Racing tipster Adam Vowles provides Crunchsports.com readers with a 25/1 Grand National tip for this afternoon's Aintree showpiece...
Everyone has always wanted a piece of the National, the most well known race on the Calendar. Bigger than the Gold Cup, bigger than the Derby, broadcast live on terrestrial television since 1960 with 70,000 expected at Aintree and an estimated 600,000,000 viewers around the globe it truly is The Peoples' Race.
Everybody knows somebody who remembers the year THEY won the National and the hyperbole reaches fever pitch. Favourite football team's colours, names, numbers - anything goes.
The form of 2017's market principles is particularly strong. Since coming a remote seventh in last year's event VIEUX LION ROUGE has won both his starts this campaign, getting up on the line to win the Becher Chase over this course in December and following up to land the National Trial at Haydock in February. He was always holding BLAKLION that day who appreciated the longer trip after contesting some decent Handicaps in the autumn after previously showing the mix of speed and stamina to win the RSA Chase at Cheltenham in 2016.
Blaklion (Photo by Getty Images)
DEFINITLY RED has won two high class handicaps this season, the Rowland Meyrick at Christmas and the Grimthorpe at the start of March where he raced handily and enjoyed the step up in trip looking comfortable 3 fences from home. Now officially 10lbs well in on the ratings he has a great chance on what he showed last time but he was unseated when racing off the pace in the Peter Marsh Chase at Haydock two starts ago.
Another who is officially well in is TENOR NIVERNAIS who goes for the 2009 winning partnership of Venetia Williams and Liam Treadwell. The 10 year old has been consistent in this grade for 3 seasons and showed what he is capable of, blitzing the field when handily ridden at Ascot in February, but failed to back this performance up subsequently at Kelso.
Paul Nicholls has five runners, SAPHIR DU RHEU was thought highly of as a novice chaser, fell early when joint 3rd favourite for the Hennessy in November and ran a cracking race in the Gold Cup where his jumping markedly improved. The owner Andy Stewart has no doubt he will handle the step up in distance. LE MERCUREY is interesting having run to within 3 ½ lengths of the ill fated Many Clouds here in December and going down to by a similar margin to Native River in the Denman Chase in February.
On the trainer's blog VICENTE was included in the horses that bypassed Cheltenham to focus their sights on Liverpool and the now Trevor Hemmings owned eight year old fits several trends. Age and Weight tick the boxes as well as having won over 3m5f. Vicente recorded his best form this time last year when tackling the longer distances, coming fifth in the National Hunt Chase at Cheltenham and then winning the Scottish National and Nicholls has stated that he is a Spring horse – 4 of 6 career wins coming between the months of March and May.
Despite his lack of form in the winter VICENTE was regarded highly enough to compete in both the Hennessy and Welsh National and was purchased outright by Hemmings a only a few weeks ago from the owners of 2012 winner Neptune Collonges. The new owner holds the joint record for Grand National winners (3) alongside James Machell in the 1870's and is looking to hold the record on his own right.
17:15 Aintree selection - VICENTE
JP McManus is the one of the most famous owners in racing and his iconic green silks with yellow hoops romped to victory in 2010 under the hands of Sir Tony McCoy and Don't Push It. He has three runners this year – all under different trainers.
Regal Encore is the least fancied of the three and it hard to catch right having won well on two of his chase starts but being Pulled Up no less than 6 times.
Cause of Causes has won at the Cheltenham Festival for the last three years, winning the Cross Country Chase this year. He ran a creditable eighth two years ago whilst still a seven year old has only fallen once in his career (first start over hurdles in 2012) and looks to be a solid contender.
Barry Geraghty had to suffer on the sidelines for six weeks and miss Cheltenham but has claimed the ride on MORE OF THAT who looks a great bet at 9/2 to go off favourite for the Randox Health Grand National. The public have always held an affinity with the first choice colours of McManus especially when trained by Jonjo O'Neill. Clan Royal 2006 Butler's Cabin 2009 Don’t Push It 2010 and Shutthefrontdoor 2015 all started as favourite for the trainer and owner combination.