Grand National: Five candidates for Aintree glory

Tipsters Review - 31-Mar-2017


Grand National: Five candidates for Aintree glory



The Cheltenham Festival is over for another year and all eyes will now turn to Aintree ahead of April’s Grand National meeting. While the Gold Cup may be the most prestigious event on the National Hunt calendar, the Grand National is the most testing; with the best stayers in the business going hell for leather over four miles. Here are five key contenders to keep an eye on ahead of next month’s showpiece race...

The Last Samuri

Kim Bailey has a real diamond on his hands in The Last Samuri, and last year’s runner-up will go close again if he has a safe trip. David Bass was given a dream ride around in 2016 but Rule The World found more in the final two furlongs to claim a memorable win. If The Last Samuri jumps well, he will be there or thereabouts at the business end of the race.


Blaklion is one of Nigel Twiston-Davies’ finest horses in training and his connections will be full of confidence after the ideal preparation for the National. While he finished second to Vieux Lion Rouge in the trial at Haydock last month, the eight-year-old has been jumping impeccably and he will take some beating if he manages to find his best form on the day.


Highland Lodge

An Aintree specialist, Highland Lodge narrowly missed the cut for last year’s race but that won’t be happening again this time around. The 2015 Becher Chase winner came within a short head of defending his crown 12 months on and connections will be hopeful of more luck over the National fences come Grand National day in April. He has the talent but questions remain over whether he will last the trip.

Houblon Des Obeaux

A faller in last year’s Betfred Bowl Chase, Houblon Des Obeaux can make up for that error in another high profile Aintree race next month. According to 888sport, the Venetia Williams-trained mount is 40/1 to win the National and his third in the Welsh version of the race at Chepstow back in December shows that stamina shouldn’t be an issue. Whether he is able to navigate the difficult National fences or not is another question...



One For Arthur

Meanwhile, One For Arthur has been making positive strides behind the scenes and he may end up going off as favourite if Irish punters get behind him. Victory at Warwick last time out supported his claims for Grand National glory and he will appreciate good to soft ground – which is beginning to look like a distinct possibility with the long-term forecast.


All five of these runners are capable of winning, but Highland Lodge’s stamina may concern backers. If you are looking for the most consistent horse in the race, look no further than The Last Samuri but it could be Blaklion’s year.

He has gone from strength to strength since winning at the Cheltenham Festival in 2016 and he might be the one to beat. At a price, Houblon Des Obeaux is also in with a decent chance but jumping could let him down.



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