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Racing tips: 3 best bets for the Grand National

12 Apr | BY Enda McElhinney | MIN READ TIME |
Racing tips: 3 best bets for the Grand National

Enda McElhinney offers his top three selections for Saturday's feature race at Aintree.

Saturday hosts the biggest betting race of the year, the Randox Grand National over the famous spruce fences of Aintree’s National course.

The winner will be ensured of a place in history, while punters will all be trying to find the right horse among a 34-strong field of classy chasers.

Here are three selections to consider for the Grand National: the likeliest winner, a next best and an outsider to consider


Nap: I Am Maximus @ 7/1 (Aintree 16:00)

Next best:  Kitty’s Light @ 11/1 (Aintree 16:00)

Outsider to note: Capodanno @ 33/1 (Aintree 16:00)

Mullins to the Max in Grand National

This year’s Grand National might have a smaller field, but it is as competitive as ever. It feels like every time I look at the race, you will find another fancy. Personally, the only thing that has not changed all week is the main fancy, I AM MAXIMUS.

This horse won the Irish Grand National last year, which propelled him into the National picture. Strangely, he was still able to compete in novice chases as late as December, when he won a Grade 1 from Found A Fifty who was last seen finishing second in the Arkle. Then, on his only start since the weights came out for Aintree, he thumped last year’s Grand National runner-up, Vanillier.

There is a small catch. All of these runs were at Fairyhouse and I Am Maximus needs to prove he can do it elsewhere. Yet he jumps left and not very well. Right-handed Fairyhouse, with its concentration of fences at the end of races, is the one track he should not suit. For that reason, you can be hopeful that he will carry the form elsewhere.

Kitty’s to Light up Aintree

Kitty’s Light gained a reputation as a bit of a ‘nearly horse’ in his youth, but put that right emphatically last spring. He won the Eider at Newcastle, the Scottish Grand National at Ayr and the bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown, the three biggest marathon handicap chases of the spring aside from the Grand National itself.

This season, the National has been his one and only aim. There have been signs of his old spark, much as there was in his runs before the Eider last season. Christian Williams is treading a familiar path, and his main concern would have been not getting Kitty’s Light so well handicapped that he missed the race.

Kitty’s Light has snuck in at the bottom of this reduced Grand National field, at number 34 of 34. You simply could not be better handicapped and have got a run in the race. He clearly has the stamina and thrives in these big spring marathons. All that is left is to complete the set with the biggest prize of all.

Classy sort to Cap it all for Mullins

In last year’s Grand National, Capodanno was sent off at odds of 22-1. He showed a lot of promise, moving into contention on the last big run of fences but fading away from three out. Since then, he has been third in two open Grade 1s, won a Grade 2 and gone up just 1lb in the weights. It is strange to see him 50-1 this time around.

The assumption is that Capodanno will struggle to last out the trip, as he undoubtedly failed to do 12 months ago. But he only had one prep race last season, and it is just as likely that he simply was not fit enough to do himself justice. If connections of this classy sort thought there was no point trying again, they could have picked up a nice pot elsewhere. 

Running in the Grand National suggests Willie Mullins believes Capodanno is worth another chance to prove his stamina. On every other measure, he looks to offer some value at his current price.