The_2006_Grand_National

Runner_Preview

** UPDATED DAILY **



Featured Article

A feature which contains a video interview with Medbourne racehorse A Glass in Thyne - A BBC Article by Jessica Rose See Here

Here is the list of the declared runners.
I will be updating this page regularly up to the day before the race.
Note there will finally be a maximum of 40 runners on the day.
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Latest Grand National Odds

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  Royal Auclair 22   P F Nicholls   9   11-12

A really super chaser this who was a fine second in the race last year carrying just 2lbs less than this year. A horse who has a lot of talent, and who this season has been contesting the best races. He will love another crack at the National and although very high in the weights he will put up a good performance again.
Going and Distance: Has won on ground ranging from good to heavy and up to a distance of 3m 2f.
Past Form: A winner of 8 races from 36 starts including 5 chases 3 hurdle.
Recent Form: Started season in the Betfair Chase, he finished 5th. Next came an impressive win in the Mears Group Chase. His next run was in the King George where he was not disgraced with his 9th position. 2nd in the HBLB Cotswold Chase followed this and then his 9th in the gold cup.
Points For: Course, Distance
Points Against: Weight

  Hedgehunter   W P Mullins   10   11-12

Hedgehunter looked very good if tired when he fell in the 2004 Grand National, He improved on that last year by winning the event. Different riding tactics meant that he had the stamina at the end of the race and was a very impressive winner of what looked to be enough weight to be carried around four and a half miles. Hedgehunter is every inch a Grand National horse as he has stamina and also a good cruising speed and is a very good jumper. He has lots going for him in the race but has to improve still more to win this year off top weight of 11st 12lbs. Red Rum was the last horse to win with top weight and that was the year when he also had back to back wins in the race. Red Rum was very much a Grand National specialist but Hedgehunter has run with great credit in other championship races, the most recent being this years Gold Cup where he finished very well in second place to War of Attrition. So there are several of these factors that need to be taken into consideration this year to assess his chances. On the downside is the weight that he has to carry, 11lbs more than last year and that is quite a weight for this marathon and also his fine run in a tough Gold Cup which may have just taken too much out of him. On the plus side he is a former race winner, he is in good form, he is 10 years old and should be at his best. It takes a very good horse to win this race and an exceptional horse to win back to back races but who is to say that this fine champion is not exceptional enough to win. He will be a very popular winner and is not one that you can leave out of any reckoning.
Going and Distance: has won on ground ranging from gd/sft to heavy and up to a distance of 4m4f
Past Form: A winner of 5 races from 31 starts including 4 chases and 1 hurdle
Recent Form: Started the season with a pipe opener in a hurdle race. Then 4th of 5 in the Lexus Chase (Grade 1). Improved next time to finish 2nd in the Hennessy and then again showed improvement to finish 2nd in the Gold Cup
Points For: Has a touch of class, Recent form, Course, Race, Distance
Points Against: Weight, Recent tough race?

  Cornish Rebel   P F Nicholls   9   11-9

A very nice young chaser from the Paul Nicholls yard, Cornish rebel has run well in long distance races before. He was a very good second in the Scottish Grand National last season and was in the lead in the finishing stages only to idle in front and loose the race on the run in. He has run really well this season starting with a fine 3rd in the Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup Chase. He followed that up with a 3rd in the Welsh National where he did not get the good ground he would have preferred. He does hit the occasional fence however and this is what put paid to his run in the Gold Cup where he was running in blinkers for the first time. He finished well down the field but looks as if he was not given a hard race. On good ground this horse would have a strong chance and if everything went his way could win. Looks the type that could take to the Aintree fences which sometimes allow horses to brush through them. He has been allocated a big weight for what he has done so far and looks quite harshly treated, but if on song who knows.
Going and Distance: Has won on ground ranging from good to gd/soft and up to a distance of 3m 2f.
Past Form: A winner of 6 races from 14 starts including 3 chases and 2 hurdles and a NHF.
Recent Form: Has been running in good grade races with a 3rd in the Hennessy a 3rd in the Welsh National and 16th in the Gold Cup.
Points For: Distance.
Points Against: weight.

  Therealbandit 103   M C Pipe   9   11-9

A horse from the powerful Stable of Martin Pipe and owned by one of the biggest supporters of national hunt racing David Johnson. This horse is one of those horses who constantly puts up good performances and as such always finds himself too high in the handicap and having to carry too much weight. 11st 9lbs he has to carry today and that looks a lot over four and a half miles. He is a past winner of the Mears Group Chase (Handicap) (Class B) (class 2) at Cheltenham He has not been seen out since his win in the skybet.com Rowland Meyrick Handicap Chase in December. I do-not know if he has had a problem or has just been rested, but if he takes part you can be sure his trainer will have him spot on for the race.
Going and Distance: Has won on ground ranging from good /firm to soft and up to a distance of 3m 3f. Past Form: A winner of 9 races from 24 starts including 5 chases and 4 hurdles.
Recent Form: Started season in the Paddy Power Gold Cup Chase at Cheltenham but he made a mistake in the race and fell behind. In his next race also at Cheltenham he was unlucky to be caught up in the melee when horses fell and were brought down three from home he stayed on his feet but lost his chance. His final start was the win in December (above)
Points For: Course, Should have improvement to come.
Points Against: Weight

  It Takes Time 49   M C Pipe   12   11-8

This horse should be the best of the Martin Pipe team as his stable jockey Timmy Murphy has chosen to ride the horse. 4th in this race last year and also fourth in the Becher Chase this season he obviously has a liking for the course and fences. He is a good consistent type and this is confirmed by his 11st 8lbs in the race. On past trends it would suggest he is too high in the weights to win but he carried 3lbs more last year. He is a genuine horse who a 12 must be past his best but it would be no surprise to see him running into a place again
Going and Distance: Has won on ground ranging from good to heavy and up to a distance of 3m 2f Past Form: A winner of 11 races from 33 starts including 6 chases and 3 hurdle and 2 NHF.
Recent Form: Started season with the fine 4th in the totesport Becher Handicap Chase over these fences. Next came the Mears Group Chase where he finished last. His next race was a much better performance in the Ascot totesport Chase Grade 1 (class 1) where he finished 4th.
Points For: Distance, Course
Points Against: Age, Weight

  Le Roi Miguel 23   P F Nicholls   8   11-7

Another from the Paul Nicholls yard, a fine chaser who has a fourth place in the King George under his belt. He looks to have been laid out for this race this season as he has run in a few hurdle races. He has plenty of weight and looks to have it all to do here but at 8 he is still improving and has run at this course many times if not over these fences. He is a past impressive winner of the Peterborough Chase, but he has not won over a distance of more than 2m5f which is a concern
Going and Distance: Has won on ground ranging from good to soft and up to a distance of 2m 6f. Past Form: A winner of 4 races from 26 starts including 3 chases and 1 hurdle.
Recent Form: Form figures of 5 7 7 13
Points For: Course
Points Against: Weight, Distance

  Ollie Magern 22   N A Twiston-Davies   8   11-6 ****** NON-RUNNER ********

Riding this fine horse will be Carl Llewellyn trying to win the race for the third time. This is a fine young horse who ran a good 2nd in the Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup Chase. This proves that he has a bit of class about him. A winner of the Charlie Hall Chase in his first outing this season, however his form went astray for a few runs and although he finished 17th in the Gold cup he did run well for quite a time before making a mistake and dropping back. If he is at his best he could run into a place.
Going and Distance: Has won on ground ranging from good/firm to soft and up to a distance of 3m 2f. Past Form: A winner of 11 races from 30 starts including 6 chases and 5 hurdles.
Recent Form: Started season winning the Charlie Hall Chase then put in form figures of 7 of 7, 6 of 9 and 4 of 5 before his run in the Gold Cup
Points For: Still Improving
Points Against: Weight

  Eurotrek 49   P F Nicholls   10   11-4 ****** NON-RUNNER ********

A 10 year old horse with very few miles on the clock. With only 10 runs it is difficult to access his chances however it is true to say that two of his best performances have been this season. The first in the Powersolve Electronics Greatwood Charity Handicap Chase at Newbury over 3m2f+ where he was an easy 25 length winner. The second was in the Totesport Classic Chase over 3m5f where he was a 15 length winner. He really could be anything at all but the way he won these races show that he is a good horse. This could be a real dark horse
Going and Distance: Has won on ground ranging from good / soft to soft and up to a distance of 3m5f Past Form: A winner of 4 races from 10 starts including 3 chases and 1 hurdle.
Recent Form: Started with 4th in a chase after making a bad mistake in the race, then followed his two wins listed above. Last run of the season he was pulled up after not starting well in the Red Square Vodka Gold Cup Chase
Points For: Distance
Points Against: Short of experience, weight

  Sir Rembrandt 22   R H Alner   10   11-1 ****** NON-RUNNER ********

A real good long distance chaser. Sir Rembrandt in putting up good performances has just been unable to get ahead of his high handicap mark. A winner of the John Hughes trophy at Chepstow in December 2003 where he had the Grand National Winner Bindaree behind. This was a fine performance but unfortunately was his last win, however as I stated above he has run some great races including 2nd behind Bindaree in the 2003 Welsh national, 2nd in the Gold Cup 2004 behind Best mate, 2nd in the Charlie hall Chase 2004, 2nd in the Tommy Whittle Chase 2004, 3rd in the 2005 Gold Cup, 2nd in the Totesport in 2006 and 7th in this years Gold Cup. I take time to tell you about these runs because this horse could just be running into a little form and the long distance of the National may help him. He is still only 10 years old and to my mind still may be a little high in the handicap but he could be in the shake up
Going and Distance: has won on ground ranging from good to soft and up to a distance of 3m 2f.
Past Form: A winner of 4 races from 27 starts including 3 chases and 1 hurdle.
Recent Form: Started the season with two pulled ups and followed that with a fall in the Welsh National. He then seemed to get his act together with a fine performance in the Totesport Classic Chase (A Handicap) Grade 3 (class 1) over 3m5f. His next race was in the Red Square Vodka Gold Cup Chase where he was third having to give the first two lots of weight. His most recent outing was a good enough 7th in the Gold Cup.
Points For: Coming into form. Distance
Points Against: Has not won since December 2003

  Native Upmanship 55   A L T Moore   13   11-0

Irish raider trying the Grand National for the first time at 13. The last 13 year old to win the race was in 1923. He is a good hose who I guess is taking his chance because of his fine performance in the LEOPARDSTOWN Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup where he was 3rd behind Beef or Salmon and Hedgehunter. He has never won beyond 2m4f and he would be a surprise winner.
Going and Distance: Has won on ground ranging from good to heavy and up to a distance of 2m 4f. Past Form: A winner of 16 races from 50 starts
Recent Form: Form figures of 11,4,7,2,5 and 3
Points For: Good last run
Points Against: Weight, age

  Ground Ball 22   C F Swan   9   10-13 ****** NON-RUNNER ********

A young two and a half mile horse trying the marathon for the first time. A nice horse with good form at shorter distances and looks to have it all to do here today to take part in the finish. Only guide would be a significant move in the betting market.
Going and Distance: Has won on ground ranging from good to heavy and up to a distance of 2m 4f. Past Form: A winner of 8 races from 33 starts
Recent Form: Form figures of 1,10,4,4,3 and 6
Points For: Untried at distance and improving
Points Against: weight, distance

  Innox   F Doumen   10   10-13

Another fancied horse from overseas this time from France. Innox ran with great credit in this race last year to finish 7th. He was going very well for most of the race and only got tired towards the end. It could have been that he did not see out the distance and this would be a concern. He is s fine racehorse who runs well on park courses like this and has shown a liking for Sandown park in this country. He has had a good season putting his unlucky Cheltenham streak behind him winning at the course in November in the Servo Computer Services Trophy Handicap Chase (Class A) Grade 3 over 3m3f+ and his last run was also a win at his favorite Sandown in February when he won the Racing Post Chase (Handicap) Grade 3 (class 1) over 3m �. At 10 he should be at his peak and is running into form He would not be a surprise winner by any means.
Going and Distance: has won on ground ranging from good to very soft and up to a distance of 3m 4f.
Past Form: A winner of 5 races from 42 starts all wins in chases.
Recent Form: Three runs this season the first at ENGHIEN followed by the Cheltenham and Sandown wins.
Points For: Recent form. Weight. Course
Points Against: Distance?

  Silver Birch 42   P F Nicholls   9   10-12

A really good long distance chaser who's career has been hampered by health problems and he had to take a year off. He seems to be out of sorts at the moment and will need to regain the sort of form that saw his impressive win of the Welsh National in 2004 When this horse is on song he likes to front run or be up with the leaders an oozes class in running. If he finds his best form he will be in with a good shout of winning this race. If he has another of his bad days then who knows? I hope that the stable has found out what was the problem in his last two runs and that he is at his best for the race.
Going and Distance: Has won on ground ranging from soft to heavy and up to a distance of 3m6f Past Form: A winner of 6 races from 15 starts including 4 chases and 2 hurdles.
Recent Form: A good hurdle run after a long lay off started his season but then came his two disappointing runs at Wincanton and Chepstow.
Points For: Class, Distance
Points Against: Poor recent form

  Whispered Secret 23   M C Pipe   7   10-12

A 7 year old, two and a half mile horse, with 10st 12lbs to carry. The last 7 year old winner was 1940. He looks to have it all to do here to finish in the frame unless the ground turns up firm as he loves firm ground. Past Form: A winner of 7 races from 22 starts
Recent Form: Form figures of 3,1,1,2,1,4 and 10
Points For: Untried at distance and improving
Points Against: weight, distance

Rince Ri 42 T M Walsh 13 10-12

A 13 year old trying the race Rince RI is a good class horse. A winner of the Bobby Jo chase and also the Ericsson chase. He is a class act but must be past his best now. His trainer has won the race before and therefore knows what is needed but the horse has a lot to do to win here.
Going and Distance: Has won on ground ranging from good to heavy and up to a distance of 3m 2f. Past Form: A winner of 12 races from 42 starts
Recent Form: Form figures of 13,4,5,10 and 4
Points For: Distance
Points Against: Age

Puntal 484 M C Pipe 10 10-12

Can this horse be only 10? Seems he has been around forever. A good horse who ran in this race in 2004 but unseated his rider. He has not been seen out since December 2004. It would be some achievement for him to finish the race.
At his best would have place claims.
Going and Distance: Has won on ground ranging from good to good/soft and up to a distance of 3m 6f. Past Form: A winner of 11 races from 36 starts
Recent Form: None
Points For: Distance
Points Against: Has been off course a long time , course

  Lord Of Illusion 22   T R George   9   10-11

Ran well for a long time in the Gold Cup before loosing place and finishing well down the field. A nine year old who has finished in the frame on 11 of his 18 starts so he is consistent but has been found wanting in the higher class races. He is certainly a long distance chaser who looks a little high in the handicap on is past for but he should have some improvement to come.
Going and Distance: has won on ground ranging from good/firm to soft and up to a distance of 3m 3f.
Past Form: A winner of 6 races from 18 starts including 5 chases and 1 hurdle.
Recent Form: Pulled up first time out in a hurdle but then was in the Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup Chase and finished 12. He then put up a good performance at Cheltenham to finish 2nd in a 3m2f+ race. Most recent outing was 18th in the Gold Cup.
Points For: Should be improving.
Points Against: Weight

  Ebony Light 49   D McCain   10   10-10

A real good handicap horse who seems to be running into form at the right time. His best every win was his last but one run at Haydock in the Peter Marsh Chase (A Limited Handicap) Grade 2 (class 1) where he came out a good winner. In the main he has been running below the class of this race but he does seem to relish long distances and also soft ground. He comes from the yard of four times winner Ginger McCain. He is a consistent sort but when tried over these fences in the Sefton chase he made many mistakes and finished well down the field. He would have to improve to win this.
Going and Distance: Has won on ground ranging from good / to heavy and up to a distance of 3m6f Past Form: A winner of 8 races from 41 starts including 7 chases and 1 hurdle.
Recent Form: Started season winning the totescoop6 Handicap Chase (Class D) (class 3) over 3m+. he then was 4th and 9th in two handicap chases before going on to win the Tilston Handicap Chase (Class D) (class 3) he fell next time out but put up a good performance in the Peter marsh (Above). Final run was at Haydock in the Red Square Vodka Gold Cup Chase (Handicap) Grade 3 where he finished 8th
Points For: Distance
Points Against: course

  First Gold 49   F Doumen   13   10-10

A French raider this horse is a really good class horse. However he does come here at the age of 13. He comes from a first class training establishment and has a good reputation but his recent form is poor and he looks to have plenty on his plate here.
Going and Distance: Has won on ground ranging from good to heavy and up to a distance of 3m 4f. Past Form: A winner of 11 races from 43 starts
Recent Form: Form figures of PU UR PU
Points For: Has class.
Points Against: Age, poor recent form

  Clan Royal   Jonjo O�Neill   11   10-10

There is a lot to like about this fine racehorse. He ran a brilliant race in 2004 when he finished second in a season when his stable had been under the weather for a long time. Last year when strongly fancied for the race he was interfered with by a loose horse on the second circuit when going well within himself and leading on the second circuit. Has been anti-post favorite for some time now and looks a very strong prospect of what looks like a good racing weight. He is a previous course winner. He won the 2003 Becher chase over these fences. He would seem to have everything in his favor this year and he has been trained with this race in mind and should be spot on for the race as he has been kept ticking over by his connections in minor races all season. Clan Royal is a worthy favorite and should go very close and with a little luck could well win, even if at very short odds.
Going and Distance: has won on ground ranging from gd/fm to heavy and up to a distance of 3m
Past Form: A winner of 8 races from 25 starts including 6 chases and 2 hurdles.
Recent Form: Has been running in hurdle races finishing 5th 3rd and most recently 1st.
Points For: Has a touch of class, Recent form, Course, Distance, Weight.
Points Against: None

  Le Duc 97   P F Nicholls   7   10-10

A fine chaser with form over these fences. He was second in this years Becher chase only � of a length behind Garvivonnian . A French import he has run well in most of his races even though he does not have a great strike rate. He comes from the powerful Paul Nicholls stable and anything they send out should be respected. One of the few with Good to Firm form.
Going and Distance: Has won on ground ranging from Good / Firm to Good / Soft Past Form: A winner of 4 races from 32 starts including 3 chases and 1 hurdle.
Recent Form: Started season in a hurdle race at Chepstow, then came his fine second in the Becher Chase. Only one more run and new year's day when he unseated his rider
Points For: weight. course
Points Against: Fell last time out?

  Sir Oj 23   Noel Meade   9   10-10

A two and a half mile chaser trying the marathon distance for the first time having never run beyond 2m6f before. A good novice chaser who has just taken a little time to run into form but is showing good now just at the right time, despite a fall last time out he had two wins before that.
Going and Distance: Has won on ground ranging from Soft to heavy and up to a distance of 2m 6f.
Past Form: A winner of 8 races from 19 starts including 5 chases and 2 hurdles and a NHF.
Recent Form: Started season with 4th and 5th places and then two wins on the bounce at Cheltenham and Naas before falling on more recent run.
Points For: weight
Points Against: Distance.

  Forest Gunner 103   R Ford   12   10-10

5th in this race last year and that was a gallant effort from this horse His run was a little overshadowed by the fact that he had a female jockey but the partnership obviously did really well. He is also a past winner of the foxhunters here and the Grand Sefton. He is obviously a really hood chaser. He has had a stinker of a season so far. He unseated his rider in the Becher chase and has been pulled up twice since. He has not been out since December so you will have to take his fitness for granted if he starts. He loves this course but at 12 we have probably seen his best already.
Going and Distance: Has won on ground ranging from good to soft and up to a distance of 3m 5f. Past Form: A winner of 8 races from 23 starts including 5 chases and 3 hurdles.
Recent Form: Form Figures of UR, PU and PU this season
Points For: Course, Fences, Distance
Points Against: Age, recent form,

  Joes Edge 22   Ferdy Murphy   9   10-10

Decent long distance chaser this who finished last season on a high when winning the Scottish Grand National, this followed a fine win at this meeting in the John Smith's Novices' Handicap Chase. He is a horse that needs good ground to show his best so a mud bath would restrict his chances.
Going and Distance: has won on ground ranging from Good to soft and up to a distance of 4m 1f.
Past Form: A winner of 6 races from 18 starts including 3 chases and 2 hurdles and a NHF.
Recent Form: In his first run in the Charlie Hall he unseated his rider. His next run was in the Hennessy and he finished 11th of 19. His next run in the Mears Group Chase (Handicap) (Class A) (Listed Race) at Cheltenham where he finished 4th behind Royal Auclair getting 11lbs from the winner. He was well beaten into fourth place in the skybet.com Rowland Meyrick Handicap Chase. His last run was in The Gold Cup where he finished down the field in 13th place.
Points For: Distance
Points Against: None

  Juveigneur 25   N J Henderson   9   10-9

*** NON_RUNNER**** A French import to the Nicky Henderson yard this horse has some mixed form. He has run well at Sandown and Cheltenham but on his to visits to this course he has done badly finishing 13th in the John Smith's And Spar Topham Chase last season and falling at the first fence in the Becher chase this season. He is a decent sort of horse who with some luck in running could just be s bit of a dark horse
Going and Distance: has won on ground ranging from Good to soft and up to a distance of 3m 1f.
Past Form: A winner of 6 races from 18 starts including 3 chases and 2 hurdles and a NHF.
Recent Form: First run of the season was when he fell at the first fence in the Becher chase. He was disappointing when pulled up at Uttoxeter in his next but showed great improvement at the festival at Cheltenham when he was 2nd to Dun Doire in the William Hill Trophy Handicap Chase Grade 3
Points For: Should have improvement to come, Distance
Points Against: Course

  Amberleigh House 19   D McCain   14   10-9

A fine horse who of course is a past winner of this race. He performs at his best at this course. He was 10th in this race last year and that was a good performance. He also put up a reasonable show in the Becher chase earlier in the Season. He has 10st 9lbs to carry today but given that he is 14 he is unlikely to win this event today or to take any part in the finish although he is almost certain to relish the race and will finish.
Going and Distance: Has won on ground ranging from good to heavy and up to a distance of 4m 4f. Past Form: A winner of 9 races from 70 starts including 6 chases and 2 hurdles.
Recent Form: Form figure of pu,5,7,7 and 13 this season
Points For: Course, Fences, Distance
Points Against: Age

  Ballycassidy 22   P Bowen   10   10-9

A real good chasing type this horse hid not have a good race last year, He was slow getting into the running and UR at the second fence.
His most recent run was in the Gold Cup where he finished 14th and was never really in with a chance. That said he has good bits of form with his best being a wide margin win in the 2005 ggbet.com Betting Exchange Handicap Chase. 10 years old now so he should be at his best. He has a good strike rate. Not without a chance to make the frame but would have to improve on what he has done so far.
Going and Distance: has won on ground ranging from good to soft and up to a distance of 3m 5f.
Past Form: A winner of 13 races from 42 starts including 8 chases and 5 hurdles.
Recent Form: Six runs with form figures of 10,5,7,3,5 and 14th in Gold Cup
Points For: weight
Points Against: Course

  Inca Trail 29   P F Nicholls   10   10-9

A quirky individual who runs in blinkers. He has some good form but can be a very difficult ride to get right as he has to be produced late. This is not so good for this race. He has run well in amateurs events carrying big weights over a distance so if he is on song he could give a good performance today. He has just moved trainers and is now with Ginger McCain. First time runs for new trainers can rejuvenate horses.
Looks to have too much to be taken on trust for this race.
Going and Distance: Has won on ground ranging from good to soft and up to a distance of 3m 4f. Past Form: A winner of 9 races from 25 starts including 6chases 2 hurdles and a NHF.
Recent Form: Figures of 5,6,1,5,1,1
Points For: good strike rate
Points Against: Temperament

  Garvivonnian 42   Edward P Mitchell   11   10-8

Irish raider who has won at this course over these fences on what was his only run in this country. He won the Becher chase. He was entered in last years National but was eliminated. He will qualify this year as he is currently number 35. He has run 86 times in his career so as you can see he has not had much rest in his 11 years. Taking ALL his past form into account he looks a little below Grand National class but as his win in the Becher shows, this course can suit horses and horse that take a liking to the fences and they can run well above their bare form.
Going and Distance: has won on ground ranging from good/soft to heavy and up to a distance of 3m 4f.
Past Form: A winner of 11 races from 86 starts including 5 chases and 6 hurdles.
Recent Form: Started season with two hurdle races then was 6th in the Munster National, This was followed with a win in the Becher Chase. He then had a break and came back in a 2m6f race and finished 3rd. Most recent run in the Bobby Jo Chase say him a good second.
Points For: Coming into form. Distance, Course
Points Against: Plenty of miles on the clock

  Numbersixvalverde   Martin Brassil   10   10-8

A fancied Irish raider this horse has done all his racing in Ireland. A winner of the Irish Grand National Chase last season, this puts him in good stead for this race. He is a horse who loves soft ground and excels in the mud. Unless the going turns out to be firm'ish then he has to be respected and the betting market should be watched. He is already a low price at the time of writing but any significant movement in the market for him would be a bonus and the last three Irish winners were all well backed on the day. He is another who has been laid out this season with this race in mind and with a good racing weight must be respected
Going and Distance: has won on ground ranging from soft to heavy and up to a distance of 3m 5f.
Past Form: A winner of 4 races from 31 starts including 3 chases and 1 hurdles.
Recent Form: Started season in a hurdle race and then went to the Paddy Power Chase where he was unlucky to be brought down. He was then 4th in the Pierse Leopardstown Handicap Chase (Grade A) where he carried top weight. Two hurdle races since with this race in mind, finishing 4th and 3rd.
Points For: Distance, Weight.
Points Against: None unless ground is not gd/sft or softer.

  Iznogoud 22   M C Pipe   10   10-8

A nice horse from the Martin Pipe stable. He stayed on into 12th position in this race last year but never looked like challenging the leaders. He has a pound less to carry this year but has not had a very good season. This looks a big ask for him especially as he has not won at a distance further than 2m5f
Going and Distance: has won on ground ranging from good to heavy and up to a distance of 2m 5f.
Past Form: A winner of 4 races from 28 starts including 3 chases and 1 hurdle.
Recent Form: Two runs this year 11th in the Vodafone Gold Cup Handicap Chase and 15th in the Gold Cup.
Points For: Course
Points Against: Distance

42   Jack High 22   T M Walsh   11   10-7

Another Irish raider who comes from the yard of Ted Walsh. This fine horse was second in the Irish National last season and looked as if he would be the winner until he just got caught on the run in by Numbersixvalverde. After that race he went on to win the Betfred Gold Cup Chase at Sandown. Last season he came to hand well at this time of year and this year he looks to be doing the same as he won, if a little luckily last time out. (The leader was 10 lengths ahead when he fell), however he did have the smart Nil Desperandum behind him. Obviously well thought of by his connections and is from a stable that won the National in 2000. Should go well and has a low weight, he is one to watch in the market as the stables 2000 winner Papillon had significant support on the day.
Going and Distance: has won on ground ranging from good to heavy and up to a distance of 3m 6f.
Past Form: A winner of 8 races from 37 starts including 4 chases and 3 hurdles and a NHF
Recent Form: Started the season as many do in a hurdle race, Then went to Cheltenham in November and finished well down the field. Another hurdle followed this then came a run in the Lexus Chase (Grade 1) he finished in last place but this race was not a handicap and he had to carry the same weight as the others including Beef or Salmon, Gold Cup winner War of Attrition and Hedgehunter, who he now gets a stone and a half off.
Points For: Coming into form, good jumper
Points Against: None

  Haut De Gamme 49   Ferdy Murphy   11   10-7

A French import this horse in the Ferdy Murphy yard. He seems to be a bit of a two and a half miler and he has only run once in this country over three miles. That was in the 2004 sporting index chase where he did well and finished a good fourth. He was tried at the national fences on two occasions once in the Topham chase where he finished a good second (at this meeting last year) and once again in the Becher chase where he finished fourth. This was over 3m3f and seemed only just to see out the trip so it is strange that he is being tried over this marathon. There is nothing to suggest that he will get this trip but he does like the course and the fences so until he has failed at this distance it is difficult to know for sure. He would have to improve on his runs so far to be in with a chance of this race.
Going and Distance: Has won on ground ranging from good / soft to heavy and up to a distance of 2m7f Past Form: A winner of 11 races from 57 starts including 8 chases and 3 hurdles.
Recent Form: Started with a hurdle race then his 5th in the Becher chase. Three hurdles followed this and lastly he was 5th in the Singer & Friedlander over 2m6f
Points For: Course
Points Against: Distance

  Nil Desperandum 22   Ms F M Crowley   9   10-7

Stayed on to finish 6th in last years race and looks to be coming into form at the right time. A past winner of the Pierse Group Drinmore Novice Chase (Grade 1) over 2m6f. He has done most of his running and all of his winning so far in Ireland. He can act on good ground which may be an advantage unless we get some significant rain. He is set to carry 4lbs less than he did in the race last year but he would have to improve to get closer to the frame.
Going and Distance: Has won on ground ranging from good to heavy and up to a distance of 3m 2f. Past Form: A winner of 7 races from 24 starts including 3 chases and 3 hurdles and a NHF.
Recent Form: Started season with two runs before the Becher Chase where he finished 9th over these fences. He was pulled up next time out at Cheltenham in December but has had two good runs since a 4th in the LEOPARDSTOWN Hennessy and then 2nd in the Tennent's No.1 Chase at Down Royal.
Points For: Course, Should have improvement to come.
Points Against: None

  Baron Windrush 21   N A Twiston-Davies   8   10-7

A good young chaser who has won at this course. A past winner of the totesport Classic Chase over 3m5f and also a winner of the Red Square Vodka Amberleigh House Novices' Chase at this course. He has been below par this season with two pulled ups. If at his best he could give a good account. He is only 8 and perhaps will have future chances at this race.
Going and Distance: has won on ground ranging from good to soft and up to a distance of 3m 5f.
Past Form: A winner of 5 races from 16 starts including 3 chases and 2 hurdles.
Recent Form: Three runs this year two PU with a 4th in the totesport Eider in between.
Points For: Course
Points Against: Distance

  Heros Collonges 32   P F Nicholls   11   10-7

8th last year and ran really well for most of the race before fading in the final stages. He is from the powerful stable of Paul Nicholls. He is a horse that had to take three years off and therefore is lightly raced but he is a horse with talent. He was second in this seasons Welsh National where he put up a good performance. He has s good strike rate, likes long distances and likes Aintree fences. This horse looks too big a price for me and could be one of the dark horses. Likely to run into a place off a good weight. Who knows could this be the winner?
Going and Distance: Has won on ground ranging from good to soft and up to a distance of 3m 2f. Past Form: A winner of 5 races from 13 starts all chases.
Recent Form: Started season 6th in the Becher over these fences. Next came his fine second in the Welsh National. Finial outing last month was a hurdle race in preparation for this event.
Points For: Course, Fences, Distance, weight
Points Against: None

  Tyneandthyneagain 49   J Howard Johnson   11   10-7

A fine long distance chaser, this horse won the Tote Eider Chase Showcase Handicap over a distance of 4m1f and he carried 11st 12lbs. Even Given that there is a further three furlongs in this race his 10st 7lbs looks a good weight for the horse. He loves soft ground and the trainer has said that the horse will only run if the ground is soft. With the rain forecast that should be no problem. He would have to improve on what he has done so far to win this race, but at leads he should be staying on at the end as long as he takes to the fences.
Going and Distance: Has won on ground ranging from good to heavy and up to a distance of 4m 1f. Past Form: A winner of 6 races from 27 starts including 2 chases and 4 hurdles.
Recent Form: Started season in a hurdle race and only other run was in the Red Square Vodka Gold Cup Chase where he finished 4th.
Points For: Distance, weight
Points Against: None

  Risk Accessor 24   Jonjo O�Neill   11   10-6

A two and a half mile horse trying this race for the third time after unseating his rider on both other runs in the race. Dis not get past 6th fence on both occasions. Will be a very surprise winner.
Going and Distance: Has won on ground ranging from good to heavy and up to a distance of 2m 4f. Past Form: A winner of 8 races from 47 starts including 4 chases and 4 hurdles.
Recent Form: Form figures this season PU,6,2,SU,RO and 5
Points For: weight
Points Against: Distance,

  Direct Access 133   N G Richards   11   10-6

A nice chaser this who's form is very in and out. He was strongly fancied for the Becher chase this season but fell at the first fence. That said when he does get his act together he really does well. He runs well when fresh and looks to have been laid out for this race and he has a good racing weight for this. He is not a young horse but has a good strike rate if in races below this. This year will see his best chance at winning the National. I feel he will have to have things go his way but could be another of the dark horses.
Going and Distance: Has won on ground ranging from Good to heavy and up to a distance of 3m 1f.
Past Form: A winner of 9 races from 19 starts including 5 chases and 4 hurdles.
Recent Form: Two runs this year started with the disappointing fall in the Becher, only other run was a win in the Pagebet Rehearsal Chase (A Handicap) (Class A) at Newcastle back in November.
Points For: weight
Points Against: Course?

  Colnel Rayburn 41   Paul Nolan   10   10-6

A nice long distance chaser who does most of his running in Ireland. He ran in the 2004 Irish national but fell on that occasion. He ran in this race last year and was pulled up at the 27th fence after being hampered. That does not take away from the fact that he ran a cracker of a race last year and a repeat of that form could see him go well. From his runs he it looks as if he had this race in his sights all year. Soft ground would be a help
Going and Distance: Has won on ground ranging from good / soft to heavy and up to a distance of 3m Past Form: A winner of 6 races from 29 starts including 2 chases and 2 hurdles and a NHF.
Recent Form: Started season in a hurdle then contested a chase at Gowran where he was 4th to Dun Doire. Final start 5th to Sir OJ over 2miles
Points For: Distance
Points Against: Course,

  Iris Royal 49   N J Henderson   10   10-6

Iris Royal has just made the cup. He is a good horse who started the season win three wins on the bounce in the Daytona Sandown Park Handicap Chase (Sandown), First National Gold Cup Chase (ascot), Tripleprint Gold Cup Showcase Handicap Chase (Cheltenham) all races at 2m4f or shorter and this would seem to be his most effective trip. He has won at three miles but seems better at the shorter trips. A nice enough performer but others take the fancy more here today
Going and Distance: Has won on ground ranging from good/firm to soft and up to a distance of 3m 0f. Past Form: A winner of 9 races from 30 starts including 5 chases and 4 hurdles.
Recent Form: Form figures this season 1,1,1,PU,2,6,7,F and 5
Points For: weight
Points Against: Distance,

  Ross Comm 14   Mrs S J Smith   10   10-5

A nice chaser who has done nothing but improve since he moved trainers from Ireland to Sue Smiths yard. He fell in the Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup Chase when well in touch but this was out of character as he jumps well in the main and seems to travel well in his races. He has been running at some of the minor tracks but don't let that put you off over this trip and course he could just put up the performance of his life. He would not be an unworthy, or a surprise winner by any means as he looks the National Type.
Going and Distance: Has won on ground ranging from good/firm to heavy and up to a distance of 3m 2f. Past Form: A winner of 7 races from 24 starts including 6 chases and 1 hurdle.
Recent Form: Form figures this season 1,4,1,1,f,3 and 1
Points For: weight, Distance
Points Against: None

  Shotgun Willy 385   R C Guest   12   10-5

Started the race as a hot 7/1 favorite for this race in 2003, he never really got going that day but a few weeks later was run in the Scottish National. He ran much better in that to finish 5th giving over a stone to all other runners. He was then off the course for 18 months. His comeback was in the 2004 Welsh National where he ran okay given the long absence but then followed that in 2005 with two pulled ups one in the midlands National. This is his first run for over a year it would be a result for connections if he just finished the race.
Going and Distance: Has won on ground ranging from good to heavy and up to a distance of 3m 5f. Past Form: A winner of 8 races from 21 starts including 4 chases and 4 hurdle.
Recent Form: Has not run for 385 Days
Points For: weight
Points Against: , Distance, Course, Age

  Just In Debt 25   M Todhunter   10   10-4

A good horse trying the national for the third time. He has lots of form at this course over these fences. In 2004 he tried the National a the 23rd fence, he following season saw him put up a good 2nd in the Becher Chase and then go on to finish 9th in the National He then came back for the Becher Chase this season and finished third. He is not a prolific winner but does run his heart out in races.
Going and Distance: Has won on ground ranging from good/firm to soft and up to a distance of 3m 1f. Past Form: A winner of 4 races from 35 starts including 3 chases and 1 hurdle.
Recent Form: Form figures this season 7,PU,3,6 and 10
Points For: weight, Distance
Points Against: None

Reserves

  Lord Atterbury 35   M C Pipe   10   10-4
  Knife Edge 18   Jonjo O�Neill   11   10-2
  Philson Run 21   Nick Williams   10   10-1
  Montayral 139   P Hughes   9   10-1


My usual notes for beginners , A guide to the handicap system :-

I will take some time to explain some of the details of the race for people who may not be familiar with the race details. The main thing to consider in this race is that it is a ' limited handicap '. Every horse that has run four times gets an official rating from the official handicapper, And when running in handicap races the weight the horse has to carry is related to his handicap rating. The best horse (the one with the highest rating) has to carry more weight than the poorer (Lower rating) horses. The idea behind this is that a horse who has more weight will find it harder to beat the poorer horses. However in a Limited handicap the Bottom weight to be carried is allotted and in the Grand National it is 10 stone,


So what will win?
Please don't be put off by having a bet on the race based on jockeys colours or horse name or date of birth or favorite number all these factors may have found winners in the past but the national is often called a lottery and in some years past that has been the case but changes to the handicap means that the race is now a proper handicap. Form is now more important than ever but remember Aintree is a unique course and a horse that likes the course will run above his average form and a horse that hates the course will do the opposite. Of course this is only useful if the horse has tried the fences before.


I do not put my selections on this page and usually keep them to myself but this year as there has been so little feedback on the guest book I have decided to put my thoughts there so if you would like to take a look click here.


Oh yes one more thing GOOD LUCK you and I are sure to need some .

Call back after the race for a full review of the day.






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