Wednesday, 3 April 2013


IMPERIAL COMMANDER   12 11-10   Nigel Twiston-Davies    Sam Twiston-Davies
F/UR 1  Dist 3m2f110y

The 2010 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner where he put up a brilliant performance to beat the mighty Denman. Also a former Paddy Power Gold Cup, Ryanair Chase and Betfair Chase winner. Only 4 runs since his Gold Cup win due to several injury setbacks but demonstrated that he retains plenty of his old ability when only just being touched off by Cape Tribulation in the Argento Chase in January.Entitled to come on from that run and although he missed the Gold Cup due to a infection he but could be thrown in here off a mark of 158 where he was rated as high as 185 at his peak and if anywhere near his best he will be the one to beat here.

WHAT A FRIEND                  10 11-9    Paul Nicholls                   Sam Thomas
F/UR 1 Dist 3m1f110y

Not far of the best chasers in the country a few seasons back. Duel grade 1 winning chaser thou has struggled slightly since finishing a excellent 4th in the 2011 Gold Cup. Ran in that seasons Grand National but was pulled up, possibly still feeling the effects of his exertions in the Gold Cup. Only one run this season when staying on to be 6th at Kempton. Wouldn't be out of it on his best form and does come here a fresh horse but comes here with a few questions marks over him

WEIRD AL                             10 11-8     Donald McCain             Timmy Murphy
F/UR 1 Dist 3m1f

High class chasers at his best but has been very inconsistent in recent seasons. The form of his 1st run of the season when only 7 lengths 4th behind the likes of Silviniaco Conti and Long Run would put him in with a shout here but pulled up on his two runs since and fell when beaten in this last year so very risky proposition here.

QUEL ESPRIT                        9 11-7       W P Mullins          
F/UR 2 Dist 3m

Classy Irish chaser who has a good strike rate over fences. Had jumping issues early in his career but they seem to have been ironed out now and he was the winner of  last seasons Irish Hennessy Gold Cup. Only one run so far this season when 4th in that same race he won last year and he did have some very high class opposition to contend with that day but the run should have bought him on nicely for this and Ireland leading trainer Willie Mullins wouldn't be sending him over to make up the numbers so a lively outsider.           

BIG FELLA THANKS            11 11-6      Tom George                  Denis O'Regan
F/UR 4 Dist 3m

Aintree specialist who will be running in his 4th Grand National. Missed the whole of last season through injury but has returned this season looking as good as ever and has already had a run over the National fences when 3rd in the Becher Chase in December. Has finished 6th,4th and 7th in his three runs in the National and has struggled to see out the trip on all three occasions and with 11-6 to carry this will be a big ask to improve on his previous attempts in the race but should still give his rider a great spin round and could still grab some minor place money.

ROBERTO GOLDBACK        11 11-6      Nicky Henderson           Barry Geraghty
F/UR 4 Dist 3m

Formally a very useful chaser in Ireland before being purchased by his new owner and transferred to Nicky Henderson's stable this season where on his 1st run he put up a impressive display to land a £100k chase at Ascot. Struggled since in heavy ground in the winter but ran much better at Kempton last time out and although there might be a question mark over his jumping if he take to the task here he has the ability to run a huge race here.

SEABASS                                 10 11-6      T M Walsh                     Ms K Walsh
F/UR 1 Dist 3m

Ran the race of his life to finish 3rd last season and was still upside when jumping the last after being towards the head of affairs from a long way out. Looked as good as ever this season in his two runs over in Ireland and although he has more weight to carry this year a reproduction of last years excellent run in the race would put him right in the mix again here.

BALLABRIGGS    c&d           12 11-4      Donald McCain              Jason Maguire
F/UR 1 Dist 4m4f

The 2011 Grand National hero and ran with great credit under a big weight to finish 6th last year. Will be running in his 3rd National this year and despite age he has showed plenty of zest in his three runs this season over inadequate trips. A big ask to expect him to win a 2nd Grand National at the age of 12 but more than capable of running into the first 6 again and comes from a stable who knows a thing or two about the Grand National.

SUNNYHILLBOY                   10 11-4      Jonjo O'Neill                 Richie McLernon
F/UR 1 Dist 3m1f110y

Came agonisingly close to winning last years Grand National when pipped on the post by Neptune Collonges. Tougher task this year with almost a stone more to carry and does not come into the race in the same kind of form as last year when he came into the race on the back of a victory at the Cheltenham Festival but really took to the challenge presented by the big fences last year and would be no surprise to see him return to his best here although its hard to see him improving on last years run with the extra weight he will be carrying.

TEAFORFREE                         9  11-3      Rebecca Curtis              Nick Schofield
F/UR 0 Dist 4m

Tough staying chaser who won the 4m NH chase at last years Cheltenham Festival. Excellent jumper and his best effort this season was when finishing 2nd giving plenty of weight to the lightly weighted Monbeg Dude under a inspired Paul Carberry ride in the Welsh National. Struggled around Haydock last time out but is easily forgiven for that effort as the sharp track there wouldn't this big bold jumping front runner and this Welsh trained 9 year old looks like a ideal type for this and must have a leading chance here.

ACROSS THE BAY                9  11-2      Donald McCain              Henry Brooke
F/UR 1 Dist 3m2f

Vastly improved chaser for Donald McCain this season under front running tactics winning under a big weight in heavy ground at Kelso then follwoing up when thrashing Cappa Bleu at Carlisle. Struggled under a big weight in the Welsh National but won his 3rd race of the season when reverting to hurdles at Haydock last time. A few have said he doesn't look the ideal type of horse for the race but entitled to take his chance after his excellent form in staying chases this season and could be in the shake up if he take it it but the big question is 'If he takes to it'.

JOIN TOGETHER                   8  11-2      Paul Nicholls                 Daryl Jacob
F/UR 1 Dist 3m1f110y

Useful novice last season and showed a liking for the Grand National course when a fast finishing 2nd to Hallo Bud in December. Can be forgiven for his latest effort at Doncaster when hampered early and losing all chance but form still a bit in and out and at the age of just 8 he may be one for another year but none the less respected as being in the care of Paul Nicholls last years winning trainer.

COLBERT STATION               9  11-1       T M Walsh                 AP McCoy
F/UR 0 Dist 3m

Lightly raced 9yo who was a impressive winner of the ultra competitive Paddy Power Chase at Leopardstown in December. Also won his warn up race over hurdles for this and his trainer Ted Walsh wouldn't be sending him over unless he was confident of a big run thou his lack of experience is a worry.

FORPADYTHEPLASTERER   11 11-0      Thomas Cooper        Andrew J McNamara
F/UR 0 Dist 3m

One time high class 2m chaser and was a Arkle winner in his novice days. Sound jumper but very hard to see him having the stamina for this marathon trip and would have been better off running in the shorter Topham Chase over the National fences.

ON HIS OWN                            9 11-0        W P Mullins             Ruby Walsh
F/UR 1 Dist 3m1f

Lightly raced 9yo. Impressive winner of last years Thyestes Chase in Ireland and was travelling very well when coming to grief at Bechers 2nd time around in this last year. Only one run since when winning a grade 2 novice hurdle in good style but hasn't run over fences since last years Grand National which is a slight worry but none the less he could well be the best handicapped horse in the race and one of the leading contenders.

JONCOL                                    10 10-13     Paul Nolan              Robbie Power
F/UR 0 Dist 3m

Formally a top class grade 1 winning chaser in Ireland but has lost his way over the last 18 months. On his best form he would have a great chance here off 10-13 but hard to be enthusiastic about his chances after his recent performances.

BALTHAZAR KING                9  10-12      Philip Hobbs            Richard Johnson
F/UR 0 Dist 3m7f

Useful staying chaser who won a valuable handicap chase at Cheltenham on his seasonal debut in October and also a Cheltenham Festival winner taking last years 3m7f Cross Country Chase so stamina shouldn't be a problem here and with no jumping issues to worry about judging on past performances he could run a big race.

CAPPA BLEU                         11 10-11       Evan Williams        Paul Moloney
F/UR 1 Dist 3m2f110y

Lightly raced 11yo who perhaps has not achieved what he could have for a horse of his ability. 4th in last years Grand National and when coming from a long way behind after being hampered at the Canal Turn. Trained with this one race in mind this season and ran a very encouraging race at Ascot last time out and providing he does not get as far behind as last year there is every chance he can improve on last years 4th.

 OSCAR TIME                         12 10-11       M M Lynch              Mr S Waley-Cohen
  F/UR 2 Dist 3m

Runner up in this in 2011 and also runner up in the Irish National in the past so no doubt on the stamina front but missed last years race though injury and has showed very little so far this season Return to Aintree could well spark a revival but at the age of 12 its very hard to see him matching his 2011 effort and a place in the first six here would about the best he can hope for here

ALWAYS WAINING  cx3      12 10-10       Peter Bowen             Tom O'Brien
F/UR 1 Dist 3m110y

Aintree specialist and winner of the 2m5f110y Topham Chase over the big fences for the last three years. Shows very little at any other tracks so his recent form wouldn't be a concern and although he fully deserves a crack at the Grand National after his success at the track there must be a big doubt of him seeing out this marathon trip but if his stamina hold up he could be a big player

TATENEN                                9 10-10       Richard Rowe            Andrew Thornton
F/UR 3 Dist 2m5f110y

Unseated his rider in this last year and useful chaser especially at Ascot at around 2m4f but failed to see out 3m there in February and impossible to see him seeing out this marathon trip.               

TREACLE                                12 10-9       T J Taffe                     A E Lynch
F/UR 1 Dist 3m2f

Useful Irish staying chaser and comes here in good form after winning at Down Royal last time out. Fell in this last year which was his only fall during his career could well do better this time but hard to see him being involved at the business end of the race and a place in the 1st eight probably about the best he can hope for.

LOST GLORY                          8  10-8       Jonjo O'Neill              Mark Walsh
F/UR 0 Dist 3m2f

Not run since October when winning at Chepstow in October after a highly successful summer jumping campaign but this is a a huge step up in class. Comes from highly respected connections though so may well jump round in his own time.

SWING BILL                           12 10-8       David Pipe                Conor O'Farrell
F/UR 0 Dist 3m110y

Likes Aintree and good 4th here in December and 10th in last years National. Sound jumper and although hard to see him doing much better than last years finishing position he should show up for a circuit or so.

SAINT ARE                              7  10-8       Tim Vaughan          Dougie Costello
F/UR 2 Dist 3m1f

Winner at the Grand National meeting the last two years but will most likely be two inexperienced at the age of just 7 for a race like this but could be one for another year.

CHICAGO GREY                    10 10-7       Gordon Elliott
F/UR 3 Dist 4m

One of the better handicapped horse in the field with a lovely weight to race off and has demonstrated his stamina for a marathon trip after winning the 4m NH chase at the 2011 Cheltenham Festival. Back to form to win grade 2 over a trip way short of his best on his most recent start but has had a few jumping issues in the past and was bought down in this last year but if that hasn't left any mental scars he could be a huge player here.

QUISCOVER FONTAINE          9 10-7        W P Mullins           D J Casey
F/UR 2 Dist 2m3f120y

Fell in last years Grand National and has never won beyond 2m4f although was 4th in the Irish National a few years ago which gives some hope he could stay this marathon trip but that was two years ago and despite being in the care if Willie Mullins its hard to stake a case for him

BECAUSEICOULDNTSEE     10 10-6       N F Glynn                Martin Ferris
F/UR 3 Dist 2m6f

Has run well at the Cheltenham Festival in recent years but has fallen in the last two Grand Nationals and would take a leap of faith to expect him to be a big player here.

HARRY THE VIKING              8 10-6        Paul Nicholls          Ryan Mahon
F/UR 0 Dist 3m2f

Developed into a useful staying novice chaser last season with his best effort finishing 2nd to Teaforfree over 4m at the Cheltenham Festival but has shown very little from over the last 12 months and is passed over.

RARE BOB                               11 10-6       D T Hughes            Bryan Cooper
F/UR 1 Dist 3m1f

Bought down at the pile up at the 5th in this last year but has been running well and shaping like a step up to a marathon trip would suit in Ireland this season. Grade 1 winning novice in his younger days and still retains plenty of ability so could well put up a bold show and also has a jockey in the shape of Bryan Cooper who is at the top of his game in the saddle.

THE RAINBOW HUNTER      9 10-6        Kim Bailey            Aidan Coleman
F/UR 2 Dist 3m

Fair staying chaser who took a fair staying chase at Ascot last season and was 4th in a quality handicap chase at the same track last time out behind some classy opposition but one feels he falls below the standard needed for a race such as this.

MR MOONSHINE                    9 10-5        Sue Smith             Peter Buchanan
F/UR 0 Dist 3m2f

His form very in and out this season though his form where 2nd only receiving 5 pounds to Cape Tribulation who was 5th in the Gold Cup reads very well he has shown very little in his two runs since that excellent effort and he is readily passed over.

MUMBLES HEAD                  12 10-4       Peter Bowen         Jamie Moore
F/UR 1 Dist 3m3f

Perth specialist but fell at the 1st on his only attempt over the National fences and very unlikely to figure here.

AURORAS ENCORE              11 10-3       Sue Smith            Ryan Mania
F/UR 2 Dist 3m1f

Experienced chaser who ran the race of his life last April to only narrowly be denied victory in the Scottish Grand National. Has shown very little this season but his form took a major upturn at this time last year so wouldn't be total shock to see him run a big race but still needs a major revival.

NINETIETH MINUTE             10 10-3      T J Taffe               Niall P Madden
F/UR 2 Dist 2m6f110y

One time very useful hurdler and hasn't performed badly since switched to the bigger obstacles and has the assistance of Grand National winning jockey Niall Madden in the saddle but is more than likely biting off more than he can chew here and very much looks the stables 2nd string.

TARQUINIUS                          10 10-2      Gordon Elliott       Wilson Renwick
F/UR 0 Dist 3m

Vastly improved chaser since being switched to leading Irish trainer Gordon Elliott this season winning three handicap chases and came very close to landing the prestigious Thyestes Chase at Gowan Park back in January. All his best form in heavy ground though and will most likely find things happening too quick for him here.

ANY CURRENCY                   10 10-0      Martin Keighley
F/UR 1 Dist 3m3f110y

Some good bits of form over the years. Good 3rd behind Tidal Bay in the Bet365 Gold Cup last year. 4th in a quality handicap at Cheltenham in November but form very in and out and not the profile you would be looking for in a National winner.

MAJOR MALARKEY              10 9-13    Nigel Twiston-Davies
F/UR 2 Dist 3m110y

Very in and out his form in recent seasons and although does have ability that he showed when narrowly failing to land the Midland National last year has done nothing of late to suggest he can have a say in a race as competitive as this.

BACKSTAGE                           11 9-12     Gordon Elliott
F/UR 1 Dist 3m1f110y

Multiple winner in point to points over in Ireland and has ran respectably in this in both 2010 and 2011 and no reason why he wont give his jockey a great spin round but unlikely he will be be anywhere near the prize money.

SOLL                                         8  9-12      Jo Hughes                   Mark Grant
F/UR 0 Dist 3m110y

Showed useful form in Ireland for Willie Mullins last season before being sold and transferred to be trained in England. Ran respectively in a very high class Hennessy Gold Cup to finish 8th 33 lengths behind Gold Cup winner Bobs Worth. Struggled in the Welsh National but looked good when making all to plough through desperate ground at Sandown last time out and is definitely one of the more interesting outsiders who looks a National type.




  1. Sir
    Do you provide daily selections? Your site is professional and well arranged.
    Stephen Smith newmarketsmith2@WordPress

    1. Hallo. Sorry for the delay replying. Have been very busy recently. My blogs vary from talking about upcoming races to my own experiences at the races