It’s time for our top Aintree Day 1 betting tips and predictions. The 2019 Grand National takes place on Saturday afternoon as some of the best horses in the field slug it out over the extended trip under the watchful gaze of worldwide sports fans. It’s a contest that brings the UK and Ireland to a standstill for a few fleeting moments, but the name of the winner will live long in the memory.
Last year’s champion, Tiger Roll did the business for trainer Gordon Elliott and jockey Davy Russell at a chunky 10/1 after dominating the ante-post betting. He drifted towards the off, however, ensuring he didn’t start as favourite, strengthening the trends of losing jollies in this race.
Interestingly, Tiger Roll is fav for two-in-a-row this year and the early betting has seen him well supported to come and defend his crown. Will that be the case? It’s a big ask, of course, and followers of the trends know defending champions have just as poor a record as favourites in the Grand National. That’s sure to put a few off, many punters happy to go in search of a lively outsider at a bigger price with a chance of causing an upset.
We have run the rule over the big race and returned with their views on the chances of the leading runners in the pack, as well as an update on the trends and any other snippets of information that could prove useful to backers.
Picking the winner of the national is tough and it doesn’t happen too often; it’s more like a lottery than a horse race. However, but if you do your research and keep your stakes down to interest levels, you can enjoy the show and hope your number comes in. Check out our in-depth Grand National 2019 preview.
Boost Your Balance
There’s more to be had in the two days that go before Saturday, with the Aintree Festival throwing up a number of Grade 1 contests and races of note on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Let’s pull back the covers and take a closer look at the main race on Thursday afternoon, as well as our thoughts on where the smart money goes.
Seven races get underway on day one of the Aintree Festival at 1.45pm with the Grade 1 Novices Chase bringing the curtain up on what will be three spectacular days of racing. The schedule also includes the Grade 1 Juvenile Hurdle, Grade 1 Bowl Chase, Grade 1 Aintree Hurdle, Foxhunters Hunters Chase, Grade 3 Handicap Chase and the afternoon schedule is brought to a close with the Grade 2 Fillies and Mares NH flat race.
There’s plenty to get your teeth into and the action provides backers with a chance to boost their betting balance in good time for the bigger races to come, including the Grand National. A few shrewd picks on Thursday could see you edge your nose in front in the race against bookmakers to come out of the week with a profit.
The Foxhunters Hunter Chase
We’ll focus our attention on what will be a competitive Foxhunters Hunter Chase, due to post at 4.05pm. A 44-runner field is involved at the time of writing but that will be reduced between now and the off during the declarations and final declarations stage. All involved will fancy their chances at competing in the race but only a select few get their chance.
Road To Rome picked
It will be a bulky field, nonetheless, with chances coming from throughout the list. Balnaslow won the race last year for O’Connor and McKeever and it looks anyone’s guess who will triumph over the national course this time. Bookmakers have pinned their hopes on Road To Rome, pricing him as an ante-post favourite and if he does make the final field he’ll certainly take all the beating.
The nine-year-old gelding out of O’Shea’s yard is 9/2 favourite with Bet365 to live up to expectations but, if you fancy a pop at that, be careful who you trust. Many major bookmakers offer less of a price on the same outcome, with most stuck around the 4/1 mark. Predicting the winner of this race is difficult enough without taking lower odds.
The jolly brings stats of four wins and six placed efforts from 18 starts and that will ensure backers get a run for their money. He last popped his head in front when winning a Hunters Chase over 2m 6f at Haydock in February and that took his 2019 stats to four wins from five. The spare did occur last time out when getting no closer than fourth around Cheltenham in the festival’s Foxhunter Challenge Cup, ending a long way off the pace of winner Hazel Hill. He led at an important time of that race but tailed off when push came to shove and that won’t win him too many friends going into a race that’ll test the stamina and bravery of all concerned.
Take a Bigger Price
We prefer to look beyond the favourite, despite his run of wins this year and will have a small play on Burning Ambition. He’s second favourite with all major bookmakers and there’s no more generous than Coral who offer a market best price of 11/2, better than the 5/1 generally available, some as tight as 4/1.
The Irish-bred eight-year-old is trained by Pierce Power and although he has plenty of learning still to do, arriving at track with just four previous wins, he strikes us a progressive horse who will rise to the occasion. He has won half of those four goes, finishing second in one of the other two.
The team warmed up for this with a win at Down Royal last month, claiming a 2m 3f Hunters Chase by 1 ½ lengths ahead of Sidetracked in second and Like A Demon in third. His other win came at Limerick on debut and, if we see the kind of progress we are expecting, there’s a real chance he’ll upset the favourite at a decent price.