Our pundits, Charlie McCann, Alan Thomson and Paul Ferguson fancy Arbor Supreme, Backstage and Don’t Push It to win the Grand National
Charlie McCann’s National Verdict: Arbor Supreme
The Grand National is the greatest horserace in the world and we have a vintage renewal on Saturday. The Bobbyjo Chase at Fairyhouse back in February could hold the key with the first three home The Midnight Club, Arbor Supreme and Oscar Time re-opposing. Having backed all three the nearer I get to the race the more I am taken by the chances of Arbor Supreme (4.15) who was still going well when unseating at the Chair last year.
Gordon Elliott’s burgeoning career took root when ‘cast-off’ Silver Birch caused an upset in the 2007 National and Backstage may well have made it a notable double last year but for getting caught up in a typical Aintree melee at the 20th fence when still travelling strongly. Silver Birch’s preparation included running in points and Elliott has adopted the same policy with Backstage. He is at his best on good ground, so his backers will be hoping the taps are kept turned off.
Similar ground requirements apply to Arbor Supreme. Willie Mullins is well represented in the big race and he adopted his tried and tested preparation route in the Bobbyjo Chase at Fairyhouse where Arbor Supreme served notice that he is reaching concert pitch.
Paul Ferguson’s National Verdict: Don’t Push It
The confidence behind last year’s winner Don’t Push It during the past couple of days seems significant once again, as he was heavily backed before the off last year, and I expect Jonjo O’Neill’s 11-year-old to put up another very bold show in tomorrow’s Grand National.
He is set to carry 5lbs more than last year, but is actually 7lb higher in the ratings having won off 153 last year and he now races off 160. However, if you watch last year’s race again, AP McCoy’s mount could have been called the winner someway from home and he was the easiest winner I can remember since Hedgehunter in 2005.
The following year he returned and put up a massive effort under top-weight to go down by just 6 lengths to Numbersixvalverde and I expect Don’t Push It to be involved again.