• Thu 8 Dec, 2016
  • 23:59 GMT
  • 19:59 ET (GMT-4)
  • 01:59 CET (GMT+2)

Charlie’s Grand National Whispers

Former Talksport presenter Charlie McCann considers the entire Grand National card and picks out his fancies for the Big Race itself.

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The Grand National is the greatest horserace in the world and we have a vintage renewal this afternoon. 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.

We at are betting ¼ odds first 6 in the National and you won’t find many better offers than that! Last year the punters got behind Don’t Push It and AP McCoy and the same combination are looking to become the first horse since Red Rum back in 1974 to win back-to-back and under top weight.

John Smith’s Grand National: ew ¼ odds 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6

The Midnight Club 10/1
Don’t Push It 11/1
What A Friend 11/1
Backstage 12/1
Oscar Time 12/1
Silver By Nature 16/1
Ballabriggs 14/1
Arbor Supreme 16/1
Big Fella Thanks 16/1
20s Bar

Peddlers Cross who won the opener on the card last year can follow up in the Aintree Hurdle due off at 2.50 on Saturday. The selection lost nothing in defeat in the Champion Hurdle when only Irish superstar Hurricane Fly was too good and the return to this 2m 4f trip should see him back in the winners’ enclosure.

There was certainly no disgrace in losing his unbeaten record to “The Fly” who had long been considered something quite exceptional by Willie Mullins. Whilst Peddlers Cross lacked the pace of the Irish runner he gave his all up the Cheltenham hill and I think the return to this distance will suit.

The presence of last year’s Champion Hurdle winner Binocular certainly adds spice to what promises to be a great race. I must say I’ve never considered Binocular to be anything other than a speed horse and with Peddlers Cross already holding a verdict over the former Champion this season (Fighting Fifth at Newbury) I can see him confirming the form over this trip.

Cue Card (1.45) steps back up to 2m 4f and the scene of his first success over hurdles and he is likely to meet a couple of Festival runners up in the shape of Spirit Son (Supreme) and Rock On Ruby (Neptune Hurdle). This looks one of the races of the Festival and Recession Proof is another who connections believe will appreciate the step up in trip on ground that is likely to be watered after a warm dry day on Friday.

Finian’s Rainbow looked the winner of the Arkle for much of the race last time and will have a favourite’s chance in the Novice Chase over 2m. He failed to repel the late challenge of Captain Chris with Ghizao (2.15) well held in fifth. The immediate reaction of connections of the latter was to step the selection up in trip but this doesn’t look the strongest of renewals and I will give Ghizao another chance.

Great Endeavour wasn’t given the best of rides by Timmy Murphy at the Festival and he is likely to be ridden with considerably more restraint in the valuable handicap chase which directly precedes the National. The best handicapped horse in the race is Reve De Sivola (3.25) but how will his jumping hold up? The first-time cheek-pieces allowed the horse to travel better than he often does and he didn’t have the best of passages at Cheltenham. He cannot be a confident selection given the concerns with his jumping but, granted a clear round, he must go close.

Cheltenian who landed the Cheltenham Bumper may have been fortunate to survive a Stewards’ Inquiry at Kempton previously when he gave Montbazon (5.35) a bump at the furlong mark. The latter subsequently scored at Doncaster and the Aintree Bumper was immediately nominated as his target by trainer Alan King. He was receiving 10lbs from Cheltenian at Kempton but that was an excellent effort first time out and I remember King swerving the Festival with Lidar a couple of years ago. That one was backed off the boards at Aintree but, much to my chagrin, finished runner up after meeting trouble in running and finishing three-quarters of a length behind 66/1 winner Sitting Tennant.

Whoever you fancy in the Big One the very best of luck and for all your sporting odds including 6 places in the National check out

Be lucky

Charlie

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