Daniel Hussey - Two Horses To Keep Onside For The Aintree Grand National

7 min

Matchbook’s Daniel Hussey reviews his Cheltenham picks and looks ahead to the Aintree Grand National…

I’m happy to report a profitable Cheltenham on my Matchbook Insights column. If you had a 1pt win on all single selections put up, you would be 10.5pts in profit (+27.6% ROI) based on Industry SP.

The first couple of days were slow and steady progress before a Thursday bloodbath left us slightly down for the week. However, Majborough and Absurde helped us to +14pts on Friday, both defying big on-the-day drifts.

The Festival struggled to ignite initially, with too many odds-on favourites. However, it roared back to life at the end of the week, and hopefully, the well-publicised changes touted are at least considered by the powers that be to keep the racing as competitive as possible. Cheltenham has always been about battles and we simply cannot lose that.

Anyway, enough looking back, let’s focus on the Aintree Grand National. As always, please gamble responsibly!

Horses At The Top Of The Market

Starting at the top of the market, Corach Rambler is a worthy favourite at 7.0 on the Matchbook Betting Exchange. His run last year was superb, and I thought he was a very comfortable winner, albeit he is up 13lbs this time.

He ran a mighty race in the Gold Cup – going as quick as he could for 3m2f and staying on well to finish third – but it was hard to go at that speed for that long, and I would be slightly worried that it has left his mark. Come the day, if he’s a similar price and in good form, I’ll have a small win bet on him, but he can be left alone for now.

Vanillier is well-handicapped based on his runner-up finish last year (up 4lbs) and his seemingly light treatment by the British Handicapper. However, Corach seemed to idle up front, so I still expect it to be tough for Gavin Cromwell’s horse to reverse that form.

I Am Maximus has been running well for Willie Mullins and won last year’s Irish Grand National, while Panda Boy has seen support over the weekend based on being tipped up in a couple of places. Both have obvious chances, but I’ll look further down the market for some value…

Meetingofthewaters 15.5

Having rewatched the Ultima, my first selection is Meetingofthewaters at 15.5. Hyped up on the Cheltenham Preview Night circuit, I thought he ran a great race, particularly given how tough the conditions were. The front two that beat him seem promising horses, with Kim Bailey even mentioning next season’s Gold Cup as a possibility for Chianti Classico.

Despite being keen early and a bit messy with some of his jumps, he got himself into a challenging position at the turn, but that extra work to get there seemed to take its toll. However, he did stay on well after the last, and I think the step-up in trip – and easier Grand National fences – will help his chances.

I can see punters latching onto him over the next couple of weeks, so I think it’s worth taking the 15.5 at the time of writing.

Minella Indo 30.0

My second selection is Minella Indo at 30.0. After his run over the Cross-Country fences in December, he was around a 5.5 shout for the March equivalent. The market support from that price to as short as 2.5 at one stage can’t be ignored, and despite a slight drift, based on the ground, before the cancellation, I expected a big performance.

If he was allowed take his chance and won or ran well in the race, there’s no way the 31.0 would be available about a former Gold Cup winner who, by all accounts, is in flying form at home. With the hope that they can replicate the Cross Country prep run somehow (maybe an away day somewhere!?) before Aintree, I think he can run a mighty race.

Tiger Roll famously completed the Cross Country-Grand National double, and his predecessor, Cause of Causes, almost completed it, finishing second in the National. While Indo has a different profile from those horses, I think he will be well suited to the unique Grand National test.

The last thing to note is that this looks like Rachael Blackmore’s Grand National ride. Rachael is one of our most recognisable figures and will be popular with once-a-year punters who want to have a bet on the National. This in itself should see this price short significantly before the day.

Grand National Ante-Post Selections

  • Meetingofthewaters 15.5
  • Minella Indo 30.0

Best of luck!

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