• Thu 19 Oct, 2017
  • 19:05 BST
  • 15:05 EST (BST-4)
  • 21:05 CEST (BST+2)

Fergie’s National Pointers

Paul Ferguson goes through the candidates for saturday’s Grand National and presents his early verdict. Compare odds and bet.

IMPERIAL COMMANDER                      12        11-10               158

  • 2010 Gold Cup winner
  • Fine comeback against Cape Tribulation (5th in Gold Cup)
  • Down 2 stone OR was 185 at peak and appeals as type to take to fences

WHAT A FRIEND                                       10        11-9                 157

  • Quirky and not won a race since the 2010 Grand National meeting
  • Pulled-up in the 2011 National and shown little since

WEIRD AL                                                   10        11-8                 156

  • Another quirky individual, who has failed to complete on four of his last five
  • Hard to fancy on the evidence we have of late and, even when in better form, his form tended to be better in the first half of the season (5 of his 6 career wins between October and December).

PRINCE DE BEAUCHENE                       10        11-7                 155

  • Sadly ruled out injured again

QUEL ESPRIT                                             9          11-7                 155

  • Potentially reasonably treated off 155 on best of his old form
  • Had jumping issues early days but Grade 1 winner
  • Belated return to action when 4/4 in Irish Hennessy (needed it)
  • Capable of going well at a price if getting into a rhythm early

BIG FELLA THANKS                                11        11-6                 154

  • 6th in 2009, 4th in 2010 and 7th in 2011, he clearly relishes the National course and he also finished third to Hello Bud in the Becher Chase in December
  • Won at Wincanton in January and ran well behind Pacha Du Polder
  • Entered in Topham but this the aim unless its really soft; doubtful stayer

ROBERTO GOLDBACK                           11        11-6                 154

  • Disappointing since winning on debut for Henderson at Ascot in November
  • Likes decent ground and races as though an extreme test of stamina will suit
  • Only won 4 times from 27 starts over fences, despite being classy on his day

SEABASS                                                      10        11-6                 154

  • 5lbs higher than when 3rd last year
  • 2nd over hurdles and 3rd to Roi Du Mee and PDB in Bobbyjo (staying on)
  • Must for any shortlist if ridden more aggressively up the inner
  • Testing ground would probably aid his chances further

BALLABRIGGS                                          12        11-4                 152

  • 2011 winner (off 150) and 6th last year (160)
  • Shaped well at Kelso last time in race he used as a prep last 2 years
  • Capable of going well but not getting any younger

SUNNYHILLBOY                                       10        11-0                 152

  • Up 10lbs since runner-up in last year’s race (5l ahead of Seabass)
  • Ran well in 5th behind Trustan Times then pulled up at Warwick
  • Missed Gold Cup (dirty scope allowing AP to ride Sir Des Champs)

TEAFORTHREE                                         9          11-3                 151

  • Won 4m NH Chase at last year’s Festival
  • Runner-up (144) in the Welsh National
  • Didn’t handle track (reportedly) when only 10th at Haydock
  • Front-runner who should attack these fences; goes on any ground

ACROSS THE BAY                                                9          11-2                 150

  • Won Rendlesham Hurdle last time and relishes heavy ground
  • Won twice over fences earlier in season (beat Cappa Bleu 28l)
  • 7th in Welsh National and doesn’t jump fluently enough for me

JOIN TOGETHER                                      8          11-2                 150

  • Useful novice last term (beat Teaforthree at Cheltenham in November 2011)
  • Runner-up on debut over these fences in the Becher in December (148)
  • PU in Grimthorpe after early error; run best ignored
  • Better ground will help and runs as though marathon trip will suit

BOB LINGO                                                 11        11-1                 149

  • Won twice last summer but disappointing since
  • Yet to win beyond 2m6f and serious stamina doubts

COLBERT STATION                                 9          11-1                 149

  • Won Paddy Power Chase and followed up over hurdles
  • 17lbs higher than PP win and would seem to relish soft ground
  • Clearly on the upgrade but form needs to take a step forward

TOFINO BAY                                               10        11-1                 149

  • Runner-up in NH Chase but unlikely runner by all accounts

FORPADYDEPLASTERER                      11        11-0                 148

  • 4 years since he won the Arkle and doubtful stayer over this trip

ON HIS OWN                                               9          11-0                 148

  • Still unexposed over fences after just 7 chase starts (won 3 times)
  • Off same mark as when falling at Bechers (2nd time) last year going well
  • Warmed up by beating Si C’Etait Vrai in Boyne Hurdle at Navan
  • Won Thyestes (125) last Jan and at Ayr in April 2011 (116)

JONCOL                                                       10        10-13               147

  • Rapidly dropped in ratings but not won since November 2011
  • Kept on past Quel Esprit to take 3rd in Irish Hennessy
  • Had earlier ran reasonably well behind Rule The World (nov hdl)
  • 3 years since he won the Irish Hennessy

LION NA BEARNAI                                   11        10-13               147

  • Won Irish National (135) but doubtful runner

BALTHAZAR KING                                  9          10-12               146

  • Not seen since Nov due to ground and missed Cross Country (won last year)
  • Relishes decent ground or better and a marathon trip (7 / 16 over fences)
  • Could go well if the ground dried out

BOSTONS ANGEL                                     9          10-11               145

  • Only won once since winning RSA Chase 2 years ago
  • 4th in Cross Country Chase last time

CAPPA BLEU                                              11        10-11               145

  • 4th last year and 2lb lower this time
  • Won 2009 and Foxhunters and only won once since
  • Peaking nicely after 2nd to Vino Griego (run well since)
  • Evan Williams knows how to ready one with State Of Play the example

OSCAR TIME                                              12        10-11               145

  • Runner-up to Ballbriggs 2 years ago off this mark
  • Disappointing of late, especially the last twice (last of 17 last time)

ALWAYS WAINING                                  12        10-10               144

  • Winner of the Topham for the past 3 seasons (128 / 133 / 138)
  • Clearly loves the track and these fences but serious stamina doubt for me

QUINZ                                                           9          10-10               144

  • Pulled-up in 2011 National after winning the Racing Post Chase
  • 4th in that contest last month and chances of going well if drying ground

TATENEN                                                    9          10-10               144

  • Unseated early in last year’s race and not shown much since
  • Did stay on to take 6th behind Alderwood in the Grand Annual last time
  • One time classy sort but hard to fancy these days (best at Ascot)

BESHABAR                                                  11        10-9                 143

  • Non-Runner

TREACLE                                                    12        10-9                 143

  • Fell at the 10th last year
  • Stayed on to win 3m2f heavy ground chase at Down Royal last time
  • Thorough stayer who would want really testing ground to aid his chance

LOST GLORY                                             8          10-8                 142

  • Progressive youngster winning 4 of last 5 and is 5 from 9 over fences
  • Stayed on well the last twice (Stratford off 127 and Chepstow off 135)
  • 175 day lay-off as doesn’t want soft ground; need the ground to dry out

SAINT ARE                                                  7          10-8                 142

  • Dual winner at this meeting (G1 Sefton and 3m1f h’cap chase last year)
  • Chased home Champion Court in a novice chase on only other Mildmay run
  • Shaped well behind Vino Griego & Cappa Bleu at Ascot
  • Midfield Kim Muir last time
  • Could go well but needs to brush up his jumping; prefers good ground

SWING BILL                                               12        10-8                 142

  • 10th last year and 4th in the Becher (also 5th in 2011 Topham)
  • Not getting any younger and hard to fancy

WYCK HILL                                                            9          10-8                 142

  • Non-Runner

CHICAGO GREY                                       10        10-7                 141

  • Won 2011 4m NH Chase at Cheltenham Festival beating Beshabar
  • Won for first time since last time (2m4f heavy ground at Navan)
  • Ideally prefers better ground and brought down early last year
  • Not always a fluent jumper, which is off-putting

MAGNANIMITY                                         9          10-7                 141

  • Not won since Jan 2011 and only 2 from 16 over fences in all
  • Shaped reasonably well in defeat a couple of times this season
  • Never won beyond 2m5f under rules (has also won a point)

QUISCOVER FONTAINE                         9          10-3                 141

  • Fell 17th last year and another doubtful stayer
  • Decent form over shorter over the years but yet to win beyond 2m4f
  • Did finish 4th in Irish National in 2011

BECAUSEICOULDNTSEE                       10        10-6                 140

  • Fell early on in each of the past two renewals
  • Ran much better than of late in the Kim Muir last time (tired into 5th)

HARRY THE VIKING                               8          10-6                 140

  • Runner-up to Teaforthree in last year’s NH Chase at Cheltenham
  • Not shown too much since and midfield in Hennessy & Kim Muir

RARE BOB                                                   11        10-6                 140

  • Completed the course in 2011 Becher and BD early on in last year’s race
  • Doesn’t win often (4 / 28 over fences) and others preferred

THE RAINBOW HUNTER                                    9          10-6                 140

  • 4th at Ascot in Feb behind Vino Griego, Cappa Bleu and Saint Are
  • Earlier won there in Nov and Southwell in May
  • Needs to take a big step forward on what he has shown to date

MR MOONSHINE                                       9          10-5                 139

  • Bits and pieces of form including 2nd to Cape T in Rowland Meyrick
  • Not won since November 2011 but goes on any ground
  • Would appeal more in the Topham

MUMBLES HEAD                                      12        10-4                 138

  • Rolled back the years to win twice in May & June last year
  • Faller at the 1st in Becher in December and hard to fancy

PEARLYSTEPS                                           10        10-4                 138

  • Just 1 from 11 over fences with that win coming at Hereford in Jan 2011
  • Not shown too much when 4th at Exeter and Ludlow this season

AURORAS ENCORE                                 11        10-3                 137

  • 50/1 winner at this meeting over hurdles in 2008
  • Just 5 wins from 23 chase starts and not shown great deal this season
  • Did finish head 2nd to Merigo in Scottish National last year

NINETIETH MINUTE                               10        10-3                 137

  • Coral Cup winner back in 2009 and only won once since
  • Runner-up to Treacle last time and best form over shorter

TARQUINIUS                                              10        10-2                 136

  • Looked useful when winning on New Year’s Day but only off 113
  • Runner-up on penultimate start but a lot more needed in this company

ANY CURRENCY                                      10        10-0                 134

  • Only 9th in the cross country race last time and not the quickest of stayers
  • Did win at Wincanton earlier in the season over 3m3f but fell in Becher

MAJOR MALARKEY                                10        9-13                 133

  • 5th in that Vino Griego Ascot race
  • PU Midlands National last time (after 1st) as if something were wrong

POKER DE SIVOLA                                  10        9-13                 133

  • Winner of the 2010 NH Chase and also the Bet365 Gold Cup in 2011
  • 7th in the Becher when last seen
  • Could outrun his odds if ground dried out; prefers good

BACKSTAGE                                              11        9-12                 132

  • Multiple point to point winner who was tailed off in Foxhunter recently
  • UR at 20th in 2010 and finished 8th in Fox Hunters here in 2009

SOLL                                                             8          9-12                 132

  • P-T-P winner who won over hurdles for John Quinn
  • Won beginners’ chase for Willie Mullins before BD in NH Chase
  • Sent off just 8/1 that day in the race won by Teaforthree
  • Midfield in Hennessy and Welsh National; won at Sandown recently
  • Looks in need of a marathon trip and could go well if sneaking in

ROMANESCO                                             8          9-11                 131

  • Runner-up to Colbert Station and third in Kim Muir last time
  • Entered in the Irish National (Monday) and the Topham

VIKING BLOND                                         8          9-11                 131

  • Fell at 1st last year
  • Placed this year behind Monbeg Dude (Cheltenham) and On Trend (Sandown)
  • 5th in Haydock Trial last time

CLOUDY LANE                                          13        9-10                 130

  • Much more likely to run in the Fox Hunters’ on Thursday

PENTIFFIC                                                  10        9-8                   128

  • Not in same form as last season despite winning at Musselburgh in Jan
  • Unlikely to get in and Aidan Coleman booked to ride The Rainbow Hunter

GULLIBLE GORDON                               10        9-6                   126

  • 6th in Becher on penultimate start but unlikely to get a run

MORTIMERS CROSS                                12        9-6                   126

  • Won at Kelso in December but well beaten the last twice
  • Unlikely to get in


Like fellow columnist Charlie (McCann) I’m a big fan of On His Own but quite whether he deserves to be as short as 7/1 is another matter.  If you’re not on already at bigger odds, you may want to look elsewhere for a bit of value in a race so competitive.

Last year’s placed horses Sunnyhillboy, Seabass and Cappa Bleu all have to be greatly respected, while of the remainder Teaforthree looks capable of a bold show and is the pick of those without experience of the fences for me.  Finally, Imperial Commander is handicapped to go well despite being burdened with top-weight.

Compare all today’s horse racing odds and bet at the best prices

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Last Year’s Book Results – Leading Prospects:

  • SPRINTER SACRE – Unbeaten – winner at Aintree & Cheltenham
  • SIMONSIG – Winner at Aintree & Cheltenham
  • CINDERS AND ASHES – 10/1 winner of Supreme Novices Hurdle
  • BOBS WORTH – 9/2 winner of the RSA Chase
  • MENORAH & SILVINIACO CONTI – Both Aintree Winners
  • SIR DES CHAMPS – Unbeaten inc 3/1 Jewson Cheltenham Winner
  • FINGAL BAY – Won 4 times inc Challow Hurdle
  • RAYA STAR – 10/3 winner at Wetherby, 12/1 Ladbroke Hurdle winner, 15/2 Scottish Champion Hurdle winner
  • AMBION WOOD – 14/1 EBF Final Sandown winner
  • CHAMPION COURT – 6/1 G2 Dipper Novices Chase winner
  • PALACE JESTER – 14/1 winner at FFos Las
  • SWINCOMBE FLAME – Hat-trick winner inc Lanzarote Hurdle at 9/2
  • TEAFOR THREE – 5/1 NH Cheltenham Chase winner (Manifesto Novices’ Chase)

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