An Early Look Ahead to the Grand National - Ante Post Opinion

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AN EARLY LOOK AHEAD TO THE GRAND NATIONAL - ANTE POST OPINION

The Grand National is without question, the biggest race across the globe. Forty runners, thirty fences, it really is the pinnacle of British National Hunt Racing.

The race is not for another six months, but the talking has begun.

Unsurprisingly, it is the defending champion Tiger Roll who currently heads the ante-post betting for the 2019 Grand National, and given the way he travelled through the race this year, he could well be up to going close off a revised mark next season. He will once again head to the Cheltenham Festival and indeed the Cross Country Chase as his preparation run, before heading to Aintree for a rare double.

Ireland also train the current second favourite – Bellshill, who won the Punchestown Gold Cup in April. He has good experience over the National distance, especially when he was a close fifth in the Irish Equivalent seven months ago. He looks a strong contender.

One For Arthur is also prominent in the betting, having won the feature back in 2017, but has sadly missed out since through injury. He will once again be campaigned for the Aintree highlight, and his performance 18 months ago certainly caught the eye, as he travelled so sweetly for Derek Fox.

Hopefully he is back to his best, and another to mention with age on his side is Step Back who landed the Gold Cup Handicap Chase on the final day of the jumps last year at Sandown, by no less than 13 lengths.

One horse who could also make an impact next year is Ms Parfois, trained by Anthony Honeyball. She has done nothing but progress in her first season over fences, winning three times – twice at listed level – and finishing runner-up on her last three starts, including in the Grade 1 Mildmay Novices' Chase at Aintree last time.

One of her best form displays this season came when second in the four-mile National Hunt Chase at Cheltenham in March behind Rathvinden. She seemed to relish the heavy distance and coped well with the demanding fences.

Her jumping and stamina are her biggest assets, two vital attributes when looking for a potential National horse, and the 7yo could be one to keep an eye on this year.

Also at the head of the market is last year's second Pleasant Company, who was narrowly denied, Anibale Fly - who was third in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, and last year's favourite before the off; Blaklion.

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