Ante-post preview: 2020 Grand National
Tiger Roll made history in the Grand National in 2019, becoming the first back-to-back winner of the race since Red Rum in 1974, and given the manner of his success, it’s no surprise to see him heading the ante-post markets for the 2020 renewal.
Some firms have him priced up as low as 5/1, which obviously makes little if any appeal at the time of writing given that so much could happen between now and next April.
Also, the murmurs from Gigginstown boss Michael O’Leary post-race suggest that Tiger Roll isn’t certain to even run in next year’s Grand National, but he has been known to change his mind in the past, including this season when deciding to run Apple’s Jade in the Champion Hurdle.
The National Hunt Novices’ Chase at the Cheltenham Festival – known to many as the ‘four-miler’ – unsurprisingly has a good record of producing Grand National types, and this year’s winner Le Breuil (Timeform rating 147) has all the right attributes to go well in a National.
He had only run over three miles once before winning at Cheltenham, but he seemed to relish the increase in stamina in what was a slog of a race, with only four of the eighteen runners that went to the post finishing.
His whole performance was hard to mark down, too, typically jumping and travelling well until headed at the last, before rallying to lead again inside the final furlong to prevail by half a length under a determined ride from Jamie Codd.
A sound jumper, who clearly stays well, he looks a nice type for long-distance handicaps next season, and is worth getting on side now at a top price of 40/1.
Since the National fences became easier to negotiate following changes in 2013, it has since enticed connections’ of more high-class horses to take their chance each year, and with that in mind, Elegant Escape (161) is another horse who makes appeal at the current prices.
He was a smart novice in 2017/18 and has taken his form to a new level since, the highlight coming when winning the Welsh Grand National at Chepstow in December, justifying strong support having shaped with plenty of promise when finishing second in the Ladbrokes Trophy the time before.
Elegant Escape improved again to finish runner-up to Frodon on his next start in the Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham – form which now looks strong – despite shaping as though the drop back in trip was against him, and that statement was backed up further when he finished only sixth in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. His run in the Bowl Chase at Aintree is best ignored, turning in a lacklustre effort just three weeks on from the Gold Cup again over a trip short of his optimum.
He has looked as good as ever this campaign, catching the eye with the way he stayed on for second in the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby on his reappearance and again finishing strongly to take third in the Ladbrokes Trophy off top-weight.
The test that the Grand National will bring looks tailor-made for him and, if all goes well between now and then, he will almost certainly be shorter than the 25/1 that is on offer now.
Any Second Now (146) is another horse who shaped like a future Grand National contender when winning the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, outstaying another well-handicapped sort who also pulled clear of the third.
Owned by J.P. McManus, there’s every chance he is being trained with Aintree in mind this season, especially given that he firmly left the impression that the three and a quarter mile trip didn’t get to the bottom of his stamina reserves at the festival.
He was beaten by an exciting prospect in Battleoverdoyen in Grade 2 company over an inadequate trip last time and he looks well worth another try at a marathon trip, with the 33/1 on offer for the Grand National worth snapping up now.
Back Le Breuil at 40/1 in the 2020 Grand National
Back Elegant Escape at 25/1 in the 2020 Grand National
Back Any Second Now at 33/1 in the 2020 Grand National
Grand National 2020 News
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