Last year’s Grand National winner Tiger Roll has plenty going for him in his bid to become the first back-to-back winner since legendary triple hero Red Rum in 1973-1974. But he’s not been missed by the bookmakers and punters looking to profit are having to take around the 7/2 mark currently, with Paddy one of several firms offering him at that price.
He may well be a point or two bigger on the day of the race but even so there is surely better each-way value to be had elsewhere, and it’s worth noting here that Paddy Power are offering generous terms in that respect. Back a horse each-way with the Irish firm and you will get paid out if your horse finishes in the first six.
So there is plenty of incentive for an each-way bet and, for what is looking a hot renewal, you can make a good case for so many of Tiger Roll’s opponents, arguably headed by Anibale Fly. Tony Martin’s charge galloped into second favouritism for the race by running a career-best third in last month’s Cheltenham Gold Cup. Clearly possessing a touch of class, he also has experience of the National fences, having finished fourth last year, and looks sure to give another good account.
He’s also the right age at nine, although statistically 11-year-olds have fared best in the last 46 years, with 12 successful and including three of the last six winners. That’s a positive for Willie Mullins’ Rathvinden who ran a personal best when winning the Bobbyjo Chase a February, and showed he has the stamina required when winning the four-miler at last year’s Cheltenham Festival. An impeccable jumper, he should carry his backers’ money a long way.
The British challenge is headed by Vintage Clouds, one of two fancied runners owned by Trevor Hemmings, who is one of only four to have won the Aintree marathon three times. His other runner Lake View Lad enhanced his claims by running a fine third in last month’s Ultima Handicap Chase at Cheltenham, one place behind Vintage Clouds, who is bidding to give trainer Sue Smith her second National success, following on from Auroras Encore in 2013. A close third in last year’s Scottish Grand National over 4m, he won’t fail through lack of stamina and looks to have benefited from a recent breathing operation.
Mullins could have potentially have five runners in his bid to land a second success and while Rathvinden looks his first string, it would be foolish to ignore the claims of stablemate Pleasant Company, who has shown his hand already, finishing ninth and second (a head behind Tiger Roll) in the last two Grand National runners. He’s clearly been trained with a third attempt at glory in mind with just two appearances this season without being given a hard time, meaning he’s fresh for the fight.
It’s quite possible we haven’t mentioned the winner such is the open nature of this year’s race, albeit they’ve all got to beat Tiger Roll, and at least Paddy Power are giving punters a fighting chance with their new customer offer. Simply register and place your first bet on any sportsbook market and, if it loses, they will refund your stake in cash up to a tenner. Where’s yours going?
Antonia De Vega kept her Classic dreams alive after she ran out an impressive winner of the Johnnie Lewis Memorial EBF Stakes at Newbury.