The 2019 Grand National will take place at Aintree on Saturday 6 April with an advertised off time of 5.15pm. That’s a later start than many traditionalists are used to, but it seems to be the way forward for organisers and it avoids the race clashing with many of the day’s other sporting events, including the football schedule. Here are our Grand National betting tips.
The Grand National remains one of the world’s best-loved horse racing events and draws in an audience from the Liverpool course, as well as the millions who follow live on TV around the globe. There’s a real buzz in the air as we approach race week with bookmakers offering an ever-increasing number of ways to make your bets. You can punt on the winner, each-way, match bets, without the fav, favourite to win or not, and plenty more besides.
The four-mile steeplechase has a rich history that can be traced all the way back to 1839 and we’ve enjoyed some truly memorable renewals of the years, with horses, jockeys and trainers writing their names into the history books with a career-defining win. Claiming National glory is no mean feat, of course, and success has evaded many stars of the sport.
The stats show Red Rum ranks as the Grand National’s most successful horse on three wins. The first of his successes came in 1973 and was followed by a win 12 months later and then, probably most impressively, in 1977 when written off by critics across the board. A true sporting legend, you’ll find a statue of the great horse at Aintree, Ayr and Southport.
George Stevens is the race’s leading jockey with five titles, achieved between 1856 and 1870 and those in the know will tell you the leading trainer is currently tied on four, matching George Dockeray, Fred Rimell and Ginger McCain. Leading owners, all on three trophies, are James Octavius Machell, Noel Le Mare and Trevor Hemmings. The fastest winner of the Grand National was Mr Frisk in 1990, coming good in 8 minutes 47 seconds, and we’ve had no less than five 100/1 winners, most recently Mon Mome in 2009.
Will we see another big priced champion this year? It’s certainly possible and one of the reasons the Grand National is so well followed is the fact the history books have thrown up some nice priced winners, with favourites often failing to live up to expectations. The last SP winning jolly was Don’t Push It back in 2010, and even that was joint-fav.
Tiger Roll did the business 12 months ago when showing a talented field the way home at a handy 10/1. The Gigginstown owned star scored for trainer Gordon Elliott under the ride of Davy Russell and is in the mix to defy the stats and retain his honour. Two-in-a-row has been priced up as the favourite in the ante-post market, as tight as 7/2 offered, with 4/1 offered at William Hill. The trends do little to support a defence and that, as well as the price, will put many shrewd backers off a bet.
Let’s pick through some of the main players in the ante-post betting and analyse their chances…
Last year’s winner and the ante-post darling for more of the same this time. The trends for two on the spin, as well as the form of previous favourites, raise a red flag over this one and we don’t expect to see too much attention as the race nears. He will drift approaching the off, as he did last year, and we’re confident he won’t go to post as jolly. If you are going to back him, be patient and wait on the odds to drift. They certainly shouldn’t come in any.
Finished fourth in the Grand National last year and was looking, for long periods of the race, like a win was on the cards. The team will be desperate to improve on that this time and it’s generally accepted Anibale Fly will be a better horse with an improved chance of landing the prize money for connections. He’s got 2lbs more to carry and although that has to be factored in, it shouldn’t make too much of a difference to a talented runner. Those who saw him handle himself with credit in the Gold Cup will think he remains a well-handicapped horse. Currently available at 12/1 at Bet365.
This one stays all day, as he showed when winning at the Cheltenham Festival and if backing Rathvinden to win the National you are getting a horse who is honest as the day is long and will give you a run for your money if he can stay on his feet. Willie Mullins’ star has given us cause for concern in his past round of jumping, but Mullins has won this race before and the interest in him doing it again with Rathvinden is encouraging to supporters. Bet365 have him as a 10/1 poke to get the job done and that won’t go unnoticed by the value hunters amongst us.
This nine-year-old hasn’t been without attention in the build-up and that’s no surprise to those who have kept a close eye on his development. He was a contender for a place in last year’s Grand National but narrowly missed out near the final decs. That would’ve stuck in the throat of connections and they’ll be out to prove a point if given the chance to shine they are hoping for this time. He has experience of winning at Aintree, although it wasn’t over the National fences, and that has to be seen as a positive. 14/1 is available at Ladbrokes if you fancy a pop.
Lake View Lad
Scooped the Rowland Meyrick Chase at Wetherby last year and although that impressed more than a few, we are confident there’s plenty more to come from this progressive nine-year-old. He has talent in abundance, is well schooled and has the stamina to be involved at the business end of this testing race. He hasn’t taken the National fences in the past, which may put a few off backing him, but plenty of previous winners hadn’t, and we wouldn’t be in a mad rush to write him off at 18/1 at BetHard.
Rock The Kasbah
A real fans favourite, especially at this time of year and there will be floods of casual money coming for this one, especially in the form of loose change and interest bets. The nine-year-old out of the Philip Hobbs’ yard would be the first for Team Hobbs to win the National if he were to go and achieve the feat this year. He is a capable chaser with a strong record of grabbing a place in major races, although he has been guilty of finishing best of the rest on a few occasions. Will this be the race that sees him stick his neck in front to make history? The 20/1 at Bet365 could make it a risk well worth taking and that’ll appeal to each-way players.
Another in with a shout for Willie Mullins at this stage of proceedings and another who will carry the stake money of many punters with a keen eye on the form. The Irish 11-year-old was second last year, beaten by the narrowest of margins and he could improve on that to win this time. He wasn’t beaten by much when behind Tiger Roll and, with a cracking 20/1 available at Bet365 in the ante-post market, we’d say he’s worth sticking with. Won many new fans with his all-action style at Aintree in 2018 and anything like a repeat performance will see him ask all the right questions again. There’s a lot to be said for past experiences in this race, nothing comes as a surprise to him.
Another yard who has never won the Grand National but another who haven’t had too many better chances than they do of scooping glory this year. This runner won the Bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown against a star-studded field and many will recall that day, jotting him down in notepads as one to keep on the right side of. A well-treated nine-year-old who hasn’t been harshly treated in the past and appears to be heading in the right direction. Worth a punt at 25/1 with William Hill? The decision is yours, but backers will get their money’s worth.
If you are going with a trainer in this year’s race, then surely you could do a lot worse than Willie Mullins as he appears to have the majority of fancied runners in the ante-post betting. Traders have had their say and believe the decorated trainer will have a major say in who comes out on top at Aintree under the gaze of the watching world. Pairofbrowneyes has come on leaps and bounds since joining the yard. He won at Gowran last year in his first outing for Mullins and was favourite in the Irish Grand National, although he failed to complete the course.