RacingBreaks’ Pin stickers Grand National Guide

RacingBreaks’ Pin stickers guide to the 2017 Randox Health Grand National

It is worth noting that in 1973, ahead of Red Rum’s first of 3 Grand National wins, The Guardian’s description of him in their Pinstickers guide went as follows: "Red Rum is the word 'murder' spelt backwards, and that's what he'll find this". Let’s hope we have more success…

I will give each horse a rating out of 10 based on their chances.

1. The Last Samuri (16/1)

Finished 2nd in this race a year ago off 10-7, he runs off a top weight of 11-10 this year which may prove too big an ask. The ground went against him last year with it turning soft at the very last minute, so the recent dry weather and forecast dry ground will have pleased trainer Kim Bailey greatly. Kim Bailey won this race 27 years ago with Mr Frisk and has been delighted with The Last Samuri’s preparation. All the stats are against him as no top-weight has won the race since the aforementioned Red Rum in 1974. 6/10

2. More Of That (14/1)

The class horse in the race. More Of That won the World Hurdle back in 2014 and leading trainer Jonjo O’Neill earlier this season described him as the best horse he has ever trained. He is however, not an easy horse to get right and he will need things to go right for him. There are too many question marks around him to get involved in the prices but it would be no surprise to see him in the shake-up. Barry Gerraghty’s pick over Cause Of Causes a huge positive too. 7/10

3. Shantou Flyer (66/1)


Only 7 years old and no 7-year-old has won this race since the legendary Golden Miller in 1934! However, if you ignore his age, he has a lot going for him. He has decent form against some top-class horses and looks like a horse crying out for this step up in trip. Stats are there to be broken and I’m willing to take a chance. 8/10

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Free bet up to £200. Place a bet on the Grand National and get a free bet of any stake up to £200. Click image or here

4. Perfect Candidate (50/1)

Jumps and stays well but this ground could be a bit lively for him. He has shot up the weights after romping home in the Veterans’ Chase at Exeter and it would be a shock to see him win. Far from the Perfect Candidate. 3/10

5. Saphir Du Rheu (20/1)

Won a Grade 1 at Aintree 2 years ago, when looking like a horse with a very exciting future. He has not lived up to the hype since then but finished a very promising 5th in the Gold Cup 3 weeks ago, and he is well in at the weights as a result. That performance gives him a shout if he can stay this 4 ½ miles but I have my doubts. 5/10

6. Roi Des Francs (66/1)

Ridden by 17-year-old and jockey of the moment, Jack Kennedy and trained by this year’s leading Cheltenham trainer, Gordon Elliot – this is a duo to be taken very seriously. However, most of Roi Des Francs best form has been with soft underfoot conditions and looks badly handicapped too. 4/10

7. Wounded Warrior (66/1)

Under the same Gigginstown-ownership as Roi Des Francs which is led by Ryanair supremo Michael O’Leary. O’Leary has portrayed himself as a victim of Phil Smith’s anti-Irish handicapping bias this year and this horse certainly does look poorly handicapped on his Irish form, but as they say, a wounded deer leaps the highest. Unfortunately, this “deer” is a poor jumper and won’t be winning here. 3/10

8. Wonderful Charm (40/1)

Finished runner up in the Cheltenham Foxhunter in March staying on well, indicating that a step up in trip will hold no fears. Ridden by leading female jockey and sister of Ruby, Katie Walsh, this will be a fantastic story if he can be successful but he was pulled-up last year and that is a huge worry. 4/10

9. Tenor Nivernais (40/1)

Tenor Nivernais is sure to give a bold sighting for Grand National winning duo Liam Treadwell and Venetia Williams. He is an exuberant jumper and likes to do it from the front, but he jumped violently out to the right when 2nd at Kelso in early March and that must have been corrected if he is to have any chance. He is effectively 10lbs well in on the weights after his 30 length demolition of Go Conquer at Ascot in February but I don’t think this race will suit him at all. 4/10

10. Blaklion (14/1)

Ridden by in-form jockey Noel Fehily and trained by dual-national winning trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies, Blaklion must be of interest. He isn’t the biggest horse but lives up to his name and has the heart of a lion. He was 2nd to this year’s favourite at Haydock’s National trial, having made a serious mistake very early on. The drying ground will suit him more than the favourite and has that bit of class that you need to win. 9/10

11. Drop Out Joe (66/1)

Goes best when fresh and he surely must be as fresh as fresh can be as this is his first run since June. The drying ground is a positive and if he can take to the National Fences then 66/1 is far too big a price. 6/10

12. Le Mercurey (50/1)

Can Le Mercurey rise to the occasion? I have my doubts. Another 7-year-old who has an 83-yearlong statistic to content with and unless this extra trip can bring out a huge amount of improvement, he will come up short. 4/10

13. The Young Master (20/1)

Although he fell over National fences in December, he has plenty going for him. Sam Waley-Cohen, part-time jockey and full-time dentist, certainly knows the drill here at Aintree. The ground will be perfect for Neil Mulholland’s eight-year-old and he ran an eye-catching trial at Cheltenham last month. 7/10

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14. Cause Of Causes (14/1)

Cause Of Causes made it 3 Cheltenham Festival wins on the bounce in 3 different races – a remarkable achievement. I love this horse – he won his first ever race in France, a flat race over 1 mile 3 furlongs and his win at Cheltenham last month was over 3 miles 6 furlongs! He has a wonderful attitude and his jumping over the Cross Country fences at Cheltenham stands him in good stead here. The CoddFather (Jamie Codd) takes the ride and he knows the horse better than anyone. The ground and trip suit him well and at 9 years of age, he should be in his prime. 10/10

15. Regal Encore (40/1)

We go from one JP McManus owned horse to another but I don’t feel they match up too favourably. Form figures of PPP2PP1P show how inconsistent he is and it is hard to be confident. 2/10

16. Vieux Lion Rouge (11/1 jt fav)

2/2 from this season including a last-gasp victory over the National fences in December. He looks solid enough and definitely has stamina on his side but I won’t be rushing to back him at 11/1 particularly considering the ground. 6/10

17. Definitly Red (11/1 jt fav)

Another horse who is well in at the weights having brushed aside The Last Samuri by 14 lengths at Doncaster in the Grimthorpe Chase. He is very progressive and relishes a stamina test. Hard to pick too many holes in his form. 8/10

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18. Ucello Conti (20/1)

Jumped poorly in this last year when finishing 6th but the better ground will suit him much better. He looks solid enough and will probably be in the mix if getting round but hard to see him winning off the same mark. 5/10

19. Double Shuffle (50/1)

50/1 could prove a huge price if he improves for another step up in distance. He has progressed extremely well and the ground will be right up his street. Another 7-year-old that must defy the statzzzzzzzz 4/10

20. Houblon Des Obeaux (50/1)

Admirable veteran who stays very well but the ground has gone against him and he’s still plenty high enough in the weights. 2/10

21. Pleasant Company (14/1)

Ruby Walsh’s mount and he is very unexposed. His best form is on a softer surface and lack of tangible form means it is hard to be confident. 5/10

22. One For Arthur (11/1)

Was very impressive when winning at Warwick last time out. He was fitted with a first-time tongue tie that day that brought out significant improvement. Took to the national fences well in December – the only negative would be the ground with his most impressive win coming when the ground was soft. 6/10

23. Ballynagour (66/1)

Pulled up in all three starts so far this season and is a bit of a rogue. He runs best when fresh which is the only encouragement you can have in the 11-year-old. 2/10

24. O’Faolains Boy (66/1)

Potentially overpriced here. He has been pulled-up twice this season but on his best form, particularly on this drier ground, he is overpriced at 66/1. 5/10

25. Highland Lodge (25/1)

Another horse that runs his best races when fresh and was last seen when finishing an unlucky 2nd to Vieux Lion Rouge in December. He relishes these fences and is one of the more solid each-way contenders. 8/10

26. Bishops Road (66/1)

He stays well but loves it like a bog. Very capable but I can see it all happening far too quickly for him. 2/10

27. Lord Windermere (50/1)

2014 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner and has Grand National Specialist jockey Leighton Aspell on board. He will love the surface but he tends to find himself too far back in races like this. Will need some luck to go close and won’t be carrying any of my money… 2/10

28. Saint Are (40/1)

2nd to Many Clouds 2 years ago off 143 and was pulled-up when fancied last year. Races off 1lb higher than last year and 4lbs higher than in 2015 so you’d have to say that the handicapper has his mark. 4/10

29. Vicente (16/1)


Bought by the hugely successful Grand National owner Trevor Hemmings, the Scottish National winner has slipped down the weights and fits the bill here. 8/10

30. Just A Par (50/1)

Tailed off behind Rule The World last year and hard to see him getting close this year. 1/10

31. Measureofmydreams (40/1)

3rd behind Minella Rocco and Native River at Cheltenham last year which pointed to a top-class stayer but has disappointed since. High enough in the weights still and hasn’t shown enough this season to warrant a bet. 3/10

32. Raz De Maree (33/1)

He is 12 now and no 12-year-old has won this race since 2004. He has plenty of experience thus but his best form is on a softer surface (2nd to Native River in the Welsh National). 3/10

33. Stellar Notion (40/1)

Serious stamina doubts and his mark has continued to rise despite not winning. He is a great jumper and should give David Mullins an enjoyable spin! 3/10

34. Rogue Angel (25/1)

Bryan Cooper’s choice of 5 Gigginstown horses must put him in the mix. He won the Irish National last year and jumps and stays very well. Eye-catching 5th last time out but he is another horse who would like some rain. 6/10

35. Cocktails At Dawn (80/1)

Won’t make it round. 1/10

36. Thunder And Roses (33/1)

Jumped poorly over these fences in the 2015 Becher Chase but has good form over long distances. He has started to show some form in his last handful of starts but hard to see him winning. 4/10

37. Gas Line Boy (80/1)

He fell at the very first fence in this race 2 years ago and looks well held on form behind Vieux Lion Rouge and Blaklion. 3/10

38. Goodtoknow (80/1)

Prefers softer ground and tends to jump out to the right. 2/10

39. La Vaticane (125/1)

No mare has won this race for 66 years and it would be a surprise if La Vaticane was anointed as the Grand National winner at 5:30 on Saturday. 1/10

40. Doctor Harper (66/1)

Has just scraped into the race at the very last minute. He flatters to deceive but he is one at a big price that if everything were to fall into place can go close. The ground and the trip will suit and David Pipe knows how to ready one for this race. 7/10



1. Cause Of Causes 14/1

2. Blaklion 14/1

3. Shantou Flyer 66/1

4. Highland Lodge 25/1

5. Definitly Red 11/1

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Samantha Hills