Three to Note in the Grand National

Three to Note in the Grand National
© PA

The infamous Grand National at Aintree Racecourse is here and Racing TV's expert Donn McClean has selected three horses to take note of for this year's renewal that may be good value with the best betting sites in the current ante-post market.


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Minella Times - 9yo Gelding, Henry de Bromhead

Minella Times’ win last year will live long in the memory. When the realisation dawned, as they raced to the Elbow, that Rachael Blackmore was going to win the Grand National. All that was missing was the people.

The people will be back this year, as they were at Cheltenham, when Honeysuckle won the Champion Hurdle, when A Plus Tard won the Gold Cup, and Rachael Blackmore became the first jockey to lift both trophies in the same week since AP McCoy did so in 1997.



History tells you that it’s not going to be easy for Minella Times to win again this year. He is 15lb higher in the handicap than he was last year, he now has top weight of 11st 10lb to carry, and Tiger Roll is the only horse to win back-to-back-renewals of the Grand National since Red Rum achieved the feat in 1973 and 1974.

That said, JP McManus’ horse relished the challenge last year, he looked like a natural over the unique fences, and it appeared that he won with a fair bit more in hand than the bare winning margin of six and a half lengths.

Trainer Henry de Bromhead reported last week that his horse is in really good form, and you know that he will have him primed, just like he had him primed last year.

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Farclas - 9yo Gelding, Gordon Elliott

Farclas ran well for a long way in last year’s Grand National. He travelled well through his race, he jumped the big fences well, and he was right there in the leading group as they rounded the home turn. He just tired from the second last fence, but he still kept on well enough to finish fifth.

Gordon Elliott’s horse was only seven last year, and no seven-year-old has won the big race since Bogskar triumphed in 1940. That was the last Grand National run before the war years. It was 82 years ago. By contrast, four of the last six winners were eight.


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Farclas should be stronger and more mature this year, better equipped for the rigours of the Grand National than he was last year. The Gigginstown House Stud’s horse is a classy individual, he won the Triumph Hurdle as a four-year-old, as well as that big run in the Grand National last season.

He also finished second to The Shunter in the Paddy Power Plate at the Cheltenham Festival on his last run before Aintree. This season, he finished second behind Run Wild Fred in the Troytown Chase at Navan in November.

It is not ideal that he hasn’t run since then, but he has run well fresh in the past, and a handicap rating of 152 sees him set to carry 11st 1lb, which is more than manageable.

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Longhouse Poet- 8yo Gelding, Martin Brassil

A high-class novice hurdler, it took Longhouse Poet four attempts before he got off the mark over fences last season, but he was good when he did, stepping up in trip to an extended three miles and staying on strongly to get the better of Run Wild Fred and The Big Dog in a beginners’ chase at Punchestown on New Year’s Eve 2020.

Martin Brassil’s horse didn’t run again until he returned almost a year later in the Tim Duggan Chase at Limerick’s 2021 Christmas Festival, and he showed the benefit of that outing when he won the Thyestes Chase at Gowran Park the following month.


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Interestingly, Martin Brassil won the Thyestes Chase with Numbersixvalverde in January 2005, before he sent the Broken Hearted gelding to Fairyhouse the following March to win the Irish Grand National. Then he took him to Aintree in 2006 and won the Grand National.

It is probable that his trainer has had the Grand National in mind for Longhouse Poet for a little while. He is a progressive young staying chaser, who will get to race off a handicap rating of 155 on Saturday, 10lb higher than the mark off which he won the Thyestes Chase. Numbersixvalverde won the Grand National off a mark that was 21lb higher than the mark off which he won the Thyestes.

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