Grand National Runner Profiles 1-10
Frank Monkhouse | 8 April 2017
We brief you on the first 10 in the running
We’re fast approaching the Grand National off, as punters begin to get their bets ready in plenty of time for the big day. There’s no lack of runners to get through, but who should you trust with your stake money? We take a glance through the first 10 in the betting, Vieux Lion Rouge to Foxrock.
Vieux Lion Rouge
David Pipe’s hopeful heads the early betting, and Coral punters who want to side with the favourite can have a go on Vieux Lion Rouge at 10/1 just now. It’s a big call picking the fav of the Grand National, but the eight-year-old arrives on the back of two wins, including victory in the Becher Handicap Chase at Aintree.
12/1 second-favourite at the time of writing, he hasn’t been seen winning since claiming the RSA Chase at Cheltenham last year. Team Twiston-Davies’ eight-year-old did catch the eye when finishing second in the Grand National Trial behind Vieux Lion Rouge last time. Arrives in great form this season.
Brings a record reading 10 wins and five places from 19 starts, a CV that was enhanced last time out when winning the Grimthorpe Handicap Chase at Doncaster in March. Also got his head in front in the Rowland Meyrrick Handicap Chase at Wetherby on Boxing Day. You won’t get any issues with his jumping, and there’s 12/1 doing the rounds.
Cause of Causes
Gordon Elliott’s star will net you a handy 14/1 at the time of writing, and that may prove too good to ignore for lovers of the value. An old favourite, he was eighth in the 2015 Grand National, so knows what it takes to get around, and that’s half the battle. None of this will come as a shock to the nine-year-old, who won the Glenfarclas Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.
The Last Samuri
Last seen finishing second behind race rival Definitly Red in the Grimthorpe Handicap Chase, but was well and truly put in his place that day. It’s difficult to see him recovering enough to then go and win this race, but it is possible at 14/1. He does like it around here though and was, of course, runner-up last year behind Rule The World. Race form is worth its weight in gold to some.
One For Arthur
Lucinda Russell’s eight-year-old will attract plenty of attention from once a year punters called Arthur, I am sure, but followers of the game will know he won last time out – his sixth career cheer – doing the business at Warwick in the Betfred Classic Handicap Chase in January. That was a real confidence booster, as he did it by a fair distance, despite trouble on-route.
The Young Master
I don’t think the 16/1 will be enough to get many interested in this out of form eight-year-old. Now, there’s no doubting his class, and he was at his best to win the Gold Cup Chase at Sandown ahead of Just A Par last year, but his form since reads faller – 14th of 15 – sixth. On his day he’s up there with the best of them, but it’s rarely his day anymore.
Trainer Willie Mullins is a real friend to the punter, and there’s sure to be plenty of blind money go on his Pleasant Company here, backers happy to trust the great man with their cash, and it’s not the worst tactic either. Doesn’t boast big race experience, but has been beating what’s in front of him, and confidence is a wonderful thing. 16/1 poke for those interested.
We’re getting to the meaty prices now, with Ucello Conti circling at 20/1. Another for Gordon Elliott. He was sixth in last year’s race, and that can only help his chances. For one at a price, I wouldn’t put anyone off this improving sort. Elliott rates him, and he’d run all day if asked.
One I like, but it remains to be seen if he’ll take his place in the race, with a couple of other options catching the eye of connections. If you’re looking for an in-form horse, this is your pick. Winner in each of his last four starts, they have all been in hunter chases, but his working partnership with Katie Walsh is well worth keeping close.