Grand National Horses

With only a week to go until the John Smith’s Grand National betting it’s time to take a look at the leading contenders for the world’s greatest steeplechase. The ground is currently good to soft, soft in places and with the outlook for the next 7 days seemingly bleak conditions will be testing.
Cloudy Lane has been the clear favourite ever since beating fellow contender Mr Pointment out of sight at the beginning of March. That race was over 3 and a quarter miles which could be his optimum trip. Both times he has gone further than that distance he has struggled. He is currently around the 6/1 mark but I would expect that to lengthen on the day itself.
The strong Irish challenge is spear headed by Slim Pickings. The 9-year-old finished third last year beaten only 2 lengths by Silver Birch. He has been kept to shorter distances this season but a good second in a handicap hurdle in December beating some good staying chasers show he is still in good heart.
Comply Or Die has found his form of old this season. This was a classy horse finishing second in the Royal & SunAlliance Chase and fourth in both the Royal & SunAlliance Hurdle and Hennessy Gold Cup in his heyday. A return to form this season has seen him finish second to Cloudy Lane at Haydock and gain a victory in the 4m1f Eider Chase at Newcastle on his last start.
Bewleys Berry is a real course star. Finishing twice in the last two running’s of the shorter Becher Chase he also put up a massive performance in last year’s Grand National travelling well before falling on the second circuit. He clearly likes it around these bigger fences and saves his best races for Aintree.
Simon ran well in last year’s race before coming down six fences from home. Some good performances this year though have left him 8lbs higher in the handicap which could prove a big burden.
Butler’s Cabin, the choice of AP McCoy, is packed with stamina having won both the 4m1f National Hunt Chase and the Irish Grand National in 2007. His runs have been below par this season but have been over shorter distances. He is yet to taste the National fences but could put in a huge run if he takes to them well.
King Johns Castle, another hope of Ireland, was a good novice last year and has put in some fine performances this season notably when second in the Pierse Handicap Chase at Leopardstown. Stamina could be an issue though as he has never run beyond 3 miles.
Mr Pointment was the favourite for this since winning the Becher Chase at this course in November. However he has drifted in the betting since disappointing massively at Doncaster and breaking a blood vessel. He also has a huge weight to carry.
Snowy Morning’s best performance to date was when chasing home subsequent Gold cup winner Denman at Cheltenham last year. He has put in some good runs in top Irish races this year and off a nice weight of 11-1 he could surprise a few people.
McKelvey was last year’s runner-up in this race. He didn’t run again until this month and has put up two poor performances over hurdles. His stable has not been in form but he could reserve his best races for this course.

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