Top tipster Dave Nevison reveals the trio he will be cheering for at Aintree on Saturday. Watch the big race live on Racing TV at 5.15pm.
It is not just blind loyalty that I am sticking with this horse. I believe he has the best chance he has had in this race on his third attempt after two previous bold shows.
I have collected place money on both occasions I have had a good bet on him in the race. The first time, in 2018, he went incredibly wide throughout under Barry Geraghty but was a good fourth. Twelve months later he kept on to be fifth, where it looked as though a quick turnaround from an excellent effort in the Gold Cup might have left a mark.
After two placed efforts in the Gold Cup, that race was removed from his agenda this season. Instead, his campaign seems to have revolved around trying to win this biggest of handicaps.
Given that he hasn’t really been sighted in a few chase runs recently, the handicapper has been forced to reduce his mark by 9lb and as a consequence he is definitely attractively handicapped.
He may not be the force he once was, but it is interesting to me that on his final start last season before the abandoned National he ran an absolute cracking race in a handicap hurdle over 2½ miles off a mark of 142, suggesting he was primed to run another good race.
He has only had one run, over fences, since then and finished last but he ran well for a long way. As a backer, I am happy to trust that his excellent trainer will have done his best to get him spot-on for this what could be his final realistic chance of winning a Grand National at age 11.
BetVictor and Unibet offer 33-1 and, for each-way purposes, six places.
Running in hurdle races or Cross Country events before going for Grand National glory has become quite a standard form of preparation and it is no surprise to see Christian Williams take that route with Potters Corner, who is also equipped with first-time blinkers.
Williams is fast becoming recognised as a major tactician and I have no doubt he has planned this approach to Aintree immediately after Potters Corner landed him the Welsh National last season. That was the second National he has won having won the Midlands version in 2019, so it is clear that he excels in these big-field stamina tests.
He finished third over the Cross Country fences at Cheltenham in November, which gave him a good experience of different types of obstacles. He was dropped a couple of pounds in weights, which seemed unnecessarily generous. Subsequent runs over hurdles have surely just been to keep him ticking over. He was also campaigned over hurdles before his Midlands National win.
Jack Tudor has ridden him to success, under a claim, in both his National wins and rightly keeps the ride. BoyleSports offer 25-1 and seven places.
Looks as obvious to me as Grittar and Rough Quest did before their respective Grand National triumphs.
I am by no means discounting that he can become the second short-priced favourite on the spin to win the greatest race after Tiger Roll delivered two years ago.
He was sight to behold in the Ladbrokes Trophy in November, leading just about throughout and jumping brilliantly to win most impressively. This has obviously been the target since that race and his subsequent fine win at Kelso came after the weights had been framed.
Cloth cap was equally impressive in giving 4lb and a beating to Aso, with others who take him on here further back. His owner and trainer have pedigree in this race and Cloth Cap does look a blot on the handicap.
He will be up there at the front, out of trouble, and still carries a very low weight over a trip he is pretty much proven over. It will take a seriously good performance to beat the general 4-1 favourite.
DAVE'S BEST BETS IN THE SUPPORTING RACES
1.45 Aintree: Split your stakes on Kid Commando and Come On Teddy
After a spectacular start to the season Anthony Honeyball’s team came off that peak form in mid-winter but they are definitely back in the groove now and hopefully Kid Commando can demonstrate that trajectory.
He certainly improved on a couple of disappointing runs last time when fifth at Ascot in what was his first attempt beyond the minimum. He is bred to get long distances and it is his keen-going attitude that has probably kept him at shorter. But in this big field he should settle easier and, if so, it could bring considerable improvement out of him.
Come On Teddy will probably be favourite after his excellent effort at the Cheltenham Festival last time. He has only been raised 3lb for that run, which looks generous, and he has been on an upward curve all season. Jonathon Burke is back on board and gets on well with a horse who is clearly well suited by coming late off a fast pace. That seems guaranteed here.
4.15 Aintree: Fagan
Has been raised 10lb for his comfortable Newbury success last time out. That may seem a bit harsh but it is not too long ago that he was rated a bit higher over fences and it may well be that he has taken time to adjust to his new regime after being a useful hurdler for Gordon Elliott.
His upwardly mobile trainer has made a big impression this season and had a big-priced third in the Aintree Hurdle on Thursday.
This horse was runner up in the Albert Bartlett in his day and hustled up Black Corton in a novice chase. He does not have many miles on the clock for a horse his age and, aftre missing the cut for the Grand National, can make up for lost time here.
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