Since the fences were radically modified, the main asset required in a Grand National hope is stamina. Only 9 in this field have run at this trip (in previous Nationals) none has won. Only 2 have run within two furlongs of this trip: Kimberlite Candy and Potters Corner, the latter winning the Midlands National.
I was quite keen On Any Second Now, but even though he has won well at Cheltenham in the Kim Muir, that’s still a mile short of what he faces here. Also, he wears blinkers, and if I recall correctly, that’s not a positive by any means, the theory being you need as much all round vision as possible to avoid trouble. Also, he ran so well in a decent two mile race last time, I find it very hard to believe he can bring the same level of form to a trip more than twice as far.
On the other hand the more I look at Burrows Saint the more convinced I become that if he gets normal luck, he wins. He showed plenty of stamina as a 6-y-o to win the Irish National after which he was reportedly earmarked by connections for a Grand National. Two years and six races later here we are. He ran a cracking trial last time behind stablemate Acapella Bourgeois (who re-opposes but has a lousy record in big fields) jumping well and just lacking fitness toward the end. He’s a good looker who goes well in this ground and has touch of class about him.
As backup I am betting Takingrisks, the 2019 Scottish Grand National winner, a tough and experienced campaigner who bounced back to form – and the best rating of his career – last time out on his second run after wind surgery. Again, given luck, he will stay the trip, is in form and will go well at a good price.
My final pick is a horse who loves the Mildmay track here on which he has won 3 from 4 (2nd on the other one): Minellacelebration. His stamina is untested beyond 3m2f, but his sire has produced 6 winners at 4 miles and his dam a winner at 3m2f. He’s far too big in price here, I think, with some bookies offering 100/1. A cursory glance at his formline shows 2 unseats in the past three runs, but neither was his fault. He was very badly hampered in one, and the other happened on the flat when his rider lost an iron. The ground is fine for him. This is his first run since wind surgery (January 21st) and he carries only 10.5. I’m confident he’ll outrun his odds.
I hope Cloth Cap runs well for Jonjo, but something about his committed running style suggests to me that he won’t last home, despite his fine run behind Takingrisks in the Scottish National. And like many in the sport I’d love to have seen Rachael Blackmore win this; what a breakthrough that would be. But Henry De Bromhead’s yard is in awful form, with 0 from 28 in the past 7 days and 1 from 34 in the past 14.
Finally, I’m surprised that no bookie has gone EW the first 8 or 9. Boylesports go 7 places, most of the others go 6, and a couple only 5. I’d always go for the 7, although Boylseports site is not the most user friendly.
Anyway, let’s hope every runner and rider comes home safe. Enjoy the race. I’ll probably post a few more tips for the other races in the morning.
Burrows Saint 8/1
All to 7 places EW Boylesports