Grand National: All 40 horses rated in one handy guide

Our top tipster Paul Jacobs has looked at the hopes of every horse in the field of Aintree’s great race. Come see if your fancy has got five stars!

Comments

Anibale Fly – What a strange ride he was given here last year! Even better this season, but goodish ground would make this a mammoth task for him to make up the yards late on. Stars: **

Valtor – Came over here with a reputation which was enhanced at Ascot and crushed at Cheltenham. Stars: **

Tiger Roll – Love him! The most likely winner, but it goes against all my betting principles to back him at the current price. Stars: *****

Outlander – Hasn’t run badly this season, but even off a dropping mark of 158 it will be a surprise should he be involved in the finish – let alone win. Stars: *

Don Poli – Has shown absolutely nothing this season…end of! Stars: *

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Go Conquer – Two wins at Doncaster, culminating in a clear-cut success off 151 suggests he is still on the up and there could be more to come if the ground is good over further. Needs a clear career best off 157. Stars: ***

Mala Beach – He has the maestro amateur JJ Codd on board, but it simply isn’t enough. Stars: **

Minella Rocco – What has happened to the 2017 Gold Cup runner-up? He looked the perfect candidate for this race, but has seemed disinterested this year. He is very well handicapped though. Stars: **

Lake View Lad – One of the most progressive stayers in the line-up and I believe the best is still to come. I loved the way he powered up the hill at Cheltenham. Has a winning chance if the ground isn’t too quick. Stars: ****

Pleasant Company – beaten 35L and pulled up last season before running a cracking, closing second last year. Beaten 51L and 47L this year… An interesting pattern is emerging! Stars: ***

Ballyoptic – Unlucky in running when a fast-finishing runner-up in the Scottish National.  Stars: ***

Dounikos – Bounced back to his novice chase form with a strong staying success in the Grand National Trial. A mark of 154 requires considerably more and he definitely needs good ground. Stars: ***

Rathvinden – He had one of the hardest races I have ever seen at Cheltenham when landing the 2018 National Hunt Chase. Three runs since seemingly haven’t dented his enthusiasm. Jumps, stays and likes good to soft ground. Stars: ****

One For Arthur – Went through the pack like a knife through butter when winning two years ago. Injury and absence seemingly have stunted his talent and he remains 6lbs higher. Stars: **

Rock The Kasbah – Best when fresh, hasn’t run for 113 days and a sound surface suits. Will Richard Johnson finally click in the race that he says he doesn’t like riding in? Stars: ***

Warriors Tale – UP 41 over these fences, culminating in a success in the Grand Sefton in autumn. I’m not sure he is a thorough enough stayer. Stars: *

Regal Encore – The type of character suited to this test and was a huge eye catcher when eight in 2017. Mixed form since and 2lbs higher. Stars: ***

Magic Of Light – Based on her last two runs, she simply doesn’t jump well enough to win a race of this nature. Stars: *

A Toi Phil – Ran well in the Pertemps Hurdle Final at Cheltenham, but needs to up his game even off a fair handicap mark. Stars: **

Jury Duty – Weakened some way out and unseated in the 2018 National Hunt Chase, but that was on soft ground and a better surface would give him a chance of staying. Confidence high following a strong running success last time out. Stars: ***

Noble Endeavor – Off the track for 600 days and probably needed both sharpeners in the Becher and Ultima Chases… A rank outsider. Stars: *

Monbeg Notorious – He looked an absolute natural for this race when winning the Thyestes and the Ten Up chases. Beaten 169 lengths on his first two starts this term, but a closing sixth in the Leinster National was very promising. Stars: *****

Ramses De Teillee – As a marathon performer his placed efforts in the Welsh National and Haydock National Trial are perfect credentials for this and a mark of 149 is not insurmountable. Stars: ***

Tea For Two – Thrown in on his King George thrid in 2017, but has been hugely regressive since. Stars: **

Mall Dini – now a non runner and was replaced By Just A Par whose long odds probably reflect his chances.

Step Back – Drying ground is perfect for this terrier-like stayer. Won the Bet365 chase off 135, 6lbs worse off with Rock The Kasbah for beating that rival by 13L. Nice introduction this year when sixth in the Warwick Classic, when he looked in need of the run. Stars: ***

Ultragold – Aintree form figures over the big fences of 1-2-1-3. Stayed on nicely in the Becher Chase, but weakened in the 3m5f Warwick Classic. Non-stayer in my book. Stars: **

Blow By Blow – Martin Pipe Handicap Hurdle win at last year’s festival a career best and hasn’t matched that over fences, pulled up in Leinster National. Stars: *

Up For Review – The handicapper seems to have him exactly where he wants him. Was going well in the Ultima until rearranging the third last. Stars: ***

Singlefarmpayment – Keeps on hitting the bar in some valuable handicaps. A safe jumper, but looks a blatant non-stayer. Stars: *

Vintage-Clouds-leads-Lake-View-Lad

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Vieux Lion Rouge – has jumped around here safely before, but is on the downgrade and four and a quarter miles bottoms him out. Stars: *

Valseur Lido – Seems to be on a downturn this year, but his eighth in this race in 2018 is better than it looks as he was well in contention turning for home and better ground could see him outrun his odds. Stars: **

Vintage Clouds – Ran a career-best effort last time out in the Ultima when he stayed on strongly into second place behind an idling leader, but this mark has proved too much in the past. A place prospect. Stars: ***

General Principle – Irish National winner and is only 5lbs higher here. Nearly took the 15th by the roots in the Ultima and pulled up late on, but his previous run behind Dounikos makes him a big priced each-way player. Stars: ***

Livelovelaugh – Never got into the race in the Kim Muir and I reckon he is a better horse over a bit shorter. Stars: *

Walk In The Mill – 7lbs penalty for winning the Becher Chase when seeing that trip out well and is one of the best light weights in the field. Stars: ****

Folsom Blue – Deep ground a must for this dour stayer, but had ideal conditions in the Eider and couldn’t challenge. Stars: *

Captain Redbeard – He has been around here before and not really taken to the place – would be a shock winner. Stars: **

Bless The Wings – An old boy who ran an unbelievable third last year. His cross-country form has been rather in and out this year and it will be a massive surprise if he is even placed again. Stars: *

Joe Farrell – Last year’s Scottish National winner jumps for fun and comes here as fresh as a daisy. Good ground serves him best, so following the rain on Thursday connections would like to see a drying two days. Stars: ***

My top six:

1. Dead Heat: Tiger Roll/Monbeg Notorious
3. Lake View Lad
4. Rathvinden
5. Walk In The Mill
6. Ballyoptic

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What do you think?