IT'S one of the biggest races of the year and also one of the hardest to call so let Voice of Value (@TheVoiceOfValue) mark your card ahead of the 2019 Grand National with his thoughts on all 40 runners.
Grand National | Saturday 6th April 2019, 17:15 | ITV
Whilst there is so much uncertainty and confusion in the world it really is nice to have the warm familiarity of the Grand National to look forward to on Saturday.
Whilst nobody knows what will happen with Brexit I can be absolutely certain that my phone will be buzzing non-stop from Friday morning until just before the off in the big race on Saturday with friends and family asking what the tips are this year and who they should back.
You can also put the kettle on for the messages and phone calls from the same characters shortly after the race finishes to complain that I put them off the winner with my nonsense (usually a fair cop that) or that they backed it in spite of me because they like tigers at the zoo or they saw clouds in the sky before they went into the bookies or the winner reminded them of their favourite Take That song.
Either way it is the one time of the year where everyone in the country is interested in horse racing and I love that. It's our chance to showcase this wonderful sport to a wider audience and lets hope that its another great race this year, whether I pick out the winner or make a fool of myself again by saying that the winner has no chance.
Before I get started on my review of each of the 40 runners, there are some pointers that I repeat most years but they are worth taking heed of before you dive in and start going bananas with your bets:
Shop around and ask for the price
Make sure you find bookies offering more than four places for each-way bets. Most will offer at least five and you should be able to get six in some places. Equally important is making sure that you take the price that is on offer and not the starting price (SP). I will spare you the details but every year the SPs are painfully low compared to the early prices as bookies try to increase their margin nearer the start of the race.
Get on early
The best time to place your bets is usually Friday evening or first thing on Saturday morning when the prices are most competitive as bookies vie for competition.
Don't get carried away
It's one of the hardest races of the year to predict and even when you think you have one with a great chance he can be bought down by another horse or impeded and your chance has gone in the blink of an eye. It goes without saying but never bet what you can't afford to lose.
Don't be afraid to have more than one bet
There are 40 runners in the race so you shouldn't restrict yourself to just one horse unless you want to. Scatter a few small each way bets around and you will have a better of chance of having one or two to cheer on at the finish.
So without further ado, here are the runners and riders for the Random Health Grand National of 2019…
*Best odds available at the time of publication
1. Anibale Fly (14/1 Ladbrokes)
Jockey: Barry Geraghty | Age: 9 | Weight: 11st 10lb | Trainer: A. J. Martin
An admirable horse who was placed here last year and in the last two Gold Cups. Carrying top weight around this course is a huge ask though and I can't see him winning, particularly when the ground is likely to be more testing.
2. Valtor (66/1 888)
Jockey: Daryl Jacob | Age: 10 | Weight: 11st 6lbs | Trainer: Nicky Henderson
Comments: His French form doesn't suggest that he has what it takes to compete carrying this weight and his trainer Nicky Henderson doesn't have a great record in the race. Soft ground would be ok.
3. Tiger Roll (9/2 Betway)
Jockey: Davy Russell | Age: 9 | Weight: 11st 5lbs | Trainer: Gordon Elliott
Last year's winner has looked absolutely brilliant since, particularly at Cheltenham last time out. Carries a bit more weight this year but has a huge chance of being the first horse since Red Rum of winning. The problem is his price: you would need your head examined if you thought that backing any horse in the National at 7-2 was a good idea.
My ratings are based on good value bets so I can't recommend a bet on him even though there is every chance he could take our breath away again. We wish him well but I can't be backing him at these prices.
4. Outlander (100/1 Unibet)
Jockey: Keith Donoghue | Age: 11 | Weight: 11st 4lbs | Trainer: Gordon Elliott
This old boy is past his best and carrying too much weight. The person who bought him for £165,000 at the sales on Thursday evening must have been in the champagne tent all afternoon.
5. Don Poli (100/1 Unibet)
Jockey: Mr P. W. Mullins | Age: 10 | Weight: 11st 3lbs | Trainer: Gordon Elliott
Some crackpot paid £170,000 for Don Poli at the same sale where Outlander was sold. Terrible value for money but this lad might have a slim chance if he can bounce back to his best, plod along whilst keeping in touch and just ease into it as the race goes on and other speedier horses have ran out of puff.
I can see him plodding on into 5th or 6th which at prices like 100-1 would be a very nice each way return (more than twice the return you would get if you backed Tiger Roll to win).
6. Go Conquer (50/1 BetVictor)
Jockey: Sam Twiston-Davies | Age: 10 | Weight: 11st 3lbs | Trainer: Nigel Twiston-Davies
Perhaps not fully exposed as a saying chaser yet despite his age and he might be a bit of value at a big price for a trainer who knows how to win the race. It's hard to be confident though.
7. Mala Beach (66/1 Bet365)
Jockey: Mr J. J. Codd | Age: 11 | Weight: 11st 2lbs | Trainer: Gordon Elliott
Looks an unlikely type for this race to me. Not a proven stayer and carries a significant enough amount of weight.
8. Minella Rocco (40/1 BetVictor)
Jockey: Richie McLernon | Age: 9 | Weight: 11st 1lbs | Trainer: Jonjo O'Neill
A real favourite of mine in the past but quite frankly he looks like he can't be bothered anymore. He is very much dependent on good ground and he doesn't look likely to bounce back to his old self anytime soon.
9. Lake View Lad (14/1 Ladbrokes)
Jockey: Henry Brooke | Age: 9 | Weight: 11st 1lbs | Trainer: N. W. Alexander
Did very well at Cheltenham carrying top weight and could be a progressive staying chaser. You would have to think that he has a really good chance if he take to these fences but most of the juice has gone out of his price now.
Worth backing if he drifts out to 20-1 on Saturday morning.
10. Pleasant Company (20/1 Bet365)
Jockey: P. Townend | Age: 11 | Weight: 11st 1lbs | Trainer: W. P. Mullins
He ran really well to finish second in a photo finish last year and although he is a bit higher in the weights this year he has had an easy season and should be fresh. We know he gets the trip and jumps well so he is one to keep onside.
11. Ballyoptic (40/1 William Hill)
Jockey: Tom Bellamy | Age: 9 | Weight: 11st 1lbs | Trainer: Nigel Twiston-Davies
Not really in form having looked really impressive in the Scottish National. Can he bounce back to form and also fix his jumping errors? I doubt it.
12. Dounikos (40/1 BetVictor)
Jockey: Jack Kennedy | Age: 8 | Weight: 11st 0lbs | Trainer: Gordon Elliott
Very inconsistent horse who won nicely last time out. If he can follow that up here he might have a chance but his record is patchy so you wouldn't bet on it.
13. Rathvinden (10/1 BetVictor)
Jockey: R. Walsh | Age: 11 | Weight: 11st 0lbs | Trainer: W. P. Mullins
Very lightly raced for an 11-year-old and he stayed four miles well in the NH chase at Cheltenham last year. His recent win shows that he is in good form and he is one that I will be looking to keep onside.
14. One For Arthur (28/1 Unibet)
Jockey: Derek Fox | Age: 10 | Weight: 11st 0lbs | Trainer: Lucinda Russell
This former winner of the race has been right out of sorts with injury and form and it would be a big surprise if he was able to bounce back to win again.
15. Rock The Kasbah (20/1 Bet365)
Jockey: Richard Johnson | Age: 9 | Weight: 10st 13lbs | Trainer: Philip Hobbs
A likeable horse but doesn't look well handicapped and not likely that he will improve for the extra trip.
16. Warriors Tale (66/1 Ladbrokes)
Jockey: Harry Cobden | Age: 10 | Weight: 10st 13lbs | Trainer: Paul Nicholls
Had his chance last year when he appeared to struggle with the trip. His win in the Grand Sefton over these fences suggests that he is happy with the course. Tough to see him suddenly finding that extra stamina though.
17. Regal Encore (66/1 William Hill)
Jockey: Mark Walsh | Age: 11 | Weight: 10st 12lbs | Trainer: Anthony Honeyball
You wouldn't send this lad to the shops for a loaf and a pint of milk. He really does have his own ideas about things and you couldn't have confidence backing him. His handicap mark isn't particularly appealing either.
18. Magic of Light (80/1 William Hill)
Jockey: Paddy Kennedy | Age: 8 | Weight: 10st 11lbs | Trainer: Mrs J. Harrington
The only mare in the race. I'm struggling to make a case for her on the form though.
19. A Toi Phil (80/1 William Hill)
Jockey: Denis O'Regan | Age: 9 | Weight: 10st 11lbs | Trainer: Gordon Elliott
Doesn't really hold much appeal as a staying chaser over 3 miles never mind 4 miles.
20. Jury Duty (20/1 888)
Jockey: Robbie Power | Age: 8 | Weight: 10st 11lbs | Trainer: Gordon Elliott
This is one that I really like the look of this year. He has a nice cruising speed and if Robbie Power can get him into a good rhythm I think he is the type that could be finishing well at the end by conserving energy.
He is definitely on the shortlist.
21. Noble Endeavor (50/1 Unibet)
Jockey: Mark Enright | Age: 10 | Weight: 10st 10lbs | Trainer: Gordon Elliott
Quite a lightly raced horse for his age but despite that he doesn't look to be well-handicapped.
22. Monbeg Notorious (66/1 Bet365)
Jockey: Sean Bowen | Age: 8 | Weight: 10st 10lbs | Trainer: Gordon Elliott
Another runner from Gigginstown that makes me think that they are just throwing as many darts at the race as possible in the hope that they get another winner.
This one doesn't seem to like staying chases too much so unlikely to take to this.
23. Ramses de Teillee (25/1 BetVictor)
Jockey: David Noonan | Age: 7 | Weight: 10st 9lbs | Trainer: David Pipe
Trainer in good form and the horse has had decent runs in staying chases but seven year olds don't have a good record in the race and I think this might be a year too early for him.
24. Tea For Two (66/1 Bet365)
Jockey: Lizzie Kelly | Age: 10 | Weight: 10st 9lbs | Trainer: Mrs Jane Williams
Looks out of form this season and I don't think these fences will be his cup of tea.
25. Just A Par (125/1 888)
Jockey: TBC | Age: 12 | Weight: 10st 2lbs | Trainer: James Moffatt
The old boy got into the race at the last minute due to an injury to Mall Dini but I'm afraid he is unlikely to run to par and looks more like a bogey to me. Recent form is poor.
26. Step Back (25/1 BetVictor)
Jockey: Nico de Boinville | Age: 9 | Weight: 10st 7lbs | Trainer: Mark Bradstock
It's hard to think that he is well-handicapped after going up a good chunk in the weights and I can't see him stepping forward I'm afraid.
27. Ultragold (66/1 Bet365)
Jockey: Tom O'Brien | Age: 11 | Weight: 10st 7lbs | Trainer: Colin Tizzard
A really admirable veteran who loves these fences and did me lovely turn in last year's Topham but it's highly unlikely that he will stay over 4 miles.
28. Blow By Blow (100/1 William Hill)
Jockey: Andrew Ring | Age: 8 | Weight: 10st 6lbs |Trainer: Gordon Elliott
I'm surprised to see him in the race given that he is out of form, not a great chaser and fairly inexperienced over fences.
29. Up For Review (40/1 Ladbrokes)
Jockey: Daniel Mullins | Age: 10 | Weight: 10st 6lbs | Trainer: W. P. Mullins
Not sure he will stay the trip and his jumping is a bit ropey. Not for me.
30. Singlefarmpayment (66/1 William Hill)
Jockey: Paddy Brennan | Age: 9 | Weight: 10st 6lbs | Trainer: Tom George
I don't think he is suited to this race really. He isn't the most courageous of horses and I doubt he will stay this trip at all.
31. Vieux Lion Rouge (50/1 William Hill)
Jockey: Tom Scudamore | Age: 10 | Weight: 10st 6lbs | Trainer: David Pipe
If you want one that is highly likely to get round and maybe sneak a place then this is your man. He jumps really well over these fences and every year I try to convince myself that perhaps he will stay the 4 miles strongly this time but it hasn't happened so far.
His form this season is a worry but his trainer has hit a hot streak at the moment so perhaps now is a good time to get him. He is another who I could be tempted to back each way at big odds.
32. Valseur Lido (66/1 Ladbrokes)
Jockey: Rachael Blackmore | Age: 10 | Weight: 10st 6lbs | Trainer: Henry de Bromhead
A non-stayer who has had a bit of classy form in the past but I can't see him competing this year.
33. Vintage Clouds (14/1 888)
Jockey: Danny Cook | Age: 9 | Weight: 10st 4lbs | Trainer: Sue Smith
In form, stays quite well and has a good chance if he jumps well over these fences but I think the current prices are a bit miserly so I won't be having a bet on him.
34. General Principle (40/1 BetVictor)
Jockey: J. J. Slevin | Age: 10 | Weight: 10st 4lbs | Trainer: Gordon Elliott
Winner of the Irish National last year and will love the stamina test here. I would have price him up a good bit shorter than the 40-1 that is floating about. A serious each way contender I would think.
35. Livelovelaugh (80/1 888)
Jockey: David Mullins | Age: 9 | Weight: 10st 4lbs | Trainer: W. P. Mullins
Very unlikely to stay four miles judged on all known form.
36. Walk In The Mill (28/1 William Hill)
Jockey: James Best | Age: 9 | Weight: 10st 4lbs | Trainer: Robert Walford
You would have to give him a serious chance if he can get the distance. He was excellent in the Becher Chase over these fences in December and he seems a sensible enough choice.
37. Folsom Blue (66/1 William Hill)
Jockey: Luke Dempsey | Age: 12 | Weight: 10st 4lbs | Trainer: Gordon Elliott
One of the old timers who is as slow as treacle but could come rolling round the bend to stay on into a place if he takes to the fences.
38. Captain Redbeard (66/1 888)
Jockey: Sam Coltherd | Age: 10 | Weight: 10st 3lbs | Trainer: Stuart Coltherd
I had my pieces of eight on this lad last year only for him to fall at the seventh fence. That is a major worry for me but I'm willing to walk the plank one more time for him given that he is in decent form, carries a low weight and is a big price.
39. Bless The Wings (100/1 Bet365)
Jockey: Robert Dunne | Age: 14 | Weight: 10st 3lbs | Trainer: Gordon Elliott
If you ignored his age you would think the bookies were nuts offering 100-1 about a horse who finished third last year but 14 is pensioner stuff in horse racing terms so it is hard to imagine him winning. If he is in the mood he could run into the places again and there are worse 100-1 shots.
40. Joe Farrell (20/1 Ladbrokes)
Jockey: Adam Wedge | Age: 10 | Weight: 10st 2lbs | Trainer: Rebecca Curtis
He was fantastic in the Scottish National last year and sneaking in here off a low weight you can't rule him out. He would probably prefer good ground but he has won on soft in the past.
41. The Young Master (100/1 Unibet) – Reserve
Jockey: Mr Sam Waley-Cohen | Age: 10 | Weight: 10st 2lbs | Trainer: Neil Mulholland
It is very hard to back my old pal over these fences where he has ended up on his chorus and verse a few times. He is unlikely to get round I'm afraid if he manages to get a run in the first place.
42. Isleofhopendreams (50/1 Ladbrokes) – Reserve
Jockey: TBC | Age: 12 | Weight: 10st 2lbs | Trainer: W. P. Mullins
Wouldn't be a forlorn hope for a place in a soft ground race. He stays all day and should pass beaten horses on the second circuit. Unlikely to get a run.
43. Exitas (125/1 Marathon) – Reserve
Jockey: TBC | Age: 11 | Weight: 10st 2lbs | Trainer: Phil Middleton
Very unlikely to get a run now although another downpour might see a few non-runners due to heavy ground. If he gets in I wouldn't rule him out completely. A really admirable horse who owes me nothing but doubt he will stay strongly enough to win and isn't in good form.
I have a very strange feeling about the race this year because I think it is lacking in really obvious contenders other than last year's winner Tiger Roll and second place Pleasant Company.
There seem to be tons of older proven stayers who might arrive on the scene late to snatch a place and I'm wondering whether Don Poli could be one of those at 100/1 (Unibet).
Who wins the race though? I think the three with the best chance against the favourite are Rathvinden, Pleasant Company and Jury Duty. I will have something on Rathvinden if his price drifts out a bit but in the meantime I'm backing Jury Duty or Pleasant Company to give the Irish another victory.