by Aodán Boland
April has arrived and so has the Aintree Festival! March was a bad month for the punters, but it’s a new month and it’s time for Aintree Saturday and, most importantly, The Grand National.
Horse racing is difficult enough as it is, but the Grand National takes the biscuit completely; I know that a lot of people like to have a cheeky bet on for the iconic race so I’m going to try my best to help beat the bookies.
This year’s race has a field of 40 horses, and if it’s anything like previous years you can expect the unexpected. 33/1 Rule The World won it last year for Mouse Morris. A 25/1 winner in 2014 and 2015. 2013 saw Auroras Encore win at a massive 66/1. I honestly can’t see this year being any different and I expect to see a massive outsider cruise to victory.
First things first: ALWAYS back your horse each way, especially in this race. Most bookies will be paying for extras places due to the size of the field so having a punt each way on a long shot could be valuable. Now let’s get into it…..
David Pipe’s Vieux Lion Rouge is the early favourite and can be currently backed at 10/1. I like this horse and he is in decent form winning his last two races, one of them being at this course in December, so he’s certainly capable and I can see why the bookies have him as favourite, but I see better value in this field at massive odds.
I’ll be having a small one on 50/1 Perfect Candidate who will be steered by fellow Galway man Paddy Brennan. Won last time out at Exeter and has never fallen or unseated which gives me confidence that Paddy could give the big guns a run for their money on the long shot. I know that some people choose their Grand National horse based on the jockey so I might as well give a mention to the legendary Ruby Walsh who rides Willie Mullins’ Pleasant Company who is priced up at 14/1. Barry Geraghty returns from injury to saddle 12/1 More Of That. Last year’s winning jockey David Mullins will ride another 33/1 this year, this time for Henry De Bromhead’s, Stellar Notion.
Their are so many horses in this line up that deserve a mention and are certainly capable of winning; it should be a cracking race and let’s hope every horse and jockey come away from the race safe and sound.