Grand National tips: 5 to keep onside as Paddy reveals his best-backed Aintree hopefuls

The biggest race in the world comes under orders on Saturday and Paddy's got 5 to keep onside.

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*Prices quoted are ante-post until the final declaration stage on Thursday. If your selection doesn’t run for whatever reason before then your stake will be lost.

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Snow Leopardess

1.  Snow Leopardess

Our worst result in the Grand National at the moment as Charlie Longsdon’s stable star chases a fourth successive victory. The 10-year-old was a pretty decent novice last season finishing fourth to subsequent Grade 1 Savills Chase winner Galvin in the National Hunt Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.

She began this term with a cosy win in a handicap chase at Bangor in November, but it was her next victory over the National fences in the Becher Chase at Aintree the following month that really got people talking of her as a real candidate for the world’s most famous steeplechase as she gamely got the better of Hill Sixteen by a wafer-thin margin.

Her warm-up came in a mares’ chase at Exeter in February when she was 12 lengths too powerful for her rivals which set her up nicely for a bid to devour the opposition in the big one on Saturday.

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2. Freewheelin Dylan

Last year’s Irish Grand National winner is a big price to scoop the Aintree Grand National, but horses don’t know their odds and his price didn’t stop him from landing last year’s Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse at odds of 150/1.

Since then he hasn’t exactly set the world on fire, although, to be fair, his next effort at the Punchestown Festival wasn’t too shabby in a handicap chase in which he finished a three and a quarter length fourth to Mister Fogpatches. Meath magician Dermot McLoughlin then gave him a 69-day break before he came home sixth in the Midlands National at Kilbeggan in July.

He never travelled on his last outing when pulled up in a handicap hurdle at Fairyhouse in January, but as an Irish National hero, Aintree’s unique fences might just bring out the best in him.

Fiddlerontheroof-Sandown-win

3. Fiddlerontheroof

Fiddlerontheroof’s strong point is his consistency and in 10 chase outings, he’s won two and been in the first three on the other eight. Last season he showed that he wasn’t far behind the best novices with a second to Monkfish in the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase at the Cheltenham Festival before a third to Chantry House in the Mildmay Novices’ Chase at Aintree.

He begun the present campaign in fine style with victory in the usually-informative Colin Parker Memorial Chase at Carlisle before putting in a lovely performance to finish second to Cloudy Glen in the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury in November.

The Stowaway gelding then filled the same position on his last start in a handicap chase at Ascot in February, only beaten one and a half lengths, but that run can be upgraded as he lost his left hind shoe on the Queen’s turf.

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4. Cloth Cap

Jonjo O’Neill’s runner is a big price considering he was sent off favourite for last year’s renewal, before being pulled up before the third last. However, he did go into the 2021 race having won his two previous starts, including the prestigious Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury. This term his best performance on paper was his first after wind surgery in the Spring when fourth on his seasonal bow in a handicap chase at Cheltenham’s October Meeting.

He was subsequently well beaten in this season’s Ladbrokes Trophy, refused at Ascot, and was well beaten last time in Doncaster’s Grimthorpe Chase. He’ll need to be better, but trainer Jonjo O’Neill has been very positive about him and if he runs to the level of his Ladbrokes Trophy victory, who knows?

Rachel Blackmore Minella Times Grand National 2021

5. Minella Times

The Rachael Blackmore-effect has no doubt aided last year’s hero Minella Times to be included in the top five with any of her big-race mounts now attracting as much attention as in the past AP McCoy’s or Frankie Dettori and Ryan Moore on the level.

Since entering the annals of racing history last year, the nine-year-old fell in the Grade 1 John Durkan Memorial Chase at Punchestown in December before being pulled up in the Leopardstown Handicap Chase in February.

Not an ideal preparation, especially as he has to carry 20lbs more than last year’s win, but perhaps the excitement of the big day and the quirkiness of the big obstacles can set up a repeat.

*Prices quoted are ante-post until the final declaration stage on Thursday. If your selection doesn’t run for whatever reason before then your stake will be lost.

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