Aintree 2015 – Grand National Preview

Across The Bay enjoys the fences but appears to have lost his enthusiasm. Al Co is an in and out performer capable of good performances on his day. Won the Scottish National in 2014 and showed a return to form over hurdles recently. Meets many of the stats with a good record in April/May. Alvarado finished fourth in the 2014 renewal. Just the one run so far this season; however, he will fit a lot of stats if turning up for the fun. Balthazar King has a remarkable record in cross-country races. Ran a fine race to finish second in 2014. Missed Cheltenham to arrive a fresh horse. 8lb more to carry this time; cannot be discounted, especially on good or good to soft. Cause Of Cause won the four-miler at Cheltenham. Stamina should not prove a problem though at seven-years he may be a year or two early for this assignment. Chance Du Roy finished sixth in 2014. He won the 2013 Becher Chaser and enjoys Aintree. Stamina may prove an issue when push comes to shove in the closing stages. Corrin Wood has claims on his best form which has not been seen for a while. Much the same chance as Dolatulo at the weights. Court By Surprise is well weighted and goes well fresh. Stamina is a possible concern. Dolatulo produced a career best when running away with the Rowland Meyrick Chase at Wetherby last Boxing Day. Enjoys flat tracks and ran a fair race in the 2014 Becher Chase. Sure to be considered for this year’s renewal though may need another year’s experience. First Lieutenant had been a disappointment this season. However, that has led to a more than viable handicap mark. He has run well on the Melling course and generally shows his best at this time of the year. Bred to stay he could run well for a trainer that saddled two of the first four home in the Irish National. Gas Line Boy stays well and usually race close to the pace. Won twice this season and deserves his chance. Godsmejudge has run with credit in several top staying handicap chases. Winner of the 2013 Scottish National, he finished second the 2014 renewal before a gallant third in bet365 Gold Cup. This will be his first sight of the Aintree fences. Hadrian’s Approach is a capable handicap chaser on his day. Whilst his fencing has let him down more than once, he produced a good performance to land the 2014 bet365 Gold Cup. Much will depend on how he takes to the early action. Lord Windermere has failed to sparkle this year. Visual evidence does not support the trainers assumption jockey was to blame for poor Gold Cup run. Many Clouds reported to have run flat at Cheltenham. Whilst he is a game and talented horse, this may prove one race too many off a big weight. Monbeg Dude finished an honourable fourth in the Welsh National having won the 2012 renewal (Run in January 2013). Ran a fair race to finish seventh to Pineau De Re; mistakes at Bechers and the Canal Turn did not help matters. Interestingly, his five highest RPR’s came at Cheltenham and Chepstow, venues close to his stables. Mon Parrain is useful on his day but has had plenty of problems through his career. Finished second in the 2011 Topham Trophy. Mountainous won the 2013 Welsh National. Things have not gone according to plan since then including two disappointing efforts this season. Night In Milan is a useful handicap chaser with an excellent record at Doncaster. He usually races up with the pace jumping boldly when at the top of his game. The flat track will suit, while he could be an exciting if taking to the fences. Oscar Time has finished second and fourth in previous Grand Nationals. Approaching the veteran stage, he ran out the worthy winner of the 2014 Becher Chase last December. Despite his advancing years, he looks sure to give a good account of himself if returning for another crack. Owega Star is a fair chaser at best. Nothing in his profile to suggest he will stay this far. Pineau De Re ran home a game winner of the 2014 renewal. Leading at the second last, he drew clear on the run-in. A disappointing run over hurdles at Cheltenham preceded an equally disappointing display at Carlisle. One will be looking for a post-Christmas revival if he is to return to Aintree with a viable chance. Portrait King is a former winner of the Eider Chase. Stays well handles good ground and sharpened up by recent hurdle run. Rebel Rebellion is at the top of his game and 7lb well in at the weights. Closely matched with Soll and Chance Du Roy on Exeter form. Rocky Creek finished fifth last season and second in 2013 Hennessy Gold Cup. Back to form when an easy winner of the BetBright Chase; he will be 9lb well-in following that success. Has to be a serious player if his stamina holds out. Rubi Light is another in-form horse that arrives 4lb well in. Profile suggests potential stamina issues. Royale Knight is an improving staying chaser in the care of last year’s winning trainer Dr Richard Newland. His best form has come on good or good to soft. A nine-year-old, he proved he stayed four-miles when successful at Kelso in December 2013. Returned with a promising effort over hurdles. Saint Are is one paced but stays all day. Ran well in the Becher Chase, enjoys flat tracks. Much improved for his new stable. Shutthefrontdoor returned to action with a workmanlike win at Carlisle. He ended the 2013/14 season with a decent run at Cheltenham followed by victory in the Irish Grand National. Not seen since November, he will be AP’s final ride in the race. Misses out on several important stats. Soll seventh in 2013. Arrives in top form having joined Martin Pipe this season. 7b well in having won since the weights were published. Sure to run well though may find things going as quick he would want on the first circuit. Spring eeledHHeeled ran out an easy winner of the 2014 Kim Muir Chase at Cheltenham, before finishing fifth in the bet365 Gold Cup and fifth in the Galway Plate. His best form has come on good ground. Looks sure to find further improvement following a pleasing return from a well-deserved break. Super Duty has not regained the form shown for his previous trainer. The Druids Nephew ran out an impressive winner of the Festival Chase at Cheltenham. He will race off a 10lb lower mark than he will do in future races. Huge chance on ratings but is without Mr Geraghty who honed his jumping skills. The Rainbow Hunter enjoyed the fences until departing the fun at the ninth fence last year. No recent worthwhile form. Tranquil Sea has been a decent chaser in this time. Lightly raced these days and now in the veteran stage. Unioniste has been touted for the race since his impressive win at Sandown Park. Ran a decent race behind Coneygree in the Denman Chase. Stayed on well having lost his position mid-race. However, as with several others, another year on his back would be welcomed while soft ground would enhance his claims Wyck Hill stays all day, in his own time! Might become outpaced and detached on the first circuit.

FSF Ratings The Package 175 Spring Heeled 168 Maggio 165 Rebel Rebellion 174 Cause of Causes 168 First Lieutenant 164 Rocky Creek 174 Chance Du Roy 168 Pineau De Re 164 Soll 174 Double Ross 167 Hadrian’s Approach 164 Any Currency 174 Godsmejudge 167 Night In Milan 164 The Druids Nephew 173 Monbeg Dude 167 Carlito Brigante 164 Many Clouds 170 Super Duty 167 Portrait King 164 Rubi Light 170 Balthazar King 166 Saint Are 162 Wyck Hill 169 Oscar Time 166 Lord Windermere 162 Goonyella 169 Alvarado 166 Dolatulo 162 Mountainous 169 Gas Line Boy 166 Mon Parrain 162 Broadway Buffalo 169 Al Co 165 The Rainbow Hunter 161 Unioniste 168 Shutthefrontdoor 165 Royale Knight 160

Timeform 183 The Druids Nephew 182 The Package 181 Rocky Creek 180 Broadway Buffalo 178 Soll 177 Any Currency 177 Many Clouds 176 Spring Heeled 176 Double Ross 175 Shutthefrontdoor 175 Cause of Causes 175 Gallant Oscar 175 Godsmejudge

175 Goonyella

175 Mountainous 175 Super Duty 175 Theatrical Star 175 Back In Focus 174 Chance du Roy 174 Rebel Rebellion 174 Monbeg Dude 174 Roi Du Mee 174 Rubi Light 174 Maggio 173 Balthazar King

173 Hadrian’s Approach 173 Rolling Aces 173 Gas Line Boy 172 Lord Windermere 172 Wyck Hill 172 Pineau De Re 172 Unioniste 171 Alvarado 171 Oscar Tim 170 First Lieutenant

See my publications @