Fully updated John Smith’s Grand National preview with recommended bets and stakes from Gingertipster
I’m indebted to Gingertipster for allowing me to publish his fine article on the big race. Ginger writes on the excellent The Racing Forum.
Aintree 4:15 JOHN SMITH’S GRAND NATIONAL 4m4f
Have added the percentage chance I believe each horse has of winning (Don’t Push It 8.5%) percentage converted to odds (11/1) and my price (8.5%) plus a “bookies mark up” (1.5%) added to make 9/1. There is also a trainer form rating (Jonjo 8/10).
Where a horse is available at a bigger price with bookmakers, it is at the bottom of each write up (Majestic Concorde I rate 3.25%, is available @ 49/1 which is 2%, a difference of 1.25% (3.25 – 2 = 1.25).
1. 1-P070 Don’t Push It (23 days) 11 11-10 (CD) Jonjo O’Neil 160 8.5% 11/1 (9/1)
Now on 7 lbs higher mark for 5 length 2010 success (153), from Black Appalachi, State Of Play 10-11 well beaten 3rd. Trainer in excellent form at the time. Don’t Push It goes in to race in better form than last year. 10th of 23 Pertemps (3m) Hurdle, outpaced before staying on. Often made mistakes and inconsistent over conventional fences, yet took well to Aintree. Fact no top weight has won since Red Rum is a coincidence. If both first 11-5 and second 11-6 had carried top weight of 11-10 last year; 20 lengths back to third suggests they’d still finish 1st and 2nd. Top weights have a good strike rate of placing. Ground was good last year, probably equally effective on soft. Trainer form (TF) 8/10 A P McCoy
2. 4-3226 Tidal Bay (22 days) 10 11-9 Howard Johnson 159 1% 100/1 (50/1)
6th in Gold Cup is fair form, but again looked irresolute. Dropping himself out before staying on passed beaten rivals. Flattered second to Imperial Commander in Betfair Chase, out the back when winning rider went for home in earnest a long way from home. Tidal Bay is temperamental and unlikely to take to Aintree. Not sure to stay the trip, but laziness will help in that respect. TF 9/10 B Hughes
3. 11-524 What A Friend (22 days) 8 11-6 Paul Nicholls 156 4.75% 20/1 (15/1)
Well-handicapped. 4th in Gold Cup under Saturday’s rider Darryl Jacob, showing more enthusiasm than usual in first time blinkers. Threw away winning chance in AON chase time before, found little and hung in behind winner. Won twice at this meeting. Doubts remain if headgear will work second time and/or if he’ll take to these unique fences. Needs holding up until the last moment. TF 8/10 D Jacob (blinkered b)
4. U-7744 Vic Venturi (23 days) 11 11-6 (C) Dessie Hughes (Irish trained) 156 1% 100/1(50/1)
12 lengths behind The Midnight Club in Bobbyjo (3 m) Chase last time. Under sustained pressure some way out and outpaced. Won 2009 Becher Chase (3m2f), but failed all three attempts at 3m5f+, twice in Irish National. Out of contention when unseated Grand National. Looks Exposed. TF 9/10 A Lynch (cheak pieces cp)
5. 2/1-31 Majestic Concorde (101 days) 8 11-5 Dermott Weld (Irish) 155 3.25% 28/1 (22/1)
Jumped well when winning Paddy Power Chase (good) at Leopardstown (Dec 29th) on his first try at 3 miles, unraced since but runs well fresh. Pace wasn’t good there and won through speed. Though judged by his flat career, 4th in Chester Cup, has plenty of stamina. Probably equally effective on soft and good going. Lightly raced and could improve again. TF 8/10 Mr R McNamara 54/1 (1.43% difference)
6. 42F14 Or Noir De Somoza (132 days) 9 11-5 David Pipe 155 0.3% 300/1 (100/1)
Ex-French. Off 8 months prior to only previous run for Pipe yard, at inadequate trip of 2m1f. 22 lengths 4th of 5 to Master Minded in 09 Victor Chandler. Better than that. Won Grade 2 Prix Georges in 09 (2m6f); 4th of 9 (trained by C Avert) to top French horse Rubi Ball in same race last time. Won listed chase penultimate start. Raced almost exclusively on a soft surface. 3m+ form figures read F97F. Sire produced stayer Poker De Sivola, but dam won hurdle at only 1m7f. TF 8/10 B Gerraghty (cp first time tongue tie t)
7. F24-41 Dooneys Gate (65 days) 10 11-4 Willie Mullins (Irish) 154 0.25% 400/1 (125/1)
Won Kilcash Chase (2 ½m) Clonmel, made most under trainer’s son last time out. Ran well, mistake 3 out over these fences in Topham Chase to be 4th off 9 lbs lower mark than Saturday (improved since). Stays 3 miles, but unlikely to get 4 ½. Effective on good and heavy ground. 8/10 Mr P W Mullins
8. -2F44 Big Fella Thanks (35 days) 9 11-1 Ferdy Murphy 151 2.5% 40/1 (28/1)
In truth never run to his best when going in to two Grand Nationals a well-handicapped horse. Stamina doubts remain. Now off 5 lbs higher mark than when 4th as favourite last term (146), after improved run in Greatwood at Newbury. Fair 4th in same race off 149 last time. Poor finisher, often cruising over final fence only to find little. Jumping not yet as good for new yard this season. 7/10 G Lee
9. 05-244 The Tother One (70 days) 10 11-0 Paul Nicholls 150 0.5% 200/1 (80/1)
Well-handicapped on 4th in Hennessey Gold Cup off a mark 6 lbs higher than on Saturday. Trip should not be a problem. However, is a poor jumper, inconsistent, temperamental and with a poor strike rate since novice hurdle days. Highly unlikely to take to this test. 8/10 Mr R Mahon
10. 11-112 Ballabriggs (35 days) 10 11-0 Donald McCain 150 5.25% 18/1 (15/1)
On short-list since winning Fulke Walwyn at Cheltenham Festival in 2010, upped 10 lbs for that. In clear lead over the last before tied up badly, just got home (3m1½f). Value more than winning distances. Again found less than expected when beaten at Kelso last time (2¾m). Has a good win to run ratio and usually jumps well. Trained by son of Ginger McCain of Red Rum fame. 6/10 J Maguire
11. 133-21 The Midnight Club (45 days) 10 10-13 Willie Mullins (Irish) 149 11.75% 15/2 (13/2)
On pure form not especially well-handicapped. However, breeding and style of running suggest he’s capable of considerably better over further. Never nearer 3rd in both Spa Hurdle (3m) and Jewson Handicap (2m5f) at Cheltenham Festival. Outpaced before staying on best of all each occasion. By Flemensfirth, sire of Imperial Commander, Time For Rupert, King John’s Castle (2nd in National). Out of 3 mile winner from family of Toby Tobias. Unlucky 2nd Thyestes Chase, then won Bobbyjo (3m). Travelled and jumped well, idled run-in and better than distances indicate. Stable mate Arbor Supreme now 10 lbs better off for just length beating. Equally effective on soft and good. 8/10 R Walsh 10.5/1 (3.05% difference)
12. 9P-F58 Niche Market (35 days) 10 10-13 Paul Nicholls 149 7% 14/1 (12/1)
Ideal Grand National type. Won 09 Irish National (3m5f) under H Skelton. Trained by Bob Buckler prior to this season. Dropped 7 lbs since placed for second time in Hennessey Gold Cup. 5th off 156, 3rd off 148 in 09. Despite reappearance fall usually jumps well, best on good or good-soft ground. Disappointed in Grand National when then trainer out of form and hold up tactics used; usually races prominently. Had wind operation prior to last run and trainer has excellent record with such horses. 8th in Greatwood Chase last time came over wholly inadequate trip of 2 ½ miles. 8/10 H Skelton 25/1 (3.16%)
13. 21-071 Silver By Nature (49 days) 9 10-12 Lucinda Russell 148 9.5% 10/1 (8/1)
Well-handicapped. Easy 15 length winner of Haydock National Trial (3½ miles, soft), off 1 lb higher mark (149). Runner-up Ballyfitz franked form with 2nd in Midlands National. Slightly rounded action and form indicate preference for a soft surface. However, trainer’s other half Peter Scudamore believes it’s just a need for a test. Sire Silver Patriarch won St Leger (good-firm) and grand dam Dalkey Sound 2nd Scottish National (good). Every chance more to come at 4½m. Jumps well. Seeks to be first grey and Scottish winner since Nicholas Silver and Rubstic. 10/10 P Buchannan 20/1 (4.74%)
14. 57011 Backstage (34 days, point) 9 10-12 Gordon Elliott (Irish) 148 4.75% 20/1 (15/1)
Well backed for this after small Point to point win in Ireland. Trained by up and coming and 07 (Silver Birch) National winning trainer. Connections believe best on sound surface. Encouragingly, travelled well in Grand National before brought down 20th fence last year (same mark as Saturday). 3m1f winner. Dam more a speed influence and not certain to get significantly further. 7/10 P Carberry (t)
15. 1-753F Chief Dan George (25 days) 11 10-12 James Moffatt 148 0.8% 125/1 (66/1)
6 lbs higher mark than when winning 2010 William Hill (Spinal Research) Handicap Chase (3m½f good); fell in this year’s race. Not looked in same form so far this season. Inconsistent profile, but possibly best in the Spring nowadays. Only 4 lbs better off with Ballabriggs for 8 length beating at Kelso. 5th in 2009 Scottish Grand National (4m) implies he’ll stay this trip. 5/10 P Aspell (cp)
16. 56242 Calgary Bay (70 days) 8 10-10 Henrietta Knight 146 0.25% 400/1 (125/1)
One of best looking horses in training. Good 2nd to Wishfull Thinking (2m5f good-soft) off 143 last time. Jumped well but found little. Best performance to win Doncaster handicap (3m good-firm) by 7 lengths off 142. Unlikely stayer, took hold and didn’t get home 2010 Gold Cup (3m2½f). 5/10 H Frost
17. P-2536 Killyglen (35 days) 9 10-10 Stuart Crawford (Irish) 146 0.8% 125/1 (66/1)
Ex-English top novice for Howard Johnson, won Mildmay Novices Chase at Aintree (3m1f good-soft). Also ran well to be 2nd to Wogan in 2010 Grimthorpe (3m2f good-firm). Well-handicapped on that form. Changed stables and yet to prove as good; bit free in same race, weakened in straight last time, 6th of 8 finishers. Possibly needs to lead / view of the front to jump fences well and maintain enthusiasm. Inconsistent. Best runs on good-firm to good-soft. 7/10 D O’Regan
18. 52-263 Oscar Time (45 days) 10 10-9 Martin Lynch (Irish) 145 5.5% 18/1 (14/1)
First race for 7 weeks, travelled well long way, 3rd to The Midnight Club in Bobbyjo. Now 4 lbs better off for 5 length beating. Fitness possibly played a part but often finds little. No need for pressure to win Irish Paddy Power (3m). Upped 17 lbs, looked Irish National (3m5f) winner on turn for home. Length down at last yet lost another 3½ on short run-in. Plenty of stamina in dam’s pedigree, however most of sire Oscar’s progeny don’t need a test. Oscar Time is certainly not crying out for a trip. Raced mainly on a soft surface. Jumps well. Jockey trying two feats, first winning amateur since Marcus Armytage on Mr Frisk and Gold Cup / National double. 8/10? Mr S Whaley-Cohen
19. 0-1131 Quinz (42 days) 7 10-8 Philip Hobbs 144 4.5% 22/1 (16/1)
Racing Post Chase winner (3m soft), looked beaten as Mount Oscar came upsides, fought back and going away again at line. Progressive and well-handicapped if form can be believed, almost every other runner error prone. 7 year old but French breds mature quicker. More experience than most novices, mistakes all three chase starts last season. Only loss this term behind Time For Rupert. Jumps far better nowadays, possibly needs to race prominently to continue to do so. Winner on good-firm and soft. Should get further than 3m but another 1½m is questionable. 7/10 R Johnson
20. 212-42 Becauseicouldntsee (101 days) 8 10-8 Noel Glynn (Irish) 144 4.25% 22/1 (16/1)
Not seen since late December. Now 2lbs better off with Majestic Concorde for a 2½ length beating when second in Irish Paddy Power (3m soft). Just one mistake of note in National Hunt Chase (4m Good) at Cheltenham as a novice last year. Every reason to believe will be better than ever returned to an extreme trip and is built for Aintree. Lively outsider. ? D Russell33/1 (1.31%)
21. 00-06P Comply Or Die (42 days) 12 10-8 (CD) David Pipe 144 1% 100/1 (50/1)
2008 Winner and runner up in 2009. Nowhere near that form, 12th of 14 finishers off a mark of 153 in 2010. Obviously trained for this, but no real promise in three starts this term. Pulled up in almost unraceable ground in Eider Chase last time. Best blinkered, on good or good-soft. Likes to race prominently / have some room. Veteran and probably on the downgrade. 6/10 T Murphy (b)
22. FF25P Quolibet (25 days) 7 10-8 Jonjo O’Neil 144 0.05% 2000/1 (800/1)
50/1 pulled up only British start in Cross-Country Chase at Cheltenham last time. 5th penultimate start, trained by Francois Doumen; 6 lbs better off for just 2 lengths behind Or Noir De Somoza in (2¾m heavy). Poor strike rate, unproven over further and had three falls in a row. 8/10 M P Walsh (ftb)
23. 1FP18P Grand Slam Hero (63 days) 10 10-7 Nigel Twiston-Davies 143 0.3% 300/1 (100/1)
Fruitful summer campaign, won all four completed starts including Summer Plate. Still looked on upgrade after final success (August, 3m1½f). Now off 5 lbs higher mark. Never jumping with any fluency in two well spaced out races since. Possibly something physically wrong. 7/10 A Coleman (t)
24. 44/P3- State Of Play (364 days) 11 10-6 Evan Williams 142 2.25% 40/1 (28/1)
Placed in two Grand Nationals, not seen since but great record fresh. Dropped 3 lbs for finishing 3rd he might seem well treated. However, 4th off a mark of 150, then 3rd from 145; and now only 10 lbs better off with Don’t Push It for 25 length beating. Trainer considers him best on a sound surface although won 2006 Hennessey on softish ground. Probably only place prospects again. 6/10 P Maloney
25. 1-11P5 King Fontaine (25 days) 8 10-6 Malcom Jefferson 142 0.125% 800/1 (250/1)
Several jumping errors last two starts. Only 5th off 2 lbs better mark in Spinal Research Chase, 32 lengths behind winner Bensalem. Pulled up in another big field (3½m). Not many sired by King’s Theatre are true stayers. Upped 13 lbs since last win. Proven on heavy and good going. 9/10 D O’Regan
26. 341U In Compliance (20 days) 11 10-5 Dessie Hughes (Irish) 141 0.3% 300/1 (100/1)
By Old Vic, sire of first two home in 2010 and dam’s sire Montelimar responsible for Hedgehunter. However, weakened late over furthest he’s tackled so far, 3m1f, in 2007 Punchestown Gold Cup (best season to race). Well fancied for 2007 Gold Cup before injury. On downgrade. Unseated last time, not first mistake. First time blinkered, easy lead to win penultimate start (2m2f soft). 9/10 L Aspell (cp)
27. 75P-1P Hello Bud (84 days) 13 10-5 (C) Nigel Twiston-Davies 141 2% 50/1 (33/1)
Age statistics are against him, but unlike most teenagers was still improving at 11, so age is not as big a worry. Won 09 Scottish National (4m Good-firm) off 133. Successful again off same mark in Becher Chase (3¼m Heavy) in November. Looked weak race for the money and 8 lb rise bit harsh. 5th in Grand National, off just 1 lb lower (140) than Saturday. Pulled up in Classic Chase last time out. Races up with pace and sometimes finds less than expected off the bridle. 7/10 S Twiston-Davies (t) 54/1 (0.19%)
28. 07-11P West End Rocker (49 days) 9 10-5 Alan King 141 3.25% 28/1 (22/1)
Acted on soft to win Classic Chase at Warwick (3m5f). Upped 8 lbs for ¾ length victory over Minella Boys with 8 back to Incentivise, idled and more in hand than distances indicate. Has action which suggests will be at least as good on a sound surface. Possibly lost action and quickly pulled up on heavy last time out. Lightly raced stayer, lively outsider if all is well with him. 8/10 R Thornton 49/1 (1.25%)
29. 207710 Santa’s Son (22 days) 11 10-5 Howard Johnson 141 0.05% 2000/1 (800/1)
Appeared back to some form with this trainer, won 2½m hurdle penultimate start. Possibly amiss, 100/1 16th of 18 in Grand Annual (2m½f) last time. Often sulks if unable to lead. Won on soft and firm surface. No win in 7 attempts at 3m+ earlier in career, unraced at trip since 2007. 8/10 J Moore (t)
30. 21-046 Bluesea Cracker (45 days) 9 10-4 James Motherway (Irish) 140 4% 25/1 (20/1)
Trying to become first of her sex to win since Nickel Coin in 1951. Recently purchased by JP McManus. Off 13 weeks prior to last of 6 finishers final start. Every chance before turn and heavily eased after chance had gone in Bobbyjo (3m). Fair 4th at Cheltenham in November (3m3f½f good-soft) penultimate start. Improved form, won Irish National last season (3m5f heavy), finding much more than runner-up Oscar Time who is 5 lbs better off for 4½ lengths. Stayers on both sides of pedigree, including Grand National runner-up (to Grittar) Hard Outlook. Could improve further back up in trip. Raced almost exclusively on a soft surface. A McNamara ? 31/1 (0.875%)
31. 391059 That’s Rhythm (120 days) 11 10-4 Martin Todhunter 140 0.1% 1000/1 (300/1)
In and out of form. Disappointing 9th in December, possible physical problem. Fair 14 lengths 5th in Charlie Hall penultimate start. Bangor specialist, all 3 wins there, latest by 9 lengths off 133 3m½f good-soft. Also effective firm surface. Fallen in last two Scottish Nationals. 7/10 J Reveley
32. 2111/0 Surface To Air (27 days) 10 10-4 Chris Bealby 140 0.2% 500/1 (150/1)
Progressive form before reportedly suffered a tendon injury when winning 4 mile Summer National in June 08 (third win in succession). First run since then, last of 10 in handicap hurdle at Market Rasen. Impossible to know if he’s still got any ability. Form on good and good-soft. 3/10 T Messenger
33. 234PP Piraya (23 days) 8 10-4 David Pipe 140 0.05% 2000/1 (800/1)
Back to his recalcitrant days, pulled up in Byrne Group Handicap last time out. Good placed efforts earlier in season, 2nd to Woolcombe Folly at 2m1f and 3rd to Mount Oscar at 2½ miles. Yet to run to form at 3 miles plus in Britain, despite many tries. 13th of 14 finishers in Grand National. 8/10 J Farrelly (cp t)
34. F-8P5P Can’t Buy Time (23 days) 9 10-4 Jonjo O’Neil 140 0.125% 800/1 (250/1)
Lightly raced. Bad mistake and pulled up last time out in Fulke Walwyn. Best start this term when 6¼ lengths 5th off 142 to Tartak in 2m5f handicap at Cheltenham in January. Winner of same race off 141 in 2010. Unseated and fell in two Grand Nationals. Travelled well long way, failed to stay when favourite, 4th in 09 National Hunt Chase. Winner on soft and good. Inconsistent. 8/10 R McLernon
35. 30563 Character Building (35 days) 11 10-4 John Quinn 140 1.5% 66/1 (40/1)
Balls of steel needed by jockey; won 09 Fulke Walwyn (3m1½f good-soft) off 139, led on line. Pulls himself up in front and inconsistent. 7th (off 145) in Grand National, made up a lot of places on final circuit and now off 5 lb lower mark. 12 lbs better off with Don’t Push It for 36 lengths. Fair 14 length 3rd off 135 last time (3m2f good). Should be suited by a return to further. Could we have a real National Velvet in the year of Elizabeth Taylor’s death? 7/10 Ms Nina Carberry
36. 51P/52 Ornais (36 days) 9 10-4 Paul Nicholls 140 0.2% 500/1 (150/1)
Good novice in 07/08, difficult to know how much ability retains. Nowhere near best in 2 hunter chases on first starts for 2 years, latest at Newbury (2m6½f). Runs with a low head carriage (long neck). Stamina doubts, only 5th when had form to win 4 mile 08 National Hunt Chase. 8/10 N Scholfield (t)
37. 2U-9P2 Arbor Supreme (45 days) 9 10-3 Willie Mullins (Irish) 139 4% 25/1 (20/1)
Well-handicapped. Length 2nd to The Midnight Club in Bobbyjo Chase. Oscar Time 4 lengths, Vic Venturi 7, and Bluesea Cracker 20 lengths back. Yet is respectively 10, 6, 12 and 1 lb better off with all of them. Rider cajoled an effort out of Arbor Supreme, never going for “everything”. Seemed less than willing in the past, best handled tenderly. Did not take to Aintree last year, already beaten when unseating at the Chair. Inconsistent. Stays at least 3¾ miles, acts on good and heavy. 8/10 D Casey
38. 5U-42P Royal Rosa (91 days) 12 10-3 Howard Johnson 139 0.1% 1000/1 (300/1)
Lightly raced, poorly handicapped veteran. Pulled up as if something troubling him last time in Welsh National. Placed for second time in Becher (3¼m), 1¼ lengths 2nd. Strangely now 3 lbs worse off with winner Hello Bud, off just 125. Unseated in Grand National. 33 lengths 6th from 18 lbs out of weights in 08 Scottish National. Possibly best on soft surface. Inconsistent. 9/10 P Gallagher (cp)
39. 13-3011 Skippers Brig (35 days) 10 10-2 Nicky Richards 138. 3.75% 25/1 (20/1)
Upset one of the ante-post Grand National favourites, and now 8 lbs better off with Ballabriggs after beating him 1¾ lengths at Kelso (2¾m good-soft) last time. Obviously 4½m is a different proposition, but Skippers Brig is proven at a stiff 3 miles and bred to get further. Sire Zaffaran a stayer, dam unraced half sister to 3m1f winner Skippers Cleuch and dam’s sire Roselier a massive stamina influence. Skippers Brig is lightly raced and capable of improvement. Possibly needs it on the soft side and unbeaten on heavy. Interesting outsider if getting a run. 7/10 D Elsworth 43/1 (1.48%)
40. 1d10019 Golden Kite (27 days) 9 10-2 Adrian Maguire 138 0.25% 400/1 (125/1)
Prolific winner of 7 of his last 14 starts. Improved to win Munster “National” (only 3m, good) penultimate start, making all off 128. First start since when disappointing 9th of 14 finishers (2m7f heavy) over hurdles on March 13th, should come on for the run. Already outstayed pedigree, By Anshan out of a mare by Strong Gale. Best on goodish ground. 6/10 S Hassett
Bookmakers seem to have reduced their prices before putting them up again for tomorrow, so am including betfair prices.
Don’t Push It is top weight; but at the weights, should beat all who take him on again from last year. Would’ve made him a saver bet, had he not been backed this morning. Price now represents his chance.
The Midnight Club seems to have been laid out for this race for a considerable time, often running at trips shorter than is likely to suit. May be capable of significantly better at this extreme distance and 10.5/1 looks very reasonable.
We know Silver By Nature gets marathon trips and will be off an 11 lbs higher mark in future handicaps. What is more, trainer Lucinda Russell has had 4 winners from 8 starts in April already, ranging from 9/4 to 5/1. Going is a worry, but I’d make him favourite had it been soft. Although the Topham time suggests it is now Good. Around 20/1 looks outstanding value, well worth taking a chance on the ground,
Something which also applies to Skippers Brig. With probable watering, hopefully it won’t be too bad. Skippers Brig proved he is just as effective on good-soft last time. Bred to get the distance and on the up.
With Nicholls’ enigmatic What A Friend taking the “first string” role, we’ve seen Niche Markettake a drift. Does not seem to be any justification and attractively priced at 25/1 on betfair, provided he gets his usual prominent position. Ground will be very much in his favour.
West End Rocker has the look of a Mon Mome, seemed an improving stayer before disappointing last time where he did not act on heavy ground.
The one two of the Irish Paddy Power look interesting. Majestic Concorde is lightly raced and could improve at this trip judged by his flat form. Becauseicouldntsee, is unexposed and proven at 4 miles. Though have been put off by the long break since his run, so just a saver.
These are the bets I recommend:
21 points @ 10.5/1 The Midnight Club
24 points @ 20/1 Silver By Nature
16 points @ 25/1 Niche Market
7 points @ 49/1 West End Rocker
8 points @ 43/1 Skippers Brig
8 points @ 54/1 Majestic Concorde
3 points @ 33/1 Becauseicouldntsee
Or if you want it put another way:
24% of over all stake @ 10.5/1 The Midnight Club
28% @ 20/1 Silver By Nature
19% @ 25/1 Niche Market
8% @ 49/1 West End Rocker
9% @ 43/1 Skippers Brig
9% @ 54/1 Majestic Concorde
3% @ 33/1 Becauseicouldntsee
We invited the racing professionals on Twitter to send us their best four bets in the form of a Yankee. The horse nominated first in each group is that person’s nap.
Iain Turner, PR guru for WBX.com and racing manager for horses like Walkon and Mille Chief, very kindly agreed to put up a prize of a charity bet with WBX.com on the John Smith’s Grand National of £250 to the winning tipster – £500 if all 4 horses are successful in the winning Yankee.
So, here they are. Good luck and thanks to all who entered.
Respected journalist and broadcaster of long standing Mike Vince offers his four:
I’m Singing the Blues
Four from the man who brought twitter terror to the turf layers with Tenor Nivernais, Richard Hoiles
Tenor Nivernais Fred Winter
Big Bucks Stayers
Big Zeb QM
Habbie Simpson Albert Bartlett
From James Knight, Coral odds guru, racehorse owner and journalist:
Sparky May David Nicholson, Mares Race
Grands Crus World Hurdle
Wishfull Thinking Jewson
Head of Communications at the British Horseracing Authority, Paul Struthers offers these . . .
Dunguib Champion Hurdle
Rock Noir Arkle
Kalahari King Ryanair
Get Me Out Of Here County
Simon Rowlands, Timeform’s Head of Research/Handicapping, nominates his four (you’ll note the CAPS on his nap):
TENOR NIVERNAIS Fred Winter, Weds
Cue Card Supreme Novices’, Tues
Time For Rupert RSA Chase, Weds
Shoreacres J Henderson, Fri.
From Simon Walton, founder and MD of ProForm Racing
Big Bucks World Hdle
Peddlers Cross Champion Hdle
Zarkandar Triumph Hdle
Woolcombe Folly Queen Mother
Phil Taylor, jockey’s valet of 25 years standing, sends us these:
Sparky May Mares
Cue Card Supreme
Peddlers Cross Champion Hurdle
From Ian Robinson, syndicate Supremo who has won wtith 92.7% of the horses he’s bought including Gold Cup winner Imperial Commander.
Sprinter Sacre Supreme
First Lieutenant Neptune
Gagewell Flyer Albert Bartlett
A Yankee from the top team at The Racing Forum
Champion Hurdle – Binocular
Supreme Novices – Cue Card
RSA Chase – Time For Rupert
Ryanair – Albertas Run
Robert Gibbs who authors the Becher’s Brook blog protests ‘I’m not a Celeb!’. He is in my book having tipped half a dozen or so winners in the past few days, among them 66/1, 20/1 10/1. Robert specialises very successfully in the lower grade racing but happily has agreed to offer us this Yankee for the festival:
Maljimar x country
Cannington Brook NH chase (sub: Williams Wishes in the Grand Annual)
Realt Dubh Arkle
The Giant Bolster RSA
The highly esteemed Graham Cunningham of RUK fame and much battle-scarred elsewhere sends us these:
Steve Mullington, Aintree fanatic, manic tweeter with a huge Blog following sends us his Yankee:
Kalahari King Ryanair
L’Ami Cross Country
Oh Crick Grand Annual
Cathryn Fry, freelance racing journalist and linch-pin of the Owners & Trainers reception at Aintree, offers these:
Hurricane Fly CH
Big Zeb QM
Plan A Fred Winter
On The Fringe-Foxhunter
Stats superstar Paul Jones, author of Cheltenham Festival Betting Guide
sent us these:
Eight-times champion jumps-jockey, Peter Scudamore tweeted this entry:
Master Of The Hall RSA
Big Bucks World Hurdle
Imperial Commander Gold Cup
Top blogger Ian Dykes, our Wayward Lad comes into the festival on the back of a 14/1 winner on Saturday – his sole advice
GHIZAO for the Arkle.
PEDDLERS CROSS for the Champion Hurdle
For the Ryanair, POQUELIN
Gold Cup, IMPERIAL COMMANDER
Highly respected trends and stats author and blogger
Ben Aitken, sends his selections:
Loosen My Load Jewson
Divers Centenary Chase
On The Fringe Foxhunters
Sir Des Champs M Pipe Conditional Hdl
Top Flat jock, James Millman has kindly sent us four:
Kalahari King Ryanair
Tony Coleman, Paddy Power’s racecourse PRO in the UK and writer for Horse & Hound offers these wine-fuelled selections:
Some Target NH Ch
Great Endeavour Stewart Family Hcap Ch
The Giant Bolster RSA
Junior Kim Muir
Paddy Power’s democratic Studio Team got together to nominate 1 horse each in the following:
Good luck to all entrants and for taking the time to offer these, a big . . .
Scu is the 16th entrant trying to win a big charity bet from WBX.com with his Yankee recommendation in the first ever Twitter Tipster Trophy Challenge.
You can see Scu’s bet along with all the other entries here. Just scroll down the page to the comments section.
Celebs, you have until midnight to enter and try and win up to £500 for a charity bet on the John Smith’s Grand National.
We already have selections from six of racing’s professionals and the competition does not close till midnight on Monday.
Sign up to Twitter Updates, or email updates (both on right side of this page) for news as more entries are posted.
You can see current entries by clicking here and scrolling to the comments section at the bottom
Racing pro? Please enter by tweeting me your selections, nap mentioned first, or simply leave them as a comment on this page
I know that many of you employed in racing, especially journalists and broadcasters, jockeys and trainers, PR reps for the major bookmakers et al, are admired by racing fans and your opinions eagerly sought at Preview Nights and by your Twitter followers.
This blog is now getting around 1,000 views a day and rising so there will be many who’d love to see your best bets for Cheltenham all in the one place.
If you’d like to tweet me your Festival Yankee, or, indeed, leave it below this article as a comment, along with your name, your fans can see your selections and perhaps have a bet themselves.
My good friend Iain Turner, PR Supremo at WBX.com and form-superbrain, has kindly agreed to give the competition winner a free £250 charity bet – (£500 if picking all four winners) – on the John Smith’s Grand National.
I will provide a nice Trophy for the victor and I will keep this article updated with your selections as they come in by posting them in the comments section below.
The competition is open to anyone on Twitter who is professionally involved in racing, including owners. (I will tweet some personal invitations to the pros not following me).
Entries close at midnight on Monday 14th March
Please make the first horse mentioned in your tweet/comment your nap
Winner is the one with highest total return to a £1 stake Yankee on their selections at industry SP.
If no one gets two winners, the best priced nap (first selection mentioned) wins
Good luck, and to those brave enough to enter, a big . . .
I’m afraid I didn’t catch this webcast till I saw a tweet from Paddy Power and linked in after it started. But I got a few races by hastily recording the audio (you can listen to Ruby’s Audio Clips by clicking the link under Categories on the lower right of this page).
I’ve reproduced what Ruby said, pretty much word for word. Listening closely, you realise how carefully he chooses his words despite speaking pretty fast. He’s very sharp indeed. There was a fair bit of banter with MC, panel and audience and Ruby was way quicker mentally then any of them.
I have not used quote marks unless someone other than Ruby was speaking – in this case, just the MC.
I’ve laid races out in the order they were discussed on the night. I missed the World Hurdle but, asked for his nap of the meeting, Ruby chose Big Buck’s.
For in running punters, Allure of Illusion has unbelievable pace and gears and when they pass through the wings of the second last, he’ll be trading odds on – whether he gets up the hill or not I don’t know but you can back him at 10s before the race.
QM Champion Chase
Paul is very sweet on Master Minded (MM) – hard to pick one to beat him. Golden Silver (GS) beat Big Zeb last time and I think if GS had jumped the last at Leopardstown he’d have beaten him that day too. The issue with GS is he can put in a short one. If you could rely on him to be brave and bold and stand at the wings, he’s an unbelievable price but he has a habit of going short and getting himself out of the race by doing that, putting in short, safe jumps.
If he was just a bit braver, he’d have a real shout but he can be cowardly and with the second last now being in the home straight on the old track at Cheltenham, jumping will be essential in the last half mile, and that would be your only worry with GS.
Can’t have Sizing Europe, Captain Cee Bee misses the odd fence, Woolcombe Folly has handicap form and there’s no comparison between that and grade one form. He’s skimpy at 7/1. It’s because of the time he ran – time means nothing; it’s what you beat that counts.
Somersby ran MM close last time but the more I look at this the more I think Master Minded will win.
Imperial Commander (IC) worked well at Kempton and the vibes from the camp are good. Even Paddy Brennan, who’s a pessimist, is quite bullish – you have to take that on board.
Long Run was brilliant in the King George but for my money he’s ground-dependent more so than track-dependent. His Paddy Power was on good, Sun Alliance was on good, all his French form is on soft. He can maintain a serious gallop on soft; he’s ground-dependent.
Denman’s had a wind op. Ran well in the Hennessy and must have some sort of a chance as has Kauto. I’d love Kauto to win a third Gold Cup as I think he’s the greatest horse of all time.
Kempes bolted in in the Irish Hennessey, he’ll love good ground and should run a good race. Pandorama looks ground-dependent but Noel Meade thinks the sun shines out of his rear end, he really fancies him. Midnight Chase would be too slow, Tidal Bay’s not good enough, Neptune Collonges is a bit old . . . I hope Kauto can win it – he’s not as fast as he used to be but he’s in good nick and looks value at 13/2, but for me Imperial Commander is the one to beat.
Nightmare to ride in. They go faster than the Champion Chase and they’re worse horses . . . I don’t know, maybe Pepe Simo if the ground was quick, but if you’re having a bet in this race you really have a problem.
The Irish are probably a weak bunch and Dermot’s filly (Unaccompanied) is by far the best. Zarkandar was good at Kempton. I wouldn’t be too worried about his attitude; he was very coltish, a mean, sour horse when we got him, and since being gelded he’s a different horse. He took a bit of time getting over his castration but he’s much more pleasant now. A Media Luz is a bit free. I really like Sam Winner. I was quite impressed with him early in the year. He’s a wonderful jumper, a real stayer, a chaser in the making and at 10/1 I think he’s a great price EW. I wouldn’t put you off backing him.
Mikael. I don’t know what race he runs in. He schooled really well round Leopardstown with Quel Esprit, but to get Willie Mullins to make a decision two weeks before the event is not going to happen, but Mikael is working well, looks well.
I honestly think Time For Rupert is beatable. He was second to Big Buck’s (BB) last year but there was no second. BB absolutely pissed in, so something had to be second and it was him. Jessies Dream is a fair horse on his day. Arguable whether he’s have beaten Mikael at Fairyhouse or not.
Aiteenthirtythree is improving but I think the bit of value in the race is Master of the Hall. He was very good in the Reynoldstown and at 14/1 EW I think he’s a real good bet. Boston’s Angel lacks a gear. If the real Mikael D’Haguenet turns up, well, . .you never know.
So Young’s been very impressive in his two starts. I schooled Rock on Ruby this morning and he went well though I can’t see how he can turn the form around with Bobs Worth though there’s a rumour Bobs Worth will go for the three-miler. Day of a Lifetime was very impressive in his maiden hurdle. It’s wide open.
You should always go by form and if you do that it’s going to be hard to beat Oscars Well. He has the form in the book and it’s rock solid. He beat all the top Irish Novices at Leopardstown last time, and he’s hard to look beyond at 4/1.
Quevega’s in great form and she’s been working very well. I suppose the danger is Our Girl Salley but I can’t understand why a novice is taking on Quevega off levels when she could turn up in the Neptune or The Supreme getting her mare’s allowance. Doesn’t make any sense to me. She won’t be a novice next year but this is the race she’s going for. Quevega will be hard to beat, she’s in great form, grade one winner, Willie will have her trained to the day.
“Would she be your nap of the meeting, Ruby?”
. . . there was a fair pause then . . .
I wouldn’t think so. She’s a great shout but I wouldn’t call her my nap.
Stewart Family Spinal Research H’cap Chase
A horse of Tony Martin’s caught my eye the other day at Leopardstown, staying on in a 2m 2f hurdle race, a horse called Saddlers Storm. He was favourite for last year’s Irish National when he unseated at the last. If he gets in, I’d think he’ll have a chance.
Menorah should have been giving 4lbs to Silvianaco Conti at Cheltenham instead of getting 4lbs, so he was really 8lbs well in. Oscar Whisky wants a bit further, Mille Chief wasn’t overly impressive last time. Khyber Kim needs to improve on his best to win. It’s wide open. I’d love to see Hurricane Fly win it. But I don’t know. If you have a hunch go with it. It’s going to be the race of the meeting.
If Overturn doesn’t run, there’ll be no pace. I can’t see AP making the running on Binocular, Peddlers Cross was handy in the Fighting Fifth but they didn’t go that fast. Menorah won’t make it, Hurricane Fly certainly won’t make it . . . Dunguib, they went no gallop in The Supreme and I can’t see him making it. You need to wager into your bet that there’ll be no pace if Overturn doesn’t run and that means it will be all about speed in which case I’d favour Hurricane Fly, but I don’t have any strong feelings about the race other than it’ll be a great race to watch.
Raptor would have a shout at around 20/1
And that was all I caught. I hope you get winner or two out of it and if you’re ever asked for your ideal dinner guests, I’d stick Ruby at the top of the list (probably wouldn’t eat much, either!).
Fortunately, their bullishness discouraged me from having a bet.
Doubtless trainers set horses up and can occasionally back them with some confidence; but that sort of information, as you know, is very well protected so ‘tips’ – interpreted as “inside information” as such, are pretty worthless.
Well, that’s the disclaimers out of the way! Since starting my blog, I’ve been in touch with numerous journalists and broadcasters and the highly respected Richard Hoiles has been extremely kind and helpful, not least in allowing me to re-publish his List horses.
Anyway, Richard himself has no inside info on this one, but he has put in a hell of a lot of work in digging it out of the ‘Fred Winter’ field, (the 4.40 race next Wednesday). The horse is called Tenor Nivernais. Venetia Williams trains it, and at the time of writing 25/1 non-runner-no-bet is available with Bet 365.
I agreed an embargo with Richard as he was saving this one for his Preview Night audience on Monday – now over as some of you on Twitter will have seen. Given the jollity at some of these events, most will not take action on the tip till some time on Tuesday. If you are reading this late and have an online account, there’s a fair chance these big odds will still be available.
It’s worth scanning Easyodds first. Bear in mind that not all bookmakers are offering NRNB on this race so be wary and double check.
Tenor Nivernais has run twice in the UK, finishing third both times. Of his first run, 2 miles at Wincanton, the Racing Post (RP) said:
Tenor Nivernais looked fascinating on his first start in Britain and travelled strongly for a long way. He became outpaced turning in and seemed no threat, but he found a bit more and started to run on again. He either needed the run after a lengthy break or is in need of further.
His second run was at Taunton where the RP report reads:
The well-backed favourite Tenor Nivernais travelled strongly and had every chance, but couldn’t quicken with the first two. Twice a winner in France, he should continue to be competitive in this sort of race, with a stiffer test likely to suit.
Timeform’s comment on him:
ex-French gelding: fifth foal: dam lightly-raced maiden chaser: successful both starts in juvenile hurdles at Vichy in August for G. Macaire: fairly useful form both starts in handicaps in Britain, good 1½ lengths third of 14 to Karky Schultz at Taunton on latest, again finishing strongly to pull clear of remainder: will be suited by 2½m.
And Timeform’s view of his two races:
01/02/11 TAUNTON: TENOR NIVERNAIS (FR) remains sure to get his head in front in similar company before long, travelling comfortably up with the pace and staying on, a long way clear of the rest; he’ll be at least as effective over further and shapes as though chasing will probably see him to even better advantage.
22/01/11 WINCANTON: TENOR NIVERNAIS (FR) is sure to win races for his new yard (formerly with Guillaume Macaire), shaping well on the back of 2 wins from as many starts in juvenile hurdles in the French Provinces, shuffled back to fifth entering the straight and finishing with encouraging purpose; he jumped fluently and could well benefit from being upped to 2½m
Venetia Williams has trained 5 Cheltenham festival winners in the past 10 years, from 107 runners – a strike rate of 4.7%. Backing all those at Betfair odds yields a profit of 24.6%
This comes with the usual warnings as I know some readers are fairly new to racing. Richard reached his conclusion on this horse after lengthy detective work with his ‘form’ hat on, then put the results of that together with his knowledge and experience and, doubtless, that dash of inspirational intuition we all seek. Let’s hope he is right, but, if you decide to follow this ‘advice’, do not bet more than you can afford to lose.
Good luck and a big
Cheltenham Preview Night, Oswestry, Summary of selections from Richard Johnson, Noel Fehily and others
Reproduced verbatim with the very kind permission of the author whose nom-de-plume is The Eye of Sauron. First published on The Racing Forum.
Run in conjunction with Let’s Live Racing by Oswestry Cricket Club- a very successful night and a substantial donation will be made to the IJF.
Here are my now transcribed notes. I wish I could write as quickly as I can drink, but there we go.
e & oe, as they say…..
RJ- Richard Johnson. Top Jockey and top bloke.
PJ- Paul Jones (author of the Weatherby’s Festival Betting Guide and who took over from Dicky at 9.30). Top trends and stats bloke.
PF- Paul Ferguson of Racing Ahead and his own NH Guide etc. Top Irish form bloke.
MW- Mark Winstanley. Couch of that ilk. Top curry eating bloke and trainee diplomat…..
NF- Noel Fehily. Top crocked jockey, and top crocked bloke, esp as he drove all the way from Swindon with his gammy arm, to Shropshire, (a good 3 hours) to do this for charity, and then drove all the way back.
OSWESTRY PREVIEW NIGHT
MW- Cue Card should win but disagrees & will back Spirit Son.
PF- Cue Card for me though if coming over Megan’s Star ew.
RJ- Cue Card but keep eye on Dunraven Storm ew if good ground (which is likely)
NF- Cue Card. Al Ferof ew will be suited by a fast run race.
RJ- Captain Chris likely to go for the Jewson (though RJ would prefer Arkle) especially on faster ground. Ghizao needs soft ground.
NF- Agrees Ghizao needs it soft. Medermit.
MW- also against Ghizao. Medermit best bet on Day 1 and will shorten on the day.
PF- Between Medermit and Finian’s Rainbow; Medermit as the classier hurdler.
RJ- Menorah; stronger this year.
PF- Hurricane Fly is better on better ground. No negatives about Menorah.
NF- Binocular on good ground. Hurricane Fly jumps right handed. Peddlers Cross if GTS.
MW- Quiet fancy for Oscar Whiskey but Binocular is the one, with A Thousand Stars a big ew chance at big odds.
Spinal Research Chase
MW- Great Endeavour
RJ- Quinz won’t run. Emotional Bob runs in the 4 miler
PF- Great Endeavour & Reve De Sivola
PJ- Sunnyhillboy- strong fancy.
RJ- Likes Rougham, a front runner in a 24 runner handicap, will be hard to make all in tat.
MW- Also Great Endeavour, but nb Quantitaveasing and Aigle D’Or, but back NRNB as entered in more than one race.
PF- Tullamore Dew- has course form
MW- Bob’s Worth. Minella Star won’t run.
NF- Not fancy Rock On Ruby. Oscar’s Well as Irish form is stronger. Bob’s Worth needs cut.
PF- Irish form stronger, So Young the pick from Oscars Well & First Lieutenant.
RJ- Megastar may run in this race, but prefer Bob’s Worth.
RJ- Time For Rupert is the banker of the meeting. Wants Wishfull Thinking to run in this but may be outvoted. Will get the trip and if running a great ew bet. 1833 loves a bit galloping track.
NF- 1833 will only run on soft, so not a certain runner.
PF- Irish form not as strong. Jessie’s Dream too short. Mikael DH is the most talented but been disappointing and may need to go right handed. Time For Rupert by default.
MW- Time For Rupert – form in book, end of.
NF- Master Mnded but only if soft- now needs juice. If Good or GTF- Big Zeb. Can’t have Somersby. Maybe Sizing Europe ew. Woolcombe Folly has a long way to go and needs top of the ground.
MW- Doesn’t like Somersby, but does like Woolcombe Folly if GTF. French Opera not without a chance but generally, look to the improvers. French Opera definitely going for this race, so lay it for the Grand Annual.
RJ- Somersby should be in the Ryanair- not quick enough. Big Zeb for me.
PF- Probably Big Zeb on good ground. Don’t rule out Mad Max ew.
No-one fancied Captain Cee Bee.
RJ- Beshabar will stay 5 miles. Jumps well
PF- Quel Esprit one of the bets of the meeting if pitching up in this.
NF- Born Again is a big price. ‘Has been looked after’.
MW- Aegean Dawn & Psycho (latter from Irish connections)
NF- Don’t like For Non Stop- is priced based on his run against Grand Crus.
RJ- Duke Of Lucca, but needs good ground
PF- Aegean Dawn is a banker- and also back it for the RSA 2012!
MW- Titan De Sarti has been working well at home. Also consider Kalinas
PF- Titan De Sarti and Plan A (Irish coup)
RJ- Architrave- Tim Vaughan’s stable under a cloud last time it ran
NF- A Media Luz
NF- Really impressed with Knights Pass- has the right temperament. Also Allure Of Illusion which will probably go off as fav.
RJ- Cheltenian; won well in a fast run race and this will suit. Doesn’t fancy Persian Snow, and Fingal Bay unlikely to run but will make a superb chaser.
PF- Knights Pass and doesn’t like Allure Of Illusion but there has been and will be serious money for it. Twigline maybe but best of Irish Raise The Beat.
MW- Poquelin (‘but is owned by a mate of mine’). Riverside Theatre is better right handed
NF- Poquelin- he is settling and jumping better. Riverside Theatre will not run. Weird Al has been working well at home after his wind op.
PJ- Kalahari King ew
PF- Kalahari King
RJ- Captain Chris probably going here. I would ride him over Wishfull Thinking given the choice as Capt C has stronger form especially on good ground.
MW- Mr. Gardner
PF- Hells Bay. Loosenmyload not without a chance on better ground.
PJ- Mr. Gardner
NF- Captain Chris if good ground. Henry De Bromhead likes Loosen My Load if good ground. Robinson Collonges needs a flatter track.
PJ- Big Bucks, but Mourad far better ew bet than Grands Crus
MW- Big Bucks. Grands Crus needs soft ground, so Mourad is the bet without the fav.
NF- Big Bucks is a certainty. Solwhit ew if he stays, but I think he’ll get the trip.
PF- Big Bucks nailed on. Grands Crus needs soft ground. Solwhit is a class act at the price ew if he stays.
PJ- Chartreux- lightly raced, won sole bumper and best bet NRNB.
MW- Lush Life and Gwanako. What the hell is Barber Shop doing in this, but if he runs, who knows.
PJ- Quantitativeasing or Aigle D’Or- take your pick as to which the JP plot will be. Keep an eye on Atouchbetweenacara.
NF- Aigle D’Or- has had wind op.
MW- Whatever JP runs.
PF- Tullamore Dew
PF- Arabella Boy unless he goes for the 4 Miler. Check out Wolf Moon if he gets in.
PJ- Galant Nuit is the Ferdy Murphy plot horse this year, and if Nina rides, get on. Junior merits interest if he goes for the race.
MW- Also interested in Junior.
NF- Sam Winner- last race came too soon for him. Better fresh and it is not a great race this year.
PJ- If cut- Smad Place, but if not this could be a long priced winner this season (buy the race SP on the spreads).
MW- Sam Winner and Moose Moran (the latter NRNB)
PF- Sam Winner- a fair price. Watch out for A Media Luz at Aintree.
PJ- Kilcrea Kim. And if NR, then Champion Court.
NF- Back In Focus. Impressed with him at Haydock.
PF- Would back Back In Focus but needs cut. Probably Westmeath of Paul Nolan’s.
PF- Prefers Imperial Commander. Long Run too skinny and may not get 3m 2f.
NF- Prefer the older horses of which Denman is the pick.
MW- Can’t have Long Run who likes a flat track. Kempes is my pick but China Rock 66-1 ew is massive.
PJ- Long Run by default.
RJ- Snap Tie
PJ- Tanks For That. Laid out for the race.
MW- Tanks For That my nap of the meeting.
Naps Of The Meeting
PF- Time For Rupert
NF- Sam Winner
MW- Tanks For That
to The Eye of Sauron