GORDON Elliott has 11 runners in the world’s most famous race today, the Aintree £1m Randox Grand National (5.15) including the hot-favourite and 2018 winner Tiger Roll.
That has not been achieved since Red Rum (1972-4) and is an indication of the uphill task facing Tiger who carries only 6lbs more.He’s a better horse 12 months on as seen with his victory in the Galmoy Hurdle and his saunter in the Cross-Country at Cheltenham. His chance is clear but whether 7/2* is value for the once-a-year punter, is another matter.And if he wins – albeit the prospects are very bright – he would be the shortest-priced winner since Poethlyn (11/4) exactly 100 years ago.
Wouldn’t it be ironic if Don Poli or Outlander won as these two were in the Elliott stables until being sold earlier this week. The latter is now handled by Richard Spencer and will still have Declan O’Donoghue on board but his days appear to be past.However, there are worse 80/1* shots than Don Poli, third in a Gold Cup when trained by Willie Mullins and once considered ideal for this race. Classy in his day and a thorough stayer, it would be a magical week for new trainer Phil Kirby if the Don proved the National’s doyen.
Willie Mullins won his first Gold Cup this year and has a very good each-way runner in Pleasant Company who went down narrowly to Tiger Roll last year. Mullins won in 2005 with Hedgehunter and while Company’s form has not been great this season, he likes the Aintree fences and at 20/1* is well worth a look. However, it is Willie-boy’s Rathvinden (!0/1)* that has been attracting all the money and is he preferred choice of Ruby Walsh, already a double winner on Papillon (2000) and of course Hedgehunter. Rathvinden has the stamina as shown in winning last year’s National Hunt Chase and won well last time out.
Another at a big price and worth considering is Warrior’s Tale who switched to the National after being considered for today’s Topham Chase. Handled by the astute Paul Nicholls, Tale has already won over the fences, having taken the Sefton Chase earlier in the year. Odds of 66/1* look too big.
Tony Martin’s Anibale Fly has been Mr Consistency and carries top weight. An unlucky fourth last year when meeting trouble, he was second and third in the last two Gold Cups and aims to give Barry Geraghty his second win since Monty’s Pass (2003). Geraghty has been in the first four on six occasions and it would no surprise to see him involved in the finish once more.
But at the end of the day, Elliott holds the ace cards and his Jury Duty who comes into the race on the back of two victories, the latest at Down Royal and has Robbie Power who won on Elliott’s Silver Birch (2007), in the saddle. At odds of 20/1*, he gets the vote each way.
We are are paying 1/4 the odds first five. Other firms are paying first six but at only 1/5 the odds. See Full T&C’s HERE
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Four to finish: Tiger Roll, Jury Duty, Rathvinden, Pleasant Company.
Best bet: Jury Duty e.w. (20/1)*; Best outsider Don Poli (80/1)*
*Prices subject to change*
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