The Ultimate 2019 Grand National Runner Guide

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1. Anibale Fly

Trainer - Tony Martin

Jockey - Barry Geraghty

This J P McManus owned nine-year-old has been in good form this season and looks like the further the trip the better he will be.

He finished fourth in this race last season which looks good form whilst also finishing a staying on third in last year's Gold Cup.

In this season's Cheltenham Gold Cup he ran ever better gallantly finishing a staying on second and looked like an extra three or four furlongs would have been ideal.

Even though he is now top weight after Bristol De Mai was withdrawn from the race he still retains plenty of scope and definitely is one to watch out for.

2. Valtor

Trainer - Nicky Henderson

Jockey - Daryl Jacob

With Bristol De Mai out, Simon Munir and Isaac Souede have a realistic chance of glory in the world's greatest steeplechase with Valtor.

He struck on his British and stable debut back at Ascot in December, when landing the Garrad Silver Cup over three miles. Was clear from three-out and the step-up surely will not be the issue.

He is back down from a Grade Two from his latest start which he clearly found too hot in the Cotswold Chase.

Will need to be on top form.

3. Tiger Roll

Trainer - Gordon Elliott

Jockey - Davy Russell

Nine-year-old Tiger Roll is a fan favourite in the sport, winning this race last year in a breath-taking finish with Pleasant Company, who goes again.

Last year he was superb but this term he has been even better, winning a Grade Two hurdle at Navan as preparation race for Cheltenham, before he landed his fourth winner at the festival when winning the Cross Country chase for the second year running, this time by a massive 22 lengths.

He could go off as the shortest price favourite in the last one-hundred years and rightfully so as he is just like a fine wine that has got better with age.

Big, big player.

4. Outlander

Trainer - Gordon Elliott

Jockey - Keith Donoghue

Creditable old-boy who seems to have had his days in the sun already.

Been dropping the handicap for all of eternity now, since dropping out of graded company.

Pulled up in the Irish equivalent last year, but a Grade One winner always demands respect.

5. Don Poli

Trainer - Gordon Elliott

Jockey - Patrick Mullins

Another Gigginstown OAP, who once finished third in the Gold Cup behind Don Cossack and Djakadam.

As a result, he has been carrying skyscraper weight since, and appears to be in trouble over the first obstacle many-a-time.

A real fan favourite due to his energy and personality showings from the front end, but it would simply be a miracle if he triumphed here.

6.Go Conquer

Trainer - Nigel Twiston-Davies

Jockey - Sam Twiston-Davies

Go Conquer has always been a classy and creditable individual for Nigel-Twiston Davies, bringing home several big race successes at the top level.

This year he has got better and better - his form guide reading 321; after opening with a good third at Ascot in the Sodexo Gold Cup back in November, he was a close second when stepping down in Grade at Doncaster.

Returning to the same venue for the Sky Bet Handicap Chase, he saw them all off from the front end, but a big job will be required if coming through with a victory again.

7. Mala Beach

Trainer - Gordon Elliott

Jockey - Jamie Codd

Guaranteed a place after some high-profile victories in the past, but down the betting pecking order after two mediocre displays this term.

He opened his 2019 account by beating just three horses home in the Galmoy Hurdle - won by Presenting Percy, before failing to justify short odds against Jury Duty at Down Royal.

Blow in confidence, will need to recover his mindset quickly.

8. Minella Rocco

Trainer - Jonjo O'Neill

Jockey - Richie McLernon

Plagued with injury problems - the 2016 National Hunt Chase winner has never gone onto improve let-alone show off his second-place finish in the 2017 Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Pulling up and falls have halted possibilities of collecting valuable prize money, and his switch back to hurdles at Exeter which saw him finish ninth proving that his best days are well and truly behind him now.

Tailed off early in the Ultima, hard to fancy.

9. Lake View Lad

Trainer - N W Alexander

Jockey - Henry Brooke

Another runner that performed well at the Cheltenham Festival is this nine year old Lake View Lad who again finished a staying on third in the Ultima just behind Vintage Clouds and if having the ability to stay longer than four miles he could be a potential improver.

Before that run he was unbeaten in his two starts this season and if carrying on with that form he is a really likeable runner in the race.

Sports the infamous National colours of Trevor Hemmings - who is seeking his fourth success in the world's greatest steeplechase.

10. Pleasant Company

Trainer - Willie Mullins

Jockey - Paul Townend

Another of the Mullins Irish raiders and this 11-year-old was a superb second behind Tiger Roll in this last year only losing out in a photo finish when getting a second wind and staying on really well late.

A year older and it has begun to tell, as he has not been performing to the same standard as he did prior to the race last year but still holds claims of his run in the 2018 Grand National.

Mullins searching for another big race success after his Gold Cup exploits.

11. Ballyoptic

Trainer - Nigel Twiston-Davies

Jockey - Tom Bellamy

His staying powers came to the fore last season - finishing a good fourth in last year's RSA, before a gallant second in the Scottish Grand National.

Three appearances this term - sixth in the Welsh Grand National was a good effort having fallen in the Becher at Aintree.

Pulled up in the Trial race at Haydock, so has ground to make up and errors to correct.

12. Dounikos

Trainer - Gordon Elliott

Jockey - Jack Kennedy

Dounikos represents another card to play for Gigginstown, and will be seen to have a great chance himself, off the back of his standout success at Punchestown in an Irish National Trial.

Staying on well under pressure for Davy Russell that day - who is expected to team up with the favourite Tiger Roll, Dounikos ended a toxic run of failing to complete big races in the frame - whereby four of his last six had been incomplete.

Possible shout for the shortlist.

13. Rathvinden

Trainer - Willie Mullins

Jockey -

Willie Mullins best hope in the race looks to be Rathvinden and this 11-year-old has only raced once this season and it was a perfect prep race in the Grade Three Bobbyjo Chase at Fairyhouse when scoring nicely after a ten-month absence.

Being lightly raced going into this marathon contest should serve the veteran well; he won the National Hunt Chase under a fine ride last year at Cheltenham seeing off Ms Parfois.

Likely contender for the crown.

14. One For Arthur

Trainer - Lucinda Russell

Jockey - Derek Fox

The 2017 winner of the Grand National looks to have it all to do now two year's on from his day in the sun running twice this year after his comeback from injury and he has unseated his rider on both occasions.

It would be one of the fairytale stories of the National if this 10-year-old went on to win but it looks very unlikely.

Has gone back to the schools after his recent mistakes, and hopefully that will help him rediscover his best.

15. Rock The Kasbah

Trainer - Phillip Hobbs

Jockey - Richard Johnson

Richard Johnson's 21st attempt at trying to win the race and it would be superb for the Champion Jockey to land this race and add it to his classy CV but he will need everything to fall right for his horse.

Rock The Kasbah has raced three times this season and his hest run came at Cheltenham when winning the Betvictor Handicap Chase over 3 miles 3 furlongs.

Stamina may be an issue but any horse with Johnson on board has a fighting chance.

16. Warriors Tale

Trainer - Paul Nicholls

Jockey - Harry Cobden

Primed for the National again after his win in the Grand Sefton here back in December, but was tamely pulled up in the Sky Bet Chase since, just like he was in this contest last year.

He was also down the field in the Greatwood Gold Cup behind San Benedeto, so connections will hope a return to Merseyside will reignite the spark needed to be in the firing line here.

Trevor Hemmings with another possibility.

17. Regal Encore

Trainer - Anthony Honeyball

Jockey - Mark Walsh

After Ms Parfois' exclusion, Anthony Honeyball is represented with Regal Encore, in one of three big hopes for JP McManus.

The veteran finished sixth in a handicap hurdle behind Abolitionist at this track back in November, and will arrive for the National with only one attempt over fences this season - that being third to Calipto at Ascot not too long ago.

Others probably much preferred.

18. Magic Of Light

Trainer - Jessica Harrington

Jockey - Paddy Kenny

First ever runner for Jessica Harrington in this fascinating spectacle, and Magic Of Light has already rewrote the history books for the Irish Queen once this season.

Her victory at Newbury over fences was her trainer's first winner from her first runner at the track in over ten years - a mare that went onto win at Ascot next time out over hurdles.

Seventh at Cheltenham in the Ultima, holds a chance of being amongst the finish if stepping up to the distance on offer.

19. A Toi Phil

Trainer - Gordon Elliott

Jockey - Denis O'Regan

Gordon Elliott has confirmed he will run all the potential horses he can - which could be as many as twelve, meaning A Toi Phil is all but guaranteed a place if not being ruled out late on.

Average season compelled with a good fifth in the Pertemps Final last month at Cheltenham, but this will be his first time over three-miles.

Difficult task at hand with plenty of others proven.

20. Jury Duty

Trainer - Gordon Elliott

Jockey - Robbie Power

The next is another from the Gordon Elliott yard and Jury Duty has an each way chance offering some nice form coming into this race.

He has won his last two races in good style as is seeking a hat-trick when he runs at Aintree on Saturday.

His win at Down Royal came after having a five month break and he looked excellent when fresh and it could have been a perfect stepping stone for this contest.

American Grand National winner must hold a card to play.

21. Noble Endeavor

Trainer - Gordon Elliott

Jockey - Mark Enright

Built up the tank competing in plenty of top staying bouts - of which he has only prevailed once in his last ten starts.

That came over Christmas in a Grade B Paddy Power Chase at Leopardstown, but the National fences represent a totally different challenges which we do not believe he is cut out for.

Tenth in the Ultima, must up his intentions.

22. Monbeg Notorious

Trainer - Gordon Elliott

Jockey - Sean Bowen

Big price for Monbeg Notorious, who improved rapidly last term as a staying chase, only for unexplained blips in recent months.

After recording a hat-trick in Ireland, he was sent off an 8/1 shot for the Irish National, but was always well behind and not enjoying the conditions despite finishing in the top ten.

Career best second in the Grade One Champion Novice at Punchestown last April, despite proving lucky as a result of the drama that unfolded in front of him.

Below par this term, and needs to respond.

23. Ramses De Teilee

Trainer - David Pipe

Jockey - David Noonan

This smart handicap chaser will have no problem when it comes to seeing out the distance at Aintree having been a frequent runner this season in staying contests.

He has been very consistent in his last three runs winning at Haydock and finishing a credible second in the Welsh Grand National.

His latest performance was another good second in the Grand National trial at Haydock and it sets him up perfectly for this.

24. Tea For Two

Trainer - Jane Williams

Jockey - Lizzie Kelly

Lizzie Kelly is hopeful of a first female National success, as she bids to better Katie Walsh's third place finish on Seabass seven years ago on her beloved Tea For Two.

The pair arguably had their most famous day out on Merseyside two years ago, when defeating Cue Card by a neck in the Grade One Betway Bowl Chase.

Stepped out of Grade One company since (Gold Cup) to attempt the cross country fences, and the two parted company with each other in the Glenfarcas Chase at the Festival last month.

No room for error here.

25. Mall Dini

Trainer - Pat Kelly

Jockey - Sean Flanagan

The only runner for the mysterious Pat Kelly will revel in the staying trip being dropped down to 2 miles last time out and always looking like he wanted further.

He won the Pertemps Final at Cheltenham back in 2016 and then a year later finished a good second in the Kim Muir.

Pat Kelly normally gets his horses in superb condition when bringing them over to England and it could the same on Grand National day.

Interesting.

26. Step Back

Trainer - Mark Bradstock

Jockey - Nico De Boinville

This Mark Bradstock trained runner has not quite been at the same level this season at what he showed the season before.

His best performance came last year when going on to win at Sandown in a 30 runner field in the bet365 Gold Cup - beating several subsequent winners, and if reproducing that form he has clear each way shouts but needs to be much better then he has been so far this term.

Having said that, those outcomes have kept his weight down for this crucial test of guts.

27.Ultragold

Trainer - Colin Tizzard

Jockey - Tom O'Brien

Another who failed to complete the Glenfarcas Chase at Cheltenham three weeks ago surely has his work cut out here once again.

Having won the Topham in fine style last season, he went onto to live up to his name in the Becher when coming home third, and appears to show his best over the National fences.

On that evidence, he will be hard to ignore here for Colin Tizzard.

28. Blow By Blow

Trainer - Gordon Elliott

Jockey - Andrew Ring

A winner at the Cheltenham Festival in 2018, this eight-year-old chestnut gelding - who is also a son of the great Robin Des Champs, faces a unique task on Merseyside.

Victorious in the Martin Pipe last season, his switchover to fences got off to the best start with a win at Galway.

Don't think connections had Aintree in mind immediately after that - this decision looks more forced.

29. Up For Review

Trainer - Willie Mullins

Jockey -

Currently sneaking into the National frame, this ten-year-old; who return to the fold this time last year after injury issues, was well backed for the Ultima at Cheltenham on the day before finishing eighth.

That followed a good third to Invitation Only - who went onto compete in the Gold Cup, and Alpha Des Obeaux - who misses his entry here.

Worthy advocate, and will need to find a clear path.

30. Singlefarmpayment

Trainer - Tom George

Jockey - Paddy Brennan

Singlefarmpayment has always proved a difficult horse to follow, and will try to break that perception in the biggest lottery of them all.

Most of his efforts have come at Cheltenham - where he finished second in the Ultima back in 2017, but has frustrated on many outings since.

He finished down the field in the same contest on his latest showing this term, and would perhaps be one to concede.

31. Vieux Lion Rouge

Trainer - David Pipe

Jockey - Tom Scudamore

Pulled up in two of his last three starts, but was an outstanding second to Walk In The Mill in the Becher this season on his first start of the campaign.

Appears to go well fresh, so has had a short break since his recent mishap at Haydock in the Trial.

Going to be at the foot of the weights if he gets in, and has some intriguing form to get stuck into from recent years when going for this race.

Seventh in 2016 and sixth in 2017 shows his consistency in this very contest.

32. Valseur Lido

Trainer - Henry De Bromhead

Jockey - Rachael Blackmore

Ran with great credit behind Tiger Roll last season, and was always in contention until falling back to eighth.

To complete this contest is a positive thing itself, and at 66/1 finishing inside the top ten merits plenty of recognition.

Has raced over nowhere near the distance required here, but will be fit ahead of this mouthwatering confrontation with some of the best stayers about.

Will also need the elusive 'luck on his side'.

33. Vintage Clouds

Trainer - Sue Smith

Jockey - Danny Cook

This nine-year-old will have to hope a couple of horses pull out of the race to get involved himself, but if he does go to post he is another one that if jumping well can stay the distance.

His last run came at Cheltenham in the Grade Three Ultima Handicap and he finished a staying on second over 3 miles 1f.

We know he stays four miles when finishing third in last year's Scottish Grand National and if running to a similar standard, must hold big claims.

Connections have had a play around under the bonnet, and it looks to have made a big difference.

34. General Principle

Trainer - Gordon Elliott

Jockey - JJ Slevin

Been hard work since his success in the Irish Grand National twelve months ago, with the closest he has come when finishing a near third in the Irish National Trial this time around.

He appears to relish the word 'National' in the title of contests over this lengthy trip, but was pulled up in the Ultima at Cheltenham when failing to go the gallop over a mile shorter.

Back up to four and beyond, and goes into the thoughts of many.

35. Livelovelaugh

Trainer - Willie Mullins

Jockey -

Second to Whisperinthebreeze in a Grade A Handicap at Leopardstown back in February looked promising, but could not follow that up when halfway down the field at Cheltenham in the Kim Muir.

Never really threatened that day so will look to be more prominent in this.

Wants the heavens to open for his favourable conditions.

36. Walk In The Mill

Trainer - Robert Walford

Jockey - James Best

Placed in three contests away from Aintree this season, but when it came to the National venue, he seemed to bring his A game.

After a good third to The Young Master at Cheltenham, he won the Becher Handicap Chase over the National fences in December, when commanding clear under James Best.

Switching back to hurdles for a couple of outings did not see him get his head back in front, but you cannot look away from that Becher form.

37. Folsom Blue

Trainer - Gordon Elliott

Jockey - Luke Dempsey

Folsom Blue has run all four of his respective outings this term in England or Wales - two over hurdles and two over fences.

His two chasing performances have merited eighth and sixth placed finishes in top graded affairs - the Welsh Grand National and the Midlands National respectively.

Is another individual who seems to bring about his best when the word 'National' is involved in the title and will look to be at the top of his game once again here.

38. Captain Redbeard

Trainer - Stuart Coltherd

Jockey - Sam Coltherd

Unseated his rider in the National twelve months ago, but has had a good season so far to indicate a sniff this time around.

His lowest moment did come on Merseyside, when down the field in the Grand Sefton, but has since finished a strong finishing sixth in the Peter Marsh Chase at Haydock, got the better of then-Gold Cup hopeful Definitly Red in a match-up at Kelso, before another close third in a Listed event.

More needed here.

39. Bless The Wings

Trainer - Gordon Elliott

Jockey - Robert Dunne

Many may wonder why last year's emphatic third-place finisher is such a big price..

At 66/1, he ensured a 1-3 finish for trainer Gordon Elliott by staying on late in the day to snatch third from Anibale Fly.

Struggled since - finishing fourth to Auvergnat at Punchestown over four miles was probably his best display having pulled been pulled up in the Glenfarcas Chase four weeks ago.

Loves four miles it would seem, and would go into the place mindset once again at best.

40. Joe Farrell

Trainer - Rebecca Curtis

Jockey - Adam Wedge

Joe Farrell may fulfil other targets if not getting in here - one of which could be defending his Scottish Grand National Title which he collected by the narrowest of margins twelve months ago.

He finished a nose in front of Ballyoptic at Ayr, and four lengths to the good over Vintage Clouds. Reasonable return runs this season saw him finish sixth at Newbury in Leg 3 of the Veterans Series, before a close second to the useful Chic Name at the same track.

Back over the maximum distance will surely play in his favour.

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