to show any sparkle in two starts this term.

24) WALK IN THE MILL (Robert Walford) 2

Pulled up last time, hard to see him bouncing back.

25) RAZ DE MAREE (Gavin Cromwell) 6

Winner of the Welsh National and saved for this race. Testing conditions would aid his chances.

26) I JUST KNOW (Sue Smith) 5

Could give his supporters a decent run for their money judged on Catterick run in January, but this is a much tougher test.

27) VIRGILIO (Dan Skelton) 2

Classy in his younger days, not shown much this year and not a player.

28) BAIE DES ILES (Ross O’Sullivan) 8

Looks likely to be suited by the distance after running a fine trial at Punchestown and will want for nothing in the saddle with Katie Walsh booked.

29) MAGGIO (Patrick Griffin) 4

The trip may prove beyond him, although he has safely negotiated the National fences once.

30) PENDRA (Charlie Longsdon) 5

Jumped round in 2016, but ground would be a worry.

31) BUYWISE (Evan Williams) 6

Scored his first win in three years at Sandown back in January and while talented on his day, he does need things to fall right for him.

32) CHILDRENS LIST (Willie Mullins) 4

Beat Grade One winner Edwulf in 2016 but has not shown that form in two subsequent outings.

33) LORD WINDERMERE (Jim Culloty) 6

A former Gold Cup winner, he was an eyecatching seventh in the National last year after a troubled run off a 3lb higher mark, but only one run since.

Lord Windermere ridden by Davy Russell enjoyed his best day when winning the 2014 Cheltenham Gold Cup. Photo: Dan Sheridan/Inpho
Lord Windermere ridden by Davy Russell enjoyed his best day when winning the 2014 Cheltenham Gold Cup. Photo: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

34) CAPTAIN REDBEARD (Stuart Coltherd) 5

Distance is a question mark and found The Dutchman far too good on his penultimate start.

35) HOUBLON DES OBEAUX (Venetia Williams) 4

Tenth last year but hard to win with nowadays.

36) BLESS THE WINGS (Gordon Elliott) 5

Pulled up last time, although capable on his day.

37) MILANSBAR (Neil King) 6

Will stay all day and should give Bryony Frost a nice National introduction, but might lack the necessary class.

38) FINAL NUDGE (David Dennis) 5

His third in the Welsh National gives him a squeak, although this is a sterner test.

39) DOUBLE ROSS (Nigel Twiston-Davies) 5

Has dropped down the ratings a fair bit, but has jumped round Aintree before and ran well at Cheltenham last time.

40) ROAD TO RICHES (Noel Meade) 4

A Grade One winner in his day but nowhere near that form now.

Verdict

Trainer Gordon Elliott has rarely put a foot wrong this season and can win the National for a second time with Tiger Roll, who looked in super order at the Cheltenham Festival. He appears the complete package for a race like this and can prove too strong for compatriot Total Recall, who is expected to bounce back from falling in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Seeyouatmidnight has long had this day in mind and has every chance of performing with great honour. Similar thoughts apply to Baie Des Iles, who should give Katie Walsh a lovely spin with the ground very much in her favour.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.