Aintree 2019: Grand National Runners and Tips

Aintree is once again all set for Saturday's world-famous Randox Health Grand National

Peter Kingston, Shane McArdle, Alan Marron, and Will Reilly preview each and every runner in this year’s Aintree Grand National

Our writers have cast their eyes over the Grand National field, have given a view on each runner and have nominated their main fancies for the big race.

Randox Health Grand National

Aintree, Saturday 5:15pm

£1million in prize-money

Guide to writers:

Will Reilly (WR) – Peter Kingston (PK) – Alan Marron (AM) – Shane McArdle (SMc)

(Selections for the race from each of the above can be found at the bottom of the page)

We are paying 1/5 the odds on 6 PLACES in the race and have been NON RUNNER-CASH BACK on the race since March 27th

1.  Anibale Fly (Tony Martin) – Arrives here at the top of his game, having finished second in the Cheltenham Gold Cup last time out, a race in which he finished third in 2018; he also finished fourth in last year’s National; it would be no surprise to see him go well; three of the last nine Grand National winners (and six of the last 14) carried more than 11st to victory (WR)

2. Valtor (Nicky Henderson) His trainer reported him on Sunday to have “schooled brilliantly” over birch fences; on his first run for Nicky, he won the Silver Cup at Ascot in impressive style, although he was pulled up at Cheltenham last time; if on song, he can’t be discounted in his bid to give Nicky a first win in the famous race (WR)

3. Tiger Roll (Gordon Elliott) – Last year’s winner returns to defend his crown from a nine-pounds higher rating than last year; he has confirmed his wellbeing with two wins this season, including at the Cheltenham Festival last time out in the Cross-Country Chase; looks set to go well again (WR)

Watch Tiger Roll just deny Pleasant Company in winning last year’s Grand National…



4. Outlander (Richard Spencer) – Now an 11-year-old – three 11yos have won the National in the last seven years – a return to the best of his 2017 form would give him a chance, but his last four runs have been modest; he’ll be a big price on the day (WR)

5. Don Poli (Phil Kirby) – He looked the ideal type for this race back in 2015 when he was winning Grade 1 chases, including the RSA Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, and looked like he retained a lot of ability in his sole run in February 2017; however, he’s had just three (modest) runs since; he was pulled up when tailed off in the Becher Chase over the Grand National fences in December (WR)

6. Go Conquer (Nigel Twiston-Davies) – He looked rejuvenated on just his third run for new trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies, when winning the valuable Sky Bet Handicap Chase at Doncaster when rated 151; he’s now rated 157 so will need to put up a career-best effort in order to win although he’ll arrive at Aintree in good heart; his trainer has won this race twice – Earth Summit (1998) and Bindaree (2002) (WR)


Go Conquer jumps the last on his way to victory in the Sky Bet Chase at Doncaster


7. Mala Beach (Gordon Elliott) – Now an 11-year-old, he won the valuable Troytown Chase at Navan in 2017 when rated 148 and will arrive at Aintree rated 156; he ran a good race when second at Down Royal on March 16th in his prep race for this and 50/1 (his price on Monday) undervalued his chance (WR)

8. Minello Rocco (Jonjo O’Neill) – He won the 4-miler at the Cheltenham Festival in 2016 and was rated 156 when finishing second in the Cheltenham Gold Cup (to Sizing John) in March 2017; he’s now rated 155 but has yet to recapture his best form in three runs since a breathing operation in February 2018, those runs including being pulled up in the ‘Ultima’ at Cheltenham last time (WR)

9. Lake View Lad (Nick Alexander) – Owned by Trevor Hemmings, who has won the National three times (Hedgehunter, 2005, Ballabriggs, 2011, and Many Clouds, 2015), he won his first two races this season and then finished third, staying on, in the ‘Ultima’ at the Cheltenham Festival; he’s young (9), progressive and consistent and it would be no surprise to see him go well (WR)

10. Pleasant Company (Willie Mullins) – He was beaten a whisker in last year’s National when rated 148 and arrives here rated 155; he hasn’t shown too much in a couple of runs this season but will have been being primed for today (WR)

11. Ballyoptic (Nigel Twiston Davies) – Second in last year’s Scottish National off a 6pound lower rating, importantly showing an aptitude for marathon trips and good ground. Fell in Becher Chase here this season when overjumping, going alright at the time. Pulled up latest. Place chance. (PK)

12. Dounikos (Gordon Elliott) – Another of the Gigginstown/Elliott battalion. Won National Trial in Punchestown last time out and has been raised 7 pounds in the ratings for that. Fell two out in the Theyestes Chase when beaten. Better chaser than hurdler. Inconsistent but stays well and, only eight, should still have improvement in him. (PK)

13. Rathvinden (Willie Mullins) – An 11 year old but had over 1,000 days off due to injury so be careful with trends. Won a good renewal of the 4-miler at Cheltenham last season. ‘Really firing at home’ and ‘really happy with him’ reported his trainer after a good win in Bobbyjo chase latest. His rating has been raised since to 159 but he runs here off 154 here. Big chance. (PK)

Watch Rathvinden win the Bobbyjo Chase at Fairyhouse…


14. One for Arthur (Lucinda Russell) – Now a 10-year-old, he was the second-ever Scottish winner of this when scoring in 2017. Now races off a 6-pound higher rating but has had only two runs since, and unseated rider on both occasions. Missed a season after the National win owing to injury. Looks unlikely to win here, but at least he’s been there, done that. (PK)

A hero’s welcome home for One For Arthur after winning the 2017 Grand National…



15. Rock the Kasbah (Philip Hobbs) – Sharif don’t like it…but do you? Won BetVictor (Old PP) Handicap Chase in November from a 6-pound lower mark than today. A 9-year-old that has won 9 times from 23 runs under rules and he’s with a trainer who’s twice hit the crossbar in the Grand National. He hasn’t run since December but his trainer has said that he ‘goes well fresh’ and ‘good ground suits’. Chance. (PK)

16. Warriors Tale (Paul Nicholls) – Owner Trevor Hemmings loves the race (he’s won it three times; see Lake View Lad). So much so, it looks like he’s running a non-stayer here. Will appreciate good ground. Ran poorly last twice but has won over Grand National fences in the Grand Sefton over 2 miles 5 furlongs. Pulled up in last year’s National. (PK)

17. Regal Encore (Anthony Honeyball) – An 11-year-old who likes good ground but has never won beyond 3 miles. Fails to complete too often. Did run well on latest start in Ascot in third behind Calipto, but very hard to see him winning. (PK)

See Bar One Racing’s Aintree ante post betting here

18. Magic of Light (Jessica Harrington) – Improving mare this season. She finished third in a ‘Troytown’ from a 15-pound lower rating than today but has won against her own sex on a couple of occasions since, including in a romp in Newbury. Well held at Cheltenham in the ‘Ultima’. Doesn’t look well handicapped. (PK)

19. A Toi Phil (Gordon Elliott) – Ran well in the Pertemps final over hurdles at the Cheltenham Festival, a similar prep to Pineau De Re, who won the 2014 National. Hasn’t run over 3 miles over fences since 2017. Classy type but hard to see him staying the trip. Another coloured cap for Gigginstown that should be out with the washing. (PK)

20. Jury Duty (Gordon Elliott) – Good winner at Down Royal last time out, giving 10 pounds and a 6.5 length beating to Mala Beach. May be progressive at marathon trips. American Grand National (Hurdle) winner in October, and his form may be underrated by many. Unexposed and a lively outsider. (PK)

Watch Jury Duty conquer America by winning the American Grand National last October…



21. Noble Endeavour (Gordon Elliott) –Winner of a Grade B Handicap at Leopardstown back in 2016 when rated 143 (now rated 150). Finished 10th in the ‘Ultima’ at Cheltenham last time out. Very lightly raced in recent seasons, with just two runs since April 17, 2017; in both of them, including the Irish Grand National, he finished unplaced. (AM)

22. Monbeg Notorious (Gordon Elliott) – Winner of the Thyestes Chase at Gowran Park on heavy ground in 2018 when rated 137 and is now rated 150. Second in the Growise Novice Chase back in April 2018 with Rathvinden well behind and his warm-up for this (a staying-on 6th in the Leinster National on March 10th) was decent enough. Still a young horse (an 8yo foaled in May), he could go well at decent odds. (AM)

23. Ramses De Teilee (David Pipe) – Second in the Welsh National this season (when rated 144 and is now rated 149) and finished second to Robinsfirth in the Grand National Trial from today’s rating at Haydock this season. A galloping grey that could run well at a decent price. Jumps for fun and stays. (AM)

24. Tea For Two (Nick Williams) – Former-Betway Bowl winner who has lost his way in recent starts. Unseated in the Cross-Country Chase at Cheltenham last time out. No win since 2017; classy in his day – he was rated 164 at the end of 2017 and is now rated 149 – but should find others to be more progressive. (AM)

25. Mall Dini (Pat Kelly) – Stablemate of Presenting Percy, who was sent off as favourite for this year’s Cheltenham Gold Cup. For me, Mall Dini is a dark horse for this race. A ‘Pertemps’ winner over hurdles at the Cheltenham Festival, he was then second in the ‘Kim Muir’ over 4 miles. Distance won’t be an issue; if he gets into a rhythm, he could go very close. (AM) – Non-Runner

26. Step Back (Mark Bradstock) – Winner of the Sandown Gold Cup in 2018 when rated 135 (now rated 147). Very lightly raced over fences. Inexperience could catch him out over this course, although he’s had plenty of runs in the pointing fields. Comes from the same stable/jockey team as Coneygree, who won Cheltenham Gold Cup winner back in 2015. (AM)

27. Ultragold (Colin Tizzard) – This horse has a real love affair with this course. Winner of the Topham Chase on two occasions, second in the Grand Sefton and third in a Becher Chase in recent years. Course form is key. Could easily outrun his odds and stay on into a place. (AM)

28. Blow By Blow (Gordon Elliott) – On his bumper and hurdle form this horse would be a live contender but that form hasn’t translated over fences. Won the ‘Martin Pipe’ Hurdle at Cheltenham in 2018 under Donagh Meyler and looked an exciting horse for his chase career. Having been pulled up in two of his last three races tempers enthusiasm but his trainer is a master of getting a horse ready for this race. (AM)


Ireland’s Gordon Elliott is set to have 11 runners in Saturday’s Grand National as he bids to win the race for the third time


29. Up For Review (Willie Mullins) – This horse has some very good formlines. Third in a Punchestown Festival Bumper in 2015 to Yorkhill and OK Corral. Went over fences in 2018 after an injury and has done well, to say the least. Third in the Thyestes Chase this season to the ill-fated Invitation Only from today’s rating, one of just two handicaps he has so far run in over fences. Finished 8th to Beware The Bear in the ‘Ultima’ at Cheltenham last time. Could outrun his odds. (AM)

30. Singlefarmpayment (Tom George) – Arrives here having finished 13th of 24 in the Grade 3 Ultima Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. His last win came back in December 2016 (when rated 133, now rated 146, but was just beaten from that rating at Cheltenham over 3m2f in December 2018). Stays well but looks to have place claims at best with jockey Paddy Brennan having his 11th ride in the big race (with just one finish so far from his previous ten attempts). (SMc)

31. Vieux Lion Rouge (David Pipe) – This 10-year-old gelding has been pulled-up on his last two starts, which were in the Grade 3 Welsh Grand National in Dec ‘18 and the Grade 3 Grand National Trial at Haydock just a few weeks ago, where he was tailed-off when pulled-up after the 18th fence. He does though have a terrific record over the National fences, having finished second in the Becher Chase back in December from today’s rating and he was sixth behind One For Arthur in the 2017 National and ninth behind Tiger Roll in the big race last year. (SMc)

32. Valseur Lido (Henry de Bromhead) – This 10-year-old finished well beaten in a Grade 3 Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival just a few weeks ago. He finished eighth beaten 56L behind Tiger Roll in last year’s National. Chances are he will jump round but maybe in his own time and would have minor place claims at best. (SMc)

33. Vintage Clouds (Sue Smith) This will only be the 9-year-old’s second run since a wind operation, and he ran a cracker last-time out when finishing a very close second to Beware The Bear from today’s rating in the Grade 3 Ultima Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. His owner Trevor Hemmings has won this race three times – with Hedgehunter (2005), Ballabriggs (2011) and Many Clouds (2015). Big claims. (SMc)

34. General Principle (Gordon Elliott) – Last year’s Irish Grand National winner (when rated 139, now rated 144), he will be partnered again by winning jockey JJ Slevin in this. Pulled-up in the Grade 3 Ultima Chase at the Cheltenham Festival after a bad mistake at the 15th fence when making headway and then got hampered by a faller at the last. Definite place claims. (SMc)

35. Livelovelaugh (Willie Mullins) – This 9-year-old finished well beaten in the Kim Muir Chase at the Cheltenham Festival last time out and has fallen and been pulled-up in two of his last four starts. Hard to fancy on form even coming from this yard. (SMc)

Ireland’s champion trainer Willie Mullins is set to have four runners in Saturday’s Grand National

36. Walk In The Mill (Robert Walford) – A winner over these fences when winning the Grade 3 Becher Chase back in December (when rated 137, now rated 144) and will be well primed for another big run in the big race here, having had a couple of spins over hurdles. A big chance and a great opportunity for jockey James Best to get a good spin round. Definite place claims. (SMc)

37. Folsom Blue (Gordon Elliott) – Finished sixth in the 4m 2f Midlands National at Uttoxeter when last seen, so the trip will not be a problem and his record suggests that he most likely to jump round. Has a good jockey booked in Luke Dempsey. Finished fourth in last year’s Irish Grand National (when rated 142, now rated 144), so place claims in this although just two 12-year-olds have won the Grand National in the last 28 years. (SMc)

38. Captain Redbeard (Stuart Coltherd) – Got the better of Cheltenham Gold Cup fancy and red-hot favourite on the day Definitly Red in the two-runner Malcolm Jefferson Memorial Chase at Kelso back in February despite making a few mistakes on the way around; he will not get away with such errors over these fences. A decent staying chaser in his own right and it would be a fairytale victory if he were to win the National for owner/trainer Stuart Coltherd with the trainer’s son Sam on board. A lively outsider. (SMc)

39. Bless The Wings (Gordon Elliott) – Another runner from the Gordon Elliott yard and will have to put a very disappointing run behind him when tailed-off and pulled-up in the Cross Country Chase at the Cheltenham Festival if he gets into this. Also, no 14-year-old has ever won this race, although the 15-year-old Peter Simple won in 1853. Robbie Dunne will be on board if he gets a run. (SMc)

40. Joe Farrell (Rebecca Curtis) – Last year’s Scottish Grand National winner (when rated 135, now rated 142), where he beat Ballyoptic by a nose, so no stamina worries for the big race if he gets a run. He has completed on all eight starts over fences to date so a big chance that this fella will get round and if that is the case he will have a good chance of at least making the places. Has been well backed in the ante-post betting but will need a couple to come out if he’s to get his chance. (SMc)

41. Just A Par (James Moffatt) – He finished 14th in the 2017 Grand National when rated 149 (now rated 142) but has had just two runs since that Aintree out and just one since April 2017, and that was ehn 7th in the Becher Handicap Chase on December 8th last year; that was a fair run but it would be quite remarkable if, at 12 years of age, he could turn that type of prep into a win on Saturday

SELECTIONS (first – second – third)

Will Reilly (WR) – 1st Jury Duty – 2nd Pleasant Company – 3rd Anibale Fly

Peter Kingston (PK) – 1st Rathvinden – 2nd Tiger Roll – 3rd Jury Duty

Alan Marron (AM) – 1st Mall Dini – 2nd Ramses De Teillee – 3rd Up For Review

Shane McArdle (SMc) – 1st Vintage Clouds – 2nd – Jury Duty – 3rd – Joe Farrell

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*Odds were correct at time of publishing the article