John Smiths Grand National 2009 Tips

On Saturday April 4th at 4-15pm it’s the world’s greatest race, The John Smiths Grand National from Aintree. The famous fences, Becher’s Brook, The Canal Turn, Valentines Brook and The Chair are formidable enough but then throw in the fact the race is 4 ½ miles long and that’s what makes this race so special. This year will be just as difficult to win as any other year but if we look closely we can pick out one or two pointers that might just help.

Let’s start with jockeys and there are no bigger names in the sport than A.P.McCoy and Ruby Walsh.
McCoy has the choice of four mounts, Butler’s Cabin, Reveillez, L’Ami and Can’t Buy Time. A.P. rode Butler’s Cabin last year and the horse was tanking along when he fell at Becher’s 2nd time round. Having already won an Irish National, Butler’s Cabin has been trained specifically with this race in mind and his astute trainer Jonjo O’Neill has him nicely coming in to form after a very promising run at the Cheltenham Festival. McCoy will choose nearer the race which horse he rides but Butler’s Cabin will be difficult for him to desert.

Ruby Walsh has already ended speculation by announcing he will ride My Will the current 7/1 favourite. My Will recently finished 5th in the Cheltenham Gold Cup behind the likes of Kauto Star and Denman and having had only two runs this season he comes in to the race a fresh horse. The going has been a decisive factor in Walsh’s choice of ride. If it was on the soft side Walsh may well have chosen to ride Southern Vic for his father Ted as the same combination was successful in 2000 on Papillon.

Last year’s winner Comply Or Die again teams up with Timmy Murphy. His trainer David Pipe has shrewdly kept the blinkers off this season until his run at Cheltenham when he showed much more of a spark and a hint of coming back to form at the right time. A proven jumper and another fresh horse, Comply Or Die is set to run another big race.

From 3 jockeys with plenty of Aintree experience to a promising youngster. James Reveley has been getting plenty of praise this year and it’s a real family concern with the 11 year old Rambling Minster. He is trained by James’ father Keith and has won over 4 miles at Kelso and put up the best performance of his life when winning last time at Haydock over 3 miles 4 furlongs. Rambling Minster is a sound jumper, he has never fallen, and may well press My Will as favourite on the day of the race.

Now for the trainers. We cannot go any further without mentioning Paul Nicholls, the master of Ditcheat. He has 4 entries this year, My Will, Eurotrek, Big Fella Thanks and Cornish Sett. Big Fella Thanks has improved leaps and bounds this year starting the season still a novice. He has had only 6 races over fences but Nicholls has decided the time is right for this improved performer. Eurotrek is coming back from a long lay-off. His last race was the 2007 Grand National won by Silver Birch when he was pulled up but he was previously a winner of the Becher Chase in November 2006. Lastly we have Cornish Sett who finished 12th last year.  Cornish Sett finished 2nd in the Welsh National to the improving Irish horse Notre Pere and should at least get round.
Donald McCain Jnr runs topweight Cloudy Lane who started joint favourite with Comply Or Die last year. Cloudy Lane ran well enough to be 6th but he may struggle this year with so much weight..
The Irish come over mob handed with 11 entries in the top 40. Black Apalachi and Hear The Echo are the main contenders but there has been a bit of a nibble at the Willie Mullins trained Irish Invader who is now as low as 16/1 in some places. He has won his last 3 races  but they were at much shorter distances. However if you see money for a Mullins horse you have to take note. The 2007 winner Silver Birch has recently come back from injury but looks as though he may struggle this year as his recent form is not up to the standard required. Snowy Morning was 3rd last year but has not quite been in the same form this year and Chelsea Harbour who was bang there 2 out last year may prove best of the two this time around.

Charlie Egerton does not have many jumpers in his yard but has a fine Aintree record.  He trained Mely Moss to finish 2nd in 2000 to Papillon and this year he has a live chance with Darkness. Another horse to come back from injury, Darkness has plenty of class having finished 3rd in a Sun Alliance Novices Chase to Star De Mohaisson. Back this year with a promising 1st run Darkness came good last time at Newbury and is one runner that has a touch of class near the bottom of the handicap.

Finally a dark horse for the race. As only 40 horses can run in the race there will be 4 reserves named. At number 41 we have Majimar. It is easy to forget him as he is not officially in the race yet but if he does get in he is one of the best handicapped horses in the race. He has had only 2 runs this year and last time finished 2nd at Cheltenham to Wichita Lineman having looked all over the winner. Should he get in the race he could be the plunge horse on the day of the race. He is running off the same rating as last time, 138, but if the handicapper had his way he would be going up a few pounds in the weights.

To Summarise I think if Maljimar gets in the race the 33/1 on offer at the moment is a huge price and you can bet n/r no bet with most firms so it rates a 5 start bet.

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