So in case you’ve missed my previous blogs I have narrowed the field down to a shortlist of just nine horses.
You can check my last two news articles to read more about how I eliminated 24 horses based on established past-race trends and used my own analysis of the past seven editions of the Grand National to reduce my shortlist to 9.
Meanwhile the going on the Grand National course has been declared soft, good to soft in places this morning following 7mm of rain overnight.
Having been good to soft on Friday, the going has eased after more rain than expected overnight.
More showers are forecast for later in the morning although it’s been a bright and sunny start to the day on Merseyside so it’s reasonable to expect the course to dry a bit during the day.
I was probably guilty of over reacting to weather conditions a couple of years ago, but this news has no doubt made me rethink a selection or two. We should duly note that four of our shortlist, Holywell, The Druids Nephew, Just A Par and Saint Are tend to show their best form on dryer ground.
So on to those tips!
Firstly, where to bet? Well Bet Victor are offering six places on each-way bets on the Grand National – a stand out offer in my view. So I’d advice using the link below to place your bets.
It’s hard to make a strong argument against any of the nine horses based on trends, but perhaps past Grand National form will give us a clue.
Referring back to my form analysis I demonstrated that horses who fail to finish a Grand National don’t tend to thrive on subsequent attempts, so for this reason I’ll draw a line through Triolo D’alene (66/1, Click here for 6 places each-way), who was rather uninspiring when pulled up in his previous National attempt two years ago.
Similar thinking applies to The Druids Nephew (16/1, Click here for 6 places each-way) who was admittedly tanking along when he fell five from home last year. The ground may also count against him too.
Another possible ground casualty is Just A Par (50/1, Click here for 6 places each-way), who certainly reserves best form for dry ground. That said he might have a big race in him and may be worth a few bob each-way at 50/1.
My final line goes through Sir Des Champs (25/1, Click here for 6 places each-way), whose odds closed dramatically when news emerged that Ruby Walsh chose to ride him, only for Walsh to break a wrist yesterday. His replacement Nina Carberry is an outstanding jockey who has a chance at becoming the first woman jockey to win the National.
So with all associated caveats and health warnings here are my final 5 selections for the 2016 Crabbies Grand National.
Let’s start with last years’ runner-up SAINT ARE (14/1, Click here for 6 places each-way). His odds drifted a bit earlier this morning as the overnight rain won’t work in his favour but with such a low weight combined with a great record around Aintree I can’t see too many coming home ahead of him.
After back-to-back wins at the Aintree and Punchestown festivals in 2014, BOSTON BOB (33/1, Click here for 6 places each-way) looked set for Cheltenham Gold Cup stardom but then fell into obscurity until winning the Bobbyjo Chase at Fairyhouse last time out in February – traditionally a decent trial for the National. If he’s back to his best this 33/1 shot could be the pick of ace trainer Willie Mullins runners.
Heading this year’s weights and the betting, make no mistake MANY CLOUDS (9/1, Click here for 6 places each-way) has a big chance to become the first back to back winner of the Grand National since Red Rum in 1974. He ran phenomenally well in his latest outing, carries just 1 pound more on his back this year and hits absolutely every trend you can imagine! The only down side is his price, but make any assessment based on trends and it’s simply impossible to leave him off my final list of picks.
Next up we will go for GOONYELLA (16/1, Click here for 6 places each-way). Something of a rarity in this race given he is running his first National with rock solid proven form over 4 miles plus. An out and out stayer who has won the Midlands National and finished 2nd in last years’ Scottish National, he’s a bit one paced so the more rain today the better, and carrying a decent 10-08 he could be there or thereabouts.
For my final pick we’ll go with the Jonjo O’Neill trained HOLYWELL (14/1, Click here for 6 places each-way). This is a horse that really comes alive at this time of year and has class in abundance. General view is the ground might be a little softer than ideal, but he finished 4th in last years’ Cheltenham Gold Cup on soft ground. A quiet season has kept his weight allocation down to a very manageable 10-12 which means he’s carrying a lot less weight than than Many Clouds (-12 lbs) and Silviniaco Conti (-10 lbs) the top two in the handicap both of whom he beat in that Gold Cup run.
He is theoretically 10 pounds ‘well in’ with the handicapper following his 2nd place in the Ultima Handicap at the Cheltenham Festival three weeks ago, usually an excellent jumper and we can throw in a career win at Aintree onto his CV, where he beat 2016 Gold Cup winner Don Cossack in the process. I’m gambling a bit that the ground won’t affect him too much but in a high class field he might just be the lightening in a bottle we’re trying to catch!
So there you have it. Humiliation or glory awaits. We’ll know at about 5.30 this afternoon!
Whether you follow these picks or not, best of luck today and thank you for reading.
GRAND NATIONAL PREDICTION
2. MANY CLOUDS
3. BOSTON BOB
5. SAINT ARE