These days it’s not quite the four-and-a-half miler of the past but it’s nevertheless the longest race of the lot and anything can – and usually does – happen. The last ten winners of this most famous of steeplechases have started at odds of 10/1, 14/1, 33/1, 25/1, 25/1, 66/1, 33/1, 14/1, 10/1 and 100/1, therefore it’s clear that the Grand National is a notoriously difficult puzzle to solve despite all the tinkering of the weights and improved safety modifications.
This is a gruelling assignment for any horse with forty runners attempting to successfully negotiate thirty of the biggest fences in horse racing. Luck can play a massive part in the race – just look at 100/1-shot Foinavon in 1967 – therefore it is always worth considering a rank outsider E/W, especially with many leading bookies offering six places on the race. Just make sure that you take the odds as early as possible.
Here are our three suggestions…
Regal Encore: Best Price – 80/1 with William Hill
This runner was pulled out at the eleventh hour in 2018 due to an abnormal blood test but the JP McManus-trained horse has plenty going in his favour at very big odds. Richie McLernon will likely be in the saddle, this jockey coming agonisingly close to winning the Grand National in 2012 when beaten by a nose by Neptune Collonges whilst aboard Sunnyhillboy.
He completed the 2017 Grand National to finish eighth and his only chase of the season saw him travel well and finish third at Ascot despite losing a shoe. Should the conditions favour this runner, we expect him to run well on the day.
Valseur Lido: Best Price – 66/1 with Ladbrokes
It’s always a good idea to cast an eye back to the previous Grand National when considering your options for the current renewal and last year’s race has plenty of significance this time around with the first four past the post set to feature again on April 6th, these being Tiger Roll, Pleasant Company, Bless The Wings and Anibale Fly.
Nevertheless when replaying the 2018 race, you can keep your eye on Valseur Lido who enjoyed an excellent rail-hugging ride throughout with Keith Donoghue steering him impressively over the fences with some nice jumping along the way. He remained in contention up until about four from home although he soon ran out of steam to ultimately finish eighth overall.
This was on heavy ground however and he carried a weight of 11st 7lb from his mark of 158. Conditions certainly won’t be as testing this time around and he will now carry a weight of 10st 6lb from his mark of 146.
Clearly his rating suggests that his form has plummeted of late but should the Aintree fences spark him into life – as well they might – then he presents a very interesting outsider. He has form in this race and is a triple Grade One winner over fences – just the sort of 66/1-shot that we like.
Monbeg Notorious: Best Price – 80/1 with William Hill
The Gigginstown stable may well have as many as twelve runners in the 2019 Grand National including the likes of Tiger Roll and Valseur Lido, however it would be foolish to ignore one of Elliott’s underlings on April 6th. The firm favourite Tiger Roll will clearly be attracting all of the attention but Elliott has a small army of National contenders in his stable and one of those could be quietly basking in the Tiger Roll shade. There could be some surprises in store in those shadows.
Monbeg Notorious presents a decent profile for a 80/1 outsider with a perfectly respectable three from ten over fences. He finished eighth in an Irish National when going off at 8/1 and his best showing this season thus far was a sixth-placed finish in the Leinster National.
With Sean Bowen in the hot-seat (four from nineteen for Elliott), he’ll be in line for a season-best given his marked improvement last time out.