The Grand National has long been described as a lottery and although I would have disagreed with that a few years back, as you could essentially rule out three quarters of the field before the off, it is moving towards that with changes to the conditions making it a much more open proposition with half the field (or more) effectively having a chance of hitting the frame.
With the increased openness making it tougher to whittle down the field and find the winner, or at least something to go close, we’re also faced with the bookies removing any value from the market as they seek to take advantage of the once a year punter, as the massive over-round of recent years would attest.
However, there might still be a little bit of value out there before the off and we’ve found a few contenders who might just be a little better than their current odds suggest and could outrun these for each way backers.
WOUNDED WARRIOR: As with anything along these lines, when tipping at big prices we need to take a few things for granted, read between the lines and be a little liberal with the facts and that’s exactly what I’ve done to come up with Wounded Warrior as a contender. He’s not shown much at all of late, a sixth place finish in the Thyestes off a mark 1lb higher the best he has shown this season, but there is method to my reasoning and I think there could be a good horse lurking within. If you can ignore most of the last year and go back to his novice season there is some good form there, a third in the RSA, a second in the Champion Novice Chase at Punchestown, a Grade Two win over Rule The World and a third behind Gilgamboa in a Grade Two. All of the form mentioned is has a level of class and most was on good ground, which he is yet to encounter this year, with some close form lines to last year’s National through Rule The World and Gilgamboa, meaning this could be right up his street if he could just recapture a bit of the spark he once had. (ODDS 50/1)
STELLAR NOTION: I’m slightly surprised this horse is as long in the betting as he is, as he has shown some pretty consistent form in handicap chases this year in Ireland. Yes, he has little form over a staying distance and will need to prove that he can see out a real test of stamina, but his form looks pretty strong. Last time out he was second to A Toi Phil, beaten a neck, and he has since gone on to win a Grade Two, prior that he was fourth to Noble Endeavour in the Paddy Power and that form has been franked since at Cheltenham and before that he was second to National Hunt Chase winner Tiger Roll over three miles. He will need to prove his stamina and hasn’t had his head in front since his Irish debut, but the form is strong enough to take a chance and his prominent style of racing could get him involved from a mark towards the bottom of the handicap. He looks overpriced to me. (ODDS 50/1)
DOUBLE SHUFFLE: Like Stellar Notion, there would have to be some concerns over stamina with Double Shuffle as he has done the bulk of his racing at considerably shorter trips, only stepping up to three miles on his last two starts. However, that step up to three miles has brought about considerable improvement with his two best RPRs, by a long way, coming in his last two starts at Kempton over a three mile trip. Of course the Grand National is over a much more extreme trip than those faced at Kempton, but the course is likely to suit and his ability to race towards the front is a big positive. If he can get into a rhythm in a nice position and preserve a bit of energy through the race, he could have a chance of seeing out the trip and running a big race at tempting odds. (ODDS 40/1)