Grand National tips: The 5 best handicapped runners in the Aintree feature

Timeform’s Andrew Asquith picks his well-handicapped horses ahead of the world's most famous race

Timeform Aintree


*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change

17:15 – Any Second Now

ANY SECOND NOW finished third to Minella Times in the Grand National 12 months ago, but with a clearer run he would have arguably gone close to winning. He jumped well in the main on his first foray over the National fences, his sole blunder coming at the tenth, but no sooner after he was nearly brought to a standstill by Double Shuffle, who fell at the twelfth.

He did incredibly well to get back into the race, making up significant ground between three and two out (around 16 lengths behind the leader at the time) and sustaining that effort well enough to dispute second at the elbow before he eventually began to wane.

Any Second Now warmed up for last year’s Grand National with a victory over two miles in a Grade 2 at Navan and once again arrives with a win under his belt in graded company, this time a nose victory over Escaria Ten in the Bobbyjo Chase at Fairyhouse. The timefigure he recorded there is very solid and Any Second Now has to be high on anyone’s shortlist from a 7 lb higher mark now having experience of the course.



17:15 – Delta Work

DELTA WORK is a high-class chaser who notably won the Grade 1 Savills Chase and Irish Gold Cup, both at Leopardstown, in 2019/20 and started 5/1 for the Cheltenham Gold Cup on his final start that season. He endured a rather truncated campaign the following season, and he left the impression that he wasn’t the force of old on his first three starts this term.

However, he was very strong in the market and was rejuvenated by a switch to cross-country racing when denying his illustrious stablemate Tiger Roll a sixth Cheltenham Festival success in the Glenfarclas Chase last month. He jumped and travelled well on his first start in that discipline and appeared to outstay Tiger Roll close home on testing conditions.

Delta Work showed that he has the deep reserves of stamina to match his class which makes him a leading player in the Grand National despite his big weight.

17:15 – Escaria Ten

ESCARIA TEN remains with just one win over fences, which came in a maiden chase at Thurles towards the end of 2020, but he finished a good third to Galvin in the National Hunt Chase at the Cheltenham Festival last year and arrives on the back of a career-best effort in the Bobbyjo Chase won by Any Second Now in February.

He seemed to be perked up by the fitting of first-time blinkers on that occasion and was only denied a second win over fences on the nod by the winner who finished with a flourish. Escaria Ten will be 1 lb worse off with Any Second Now in the Grand National, but he is only an eight-year-old, and that age group have won four of the last six renewals. He should be well suited by the extreme test of stamina the Grand National presents and is another who is well handicapped, so there is plenty to like about his chances, too.



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17:15 – Kildisart

KILDISART was a smart novice chaser in 2018/19, winning three times, with notable victories coming in the Timeform Novices’ Handicap Chase at Cheltenham and a runaway success in the Grade 3 Handicap Chase at this meeting from the same mark he will race from on Saturday.

He didn’t progress as expected the following season, but he was only just touched off in the Ultima Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, and he has only seen the track three times since. Kildisart shaped as if retaining a fair amount of ability on his return from 15 months off over two and a half miles in the Greatwood Gold Cup at Newbury last month, leaving the impression that he was in need of a stiffer test.

He is unexposed at long distances and, for all he doesn’t have experience of the National fences, he looks one of the better treated horses heading into the race. It would be folly to underestimate his claims at a bigger price.



17:15 – Longhouse Poet

LONGHOUSE POET has shown much improved form over fences this season, landing an ante-post gamble – for all he was easy to back on the day – when winning a very deep renewal of the Thyestes Handicap Chase at Gowran in January. He was ridden handy that day, jumping and travelling better than most, ultimately coming out on top in a good tussle with the runner-up.

He found plenty for pressure that day, leaving the impression he will be well suited by long distances, and he has won both of his starts over fences when tackling distances beyond three miles. Longhouse Poet wasn’t seen to best effect back over hurdles on his latest start, but that run didn’t do his Grand National chances any harm, and he is another who potentially has a few pounds in hand.

A sound jumper who clearly stays well, he has all the attributes to be seen to good effect in a Grand National, and is another that has to be on the radar for connections that know the time of day.

Timeform’s well-handicapped tips:

*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change

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