Friday, April 12, 2024

Aintree Grand National 2024

The nature of the National has changed in recent years; this year, for the first time, the field size has been reduced to 34 runners and the first fence has been re-sited 60 yards nearer the start.

The going on the National course is currently described as soft, heavy in places, with Turftrax identifying the deep areas as Becher's Brook through the Canal Turn, Valentines and beyond; the ground between the first three fences racing away from the stands and between the Chair and the Water Jump is now described as soft and has dried out since yesterday.

Since 2015 the race has been run on ground classified as soft or heavy twice (2016 and 2018); a horse aged eight or nine has won seven of the eight renewals in the same time frame:

2015: Many Clouds 8-11-09; OR 160; 19/39 runners finish; official going: good to soft

2016: Rule The World 9-10-07; OR 148; 16/39; soft

2017: One For Arthur 8-10-11; OR 148; 19/40; good to soft

2018: Tiger Roll 8-10-13; OR 150; 12/38; heavy

2019: Tiger Roll 9-11-05; OR 159; 19/40; good to soft

2020: No race - cancelled due to Covid

2021: Minella Times 8-10-03; OR 143; 15/40; good to soft

2022: Noble Yeats 7-10-10; OR 147; 15/40; good to soft

2023: Corach Rambler 9-10-05; OR 146; 17/39; good to soft

Last year Corach Rambler beat Vanillier (10-06) two and a quarter lengths with Noble Yeats (11-11) a further six and a quarter lengths adrift in fourth (Roi Mage seventh; Delta Work unseating at 21st fence; Mr Incredible unseating after slipped saddle at Canal Turn on second circuit; Coko Beach pulled up after weakening three out; Capodanno pulled up before last after weakening two out).

Mark Walsh had the pick of the five J P McManus owned runners and opted to ride the mare Limerick Lace; the last mare to win the National was Nickel Coin in 1951.

I Am Maximus and Meetingofthewaters, both trained by Willie Mullins, have been well supported in the market. 

The former gave 12 pounds and a 14 length beating to Vanillier in the Bobbyjo Chase at Fairyhouse seven weeks ago; he was subsequently raised to a mark of 164 in Ireland but races off 159 in this.  

Meetingofthewaters finished third behind Chianti Classico in the Ultima at Cheltenham four and a half weeks ago.

Willie Mullins saddles a total of eight runners in all - Mr Incredible was a creditable second in the Midlands Grand National at Uttoxeter last month - and has indicated he'll consider an all-out assault on the British trainers' title should one of the eight come home in front here.

Gordon Elliott also saddles eight and has nominated Delta Work his best chance; the last 11-year-old to collect the spoils was Pineau De Re in 2014.

If the ground remains testing, Noble Yeats, Chemical Energy, Galvin and Kitty's Light are unlikely to be seen at their best.

Nassalam won't mind underfoot conditions. 

Gary Moore's charge beat Iron Bridge 34 lengths on heavy ground in the Welsh National at Chepstow but was raised 16 pounds for that effort - the handler has publicly made his displeasure known with such a large hike.

Panda Boy finished fifth behind I Am Maximus in the 2023 Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse and four and a half lengths behind Meetingofthewaters at Leopardstown over Christmas; trainer Martin Brassil won this race in 2006 with Numbersixvalverde.

The mare Galia Des Liteaux ran well when second behind My Silver Lining on her first try over an extended trip in Warwick's Classic Chase but looked to struggle on heavy ground at Exeter next time out.

Mahler Mission is one I like although he has his share of weight. 

John McConnell's inmate was four lengths clear in the 2023 National Hunt Chase at Cheltenham when coming to grief two out; the winner that day, Gaillard Du Mesnil, was rated 155 (Chemical Energy second). 

Last time he had no answer to Datsalrightgino on good to soft ground in the Coral Gold Cup at Newbury, a race in which he lost both his front shoes. The gelding went off 151 that day with Ben Harvey able to claim three, so a mark of 158 here looks stiff enough.

Quoting the handler [RP Weekender 27-31.12.23]:

"... but the Grand National is his main aim and you'd imagine he should take to that. He's a very good jumper and you'd think he was made for it. It's such a big prize and it's too good an opportunity to waste with a horse like him who's on the improve. The trip probably won't be a problem but I don't think he's slow and he has a bit of class about him."     

The BBC Pinstickers' Guide is likely to prove more useful than this rambling post but, for those interested, Mahler Mission is the each-way suggestion, currently 12/1 generally with most layers paying six places.

As always, check each-way terms before placing bets. Firms with an online presence as well as a High St outlet tend to pay more places for bets placed electronically.

It just remains for me to wish you all the very best of luck! 


TW said...

Corach Rambler [IRE],190.37
Limerick Lace [IRE],184.04
I Am Maximus [FR],183.15
Meetingofthewaters [IRE],181.86
Capodanno [FR],181.58
Galia Des Liteaux [FR],180.83
Foxy Jacks [IRE],180.66
Delta Work [FR],178.68
Coko Beach [FR],177.50
Adamantly Chosen [IRE],177.47
Farouk d'Alene [FR],177.31
Mahler Mission [IRE],177.30
Nassalam [FR],176.38
Panda Boy [IRE],175.56
Janidil [FR],174.33
Eldorado Allen [FR],174.28
Galvin [IRE],174.10
Minella Crooner [IRE],174.09
Roi Mage [FR],174.07
Glengouly [FR],173.73
Mr Incredible [IRE],173.50
Ain't That A Shame [IRE],173.33
Minella Indo [IRE],173.19
Stattler [IRE],171.91
Latenightpass [GB],170.99
Eklat De Rire [FR],170.86
Chambard [FR],170.77
Mac Tottie [GB],168.56
Noble Yeats [IRE],168.23
Vanillier [FR],166.83
Chemical Energy [IRE],166.59
The Goffer [IRE],166.12
Run Wild Fred [IRE],164.29
Kitty's Light [GB],162.61

Corach Rambler easily tops the systems ratings based on his Gold Cup effort and I’ll be back him EW tomorrow, to get BOG, in the hope that the ratings are right! At much bigger odds I’ll also be taking an interest in Galia Des Liteaux, disappointed LTO though not sure it was the heavy going, as you say her run at Warwick under top weight was solid enough and there’s a chance this the extra yardage in this might be right up her street.

Best of luck with Mahler Mission and let’s hope all of the horses and jockeys enjoy themselves and come back safe and sound.


GeeDee said...

Thanks for providing your ratings, TW. Trust recalibration all went well :)

Galia Des Liteaux still looks overpriced at 28/1 (40/1 earlier today) on the Warwick form.

As you say, hoping all come back safe and sound.

Good luck!

TW said...

The recalibration is complete, the ratings are different but not necessarily better! I’m sure most would consider Corach Rambler to be rated far too high and they’d probably be right. The revised ratings provided a healthy winning opening day of the meeting but were soon brought back down to earth by a complete white out today.

The good news is that most of the testing will be on the flat over the summer months!


GeeDee said...

A memorable renewal of the Grand National with any number of chances coming to the last; 21 of the 32 runners completed.

No horse fell; seven were pulled up and four instances of 'unseated rider' were recorded.

Unfortunately one of those four instances was selection Mahler Mission (18/1) who raced towards the rear and didn't appear to be enjoying his Aintree experience. He'd made a couple of jumping errors before unseating Ben Harvey at the Chair.

On the run to the elbow it looked as though 2021 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Minella Indo (28/1) was about to give Rachael Blackmore her second win in this race but Paul Townend had nursed I Am Maximus throughout and, once asked the question, the 7/1 co-favourite quickly scooted clear of his rivals to pass the post with any amount in hand.

Delta Work (28/1) stayed on into second spot with Minella Indo third, Galvin (40/1) fourth and Kitty's Light (12/1) fifth.