STAR PREVIEW: Grand National….. Roll Up… Roll Up
[dropcap]A[/dropcap]s a pundit, it is of course the hardest job in the world to pick the winner of the Grand National – but to the once a year punters who turn to you for advice not only is the winner expected it is positively demanded.
After all, it’s what you do all year round, right? So picking the winner should be as routine as a plumber fixing a leak or a dentist filling a filling?
It was actually vividly demonstrated to me a few years ago when I tipped my barber the 20/1 winner of the National. Next time in he thanked me – not overtly – not even with a free grade 5 (all over) for my efforts – just a polite ‘thank you’ as if he expected nothing less.
I’m approaching this year’s renewal like a fairground attraction. You know the sort of end of pier shows where they have three shelves of prizes – the cheap tat on the bottom shelf, the designer pack of cards on the middle shelf and the gigantic teddy bear on the top shelf that retails for no more than £30 but you’ll need to ‘invest’ north of £300 to get anywhere near winning it.
In other words, I’m having three bites of the cherry – well there are 40 runners for goodness sake so hopefully we’ll hook the right duck:
THE BOTTOM SHELF – SILVINIACO CONTI
This is where the favourites lurk and plenty of punters will go no further than number one on the racecard and last year’s winner Many Clouds who attempts to go ‘back to back’ off a 5lb higher mark than in 2015. He was a 25/1 chance when winning last year and has been prepared very much with this in mind, warming up with an easy win at Kelso last time out. He looks a solid favourite but it’s such a tough ask to expect another win. So many things need to right and whilst the race has got easier there was plenty of carnage in the Topham Chase yesterday to suggest the course hasn’t completely given up the challenge to horse and rider.
Of the other shorter priced runners Silviniaco Conti appeals a lot. He bounced back to form when winning at Ascot and as a seven time Grade 1 winner (including two King Georges) he really does bring class into the race. He’s quite a small horse but that didn’t stop a certain Mr R Rum around here.
THE MIDDLE SHELF – THE DRUIDS NEPHEW
At the mid-range prices I’m adding The Druids Nephew to my punting portfolio. He wouldn’t be the first horse to return to the Grand National after failing to complete the previous year and he was in the process of running a huge race 12 months ago when still leading before falling five out. He is 9lb higher than last year and has form to find with The Last Samuri but we found out last year he loves this course and just needs a little more luck this year.
THE TOP SHELF – BUYWISE
This is where I am looking for the ‘cuddly toy’ of a winner and at around 33/1 I’m hopeful of a good run from Buywise. His stamina for this extremity of distance has to be taken on trust but he has been staying on well in the closing stages of shorter distance races including at Doncaster last time out in the Great Yorkshire Chase when third to Ziga Boy. He’s a horse that often finds a way to be placed and could easily be plugging on for a place when many of the others have cried enough.
So there it is – my three ‘ducks’ against the field: SILVINIACO CONTI, THE DRUIDS NEPHEW and BUYWISE.
I’m backing them all – each-way with Star Sports.
RECOMMENDED BETS (scale of 1-100 points)
BACK SILVINIACO CONTI for 4 points each way at 12/1 with Star Sports
BACK THE DRUIDS NEPHEW for 3 points each way at 14/1 with Star Sports
BACK BUYWISE for 2 points each way at 40/1 with Star Sports
Friday -15.00 points