The Grand National is the most prestigious horse race of them all. The United Kingdom and Ireland come to a standstill one Saturday every April as millions of people tune in to watch the action unfold over 10 minutes. It is the ultimate prize for jockeys, trainers and owners to etch their place in the history of the sport. Only the elite horses can handle the demands of the 30 fences at Aintree. Winners of the event hold a special place in the hearts of racing fans as success can hang on the edge of a knife due to the difficulty of the four-mile course.
The 2019 version of the race sees Tiger Roll out to become the first horse to defend the crown since 1974 when Red Rum won the second of his three crowns. The beauty of the Grand National is that even the best of charges can struggle at the event, and the odds are stacked against Tiger Roll given that he will be carrying more weight due to the handicap as well as the fact that no favourite has won the race since 2010. As a result, it could be worth looking elsewhere for the winner of the Grand National 2019, potentially a horse with much longer odds to gain value on a punt.
Dr Richard Newland trained a charge in 2014 that was a 25/1 outsider in the form of Pineau De Re. The 11-year-old had won the Ulster Grand National, but was not a leading contender for the National, ranking well behind TeaforThree and Double Seven. However, with Leighton Aspell in the saddle, Pineau De Re put forward an outstanding performance to claim the crown, finishing five lengths ahead of the rest of the field. Aspell won the race again in the following campaign on another 25/1 shout on Many Clouds. He battled Saint Are down the stretch for the crown, but was able to secure the win by one-and-three-quarter lengths for trainer Oliver Sherwood.
Rule The World continued the trend of horses winning with odds higher of 20/1, at a price of 33/1 when he produced a strong run to etch his place in history. One For Arthur in 2017 and Tiger Roll in 2018 were both excellent contenders and were able to claim the crowns with the confidence of the bookmakers. Looking ahead to this term, Walk In The Mill appears to be a strong shout for the National given his form over the course of the campaign. He sits in at a price of 22/1 to win the Grand National 2019 and does have a victory at Aintree to boost his credentials.
In December he claimed the Becher Handicap Chase with a fine performance to win by four-and-a-half lengths, beating out a talented field that included Vieux Lion Rouge and Ultragold. Two third-place finishes followed at Chepstow and Exeter, while he was rested at Cheltenham Festival for a run at the National. His freshness and form at Aintree could be crucial in springing an upset in the prestigious race and claim the winners’ enclosure for outsiders once again.