• Sun 25 Sep, 2022
  • 06:30 BST
  • 02:30 EST (BST-4)
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Fergie’s 2019 Grand National

Paul Ferguson previews this year’s  Randox Health Grand National at Aintree with his 1-2-3-4. Compare odds |

Willie Mullins appears to hold a strong hand in this year’s Randox Health Grand National and RATHVINDEN is taken to provide the County Carlow trainer with a second win in the Aintree showpiece. The winner of the 4m National Hunt Chase as a novice last March, we have seen him just once this season, when running out a smooth winner of the Bobbyjo Chase, a race Mullins saddled Hedgehunter to win in 2005 before winning his National.

I actually found it quite difficult to split him and last year’s runner-up Pleasant Company, who certainly shouldn’t go un-backed, given his brilliant run 12 months ago. In comparison with the winner, he still appears to have been relatively over-looked in the market (although he has shortened a bit in the past week or so) and he has jumped for fun around the track in each of the past two renewals. Apart from one serious mistake in 2017, his performances at the course have been difficult to fault and his prep in the Thyestes Chase at Gowran Park during January was a more encouraging effort than his run 12 months earlier. It would appear that his season has once again been geared towards another crack at the National and whilst the statistics suggest it is difficult to win the race having hit the frame previously, he is another to back each-way.

That damming statistic – 1 winner in the past 35 years had won or placed in the race previously – is also a negative for market leader Tiger Roll, but he has to be on any shortlist. His current price (which is skinny, but is sure to drift on the morning of the race) is off-putting from a value perspective and the weights rising might also be a negative for him – given that he is only a small horse – but he has been in rude health this season and another big run looks on the cards. After winning the Boyne Hurdle at Navan, the nine-year-old bolted up in the Cross Country Chase at the Cheltenham Festival and arrives at Aintree at the top of his game.

Away from last year’s front two, the other horse which I like is the youngest in the field, Ramses de Teillee. Being seven is a slight concern, although younger horses (admittedly 8 and 9, with not too many seven-year-old with genuine claims taking their chance) have begun to do well since the modifications to the track/fences. Likewise, French-bred horses have a decent record in the race of late (from a relatively small representation) so I’m prepared to take a chance with David Pipe’s grey, as my lively outsider. Runner-up at Haydock in the Grand National Trial last time, my initial thought was that he would be a doubtful stayer at Aintree, but on reflection it was a sound effort and he wasn’t stopping at the line. Similarly, he kept galloping when runner-up in the Welsh National and I liked the way he travelled through both races. He will need to relax in the early part of the race, but if he gets into a rhythm, I can see him going very well, certainly for a long way.

Selections:
1. RATHVINDEN; 10/1 bet365
2. PLEASANT COMPANY; 20/1 betvictor
3. TIGER ROLL; 4/1 William Hill
4. RAMSES DE TEILLEE; 25/1 Ladbrokes


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