Grand National 2022: 5 horses ahead of the handicapper for Aintree race

Can these five make the most of their marks?

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*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

One of the things you need to know about the Grand National is that it’s a handicap race.

Quite simply, the 40 horses are given different weights to carry over the marathon trip at Aintree based on their official rating dished out by the British handicapper. The aim is to make it a fair and even contest so each one has an equal chance of winning.

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The weights for this year’s renewal were locked in nearly two months before the runners and riders go to post on Saturday, April 9 so there has been plenty of opportunities for horses’ official marks to have changed.

We’ve identified the five horses in the Grand National 2022 field that have since improved their ratings to get ahead of the handicapper.

Two For Gold (+5lbs)

Kim Bailey’s Two For Gold has enjoyed a terrific season since unseating his rider in the Topham Handicap Chase over the iconic Aintree fences last April. He began this campaign by landing the bet365 Handicap Chase at Doncaster in December when rated 150. He earned a 3lbs rise in the weights for that success but scored for the second time in a row when beating Dashel Drasher and Bristol De Mai on heavy ground in the Fleur De Lys Chase at Lingfield. He was raised another 1lb by the handicapper before the Grand National weights were set to climb to a rating of 154.

A first crack at Grade 1 level in February saw Two For Gold finish a respectable second behind Fakir D’Oudairies in the Ascot Chase, which the handicapper felt warranted a bump to 159 so he officially finds himself 5lbs ahead of his Aintree mark.

Eclair Surf (+4)

A prominent player in our Grand National betting thanks to his attractive weight, Eclair Surf has snuck into the race at 39th on the weights list after Farclas and Caribean Boy were scratched at final declarations. Emma Lavelle’s second-season chaser has bounced back from a fall on seasonal reappearance to significantly boost his handicap rating. He was docked 1lb for that before being dropped a further 1lb when placing third in the Welsh Grand National Trial at Chepstow.

Eclair Surf jumped 10lbs when winning the Grade 3 Classic Handicap Chase by 13l before impressing the handicapper enough when finishing second in the Eider – after the Grand National weights were set – to be boosted another 4lbs to a new mark of 147. The form of that race looks even more impressive as the winner – Win My Wings – subsequently bolted up in the Scottish Grand National.

Fortescue (+4)

Fortescue managed to sneak in right at the bottom of the weights but connections would have had less reason to sweat at final declarations had the ratings been reassessed following his 1½l defeat of Fiddlerontheroof in the Swinley Chase as he earned a 4lbs increase to 147 for scoring at Ascot.

Henry Daly’s charge started the season off a mark of 140 before dropping to 137 after failing to score in two runs. He then earned a 6lbs rise for placing second behind Five Start Getaway in a Class 2 handicap at Kempton over Christmas before a decent effort behind Royale Pagaille and Sam Brown in the Peter Marsh at Haydock in January to climb to 143, which has proved enough to run in the Grand National.

Fiddlerontheroof (+2)

Colin Tizzard’s Fiddlerontheroof follows a similar profile to Two For Gold in bouncing back in fine style following a sub-par performance at last season’s Grand National Festival. The bay gelding claimed the Listed Colin Parker Memorial Intermediate Chase at Carlisle on seasonal reappearance in October to climb to a rating of 150. He was back in action weeks later to place second in the Ladbrokes Trophy by ½l to further boost his mark by another 5lbs before the time Grand National weights were fixed.

Since his Aintree mark of 155 was set, Fiddlerontheroof has since been risen a further 2lbs by the handicapper after taking second place in the Swinley Chase when giving lumps of weight to the rest of the field.

Snow Leopardess (+1)

Charlie Longsdon’s Snow Leopardess heads into the Grand National seeking a fourth win on the spin having started the season rated 135. She kicked off the campaign with a comfortable victory in a Class 2 handicap at Bangor to earn a 5lbs rise before landing the Becher Chase over Aintree’s iconic fences at the start of December to jump to a rating of 146 by the Grand National weights deadline.

Snow Leopardess landed her third win of the campaign – the Listed Mares’ Chase at Exeter by 12l – to boost her BHA mark to 147 so the mare is officially 1lb ahead of the handicapper.

There are also eight horses that would run off a lower weight if the handicapper were to reassess the field. They are: Blaklion (-1) Good Boy Bobby (-1), Kildisart (-1), Dingo Dollar (-3), Cloth Cap (-3), Romain De Senam (-3), Domaine De L’Isle (-4) Lostintranslation (-7).

*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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