Nick’s Aintree Picks – Grand National Day 2018
Grand National 2018 and after much soul searching the pin has finally landed on Anibale Fly.
Seven days ago I anticipated this horse being a significantly shorter price off the back of his superb run in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, but the idea that bad ground could throw up a crazy result seems to have forced the prices of several outsiders in.
A bit of cool rational thinking has persuaded me that it might be foolish to look beyond the obvious however and Anibale Fly is simply a very well handicapped horse, a sound jumper, proven in soft ground and coming here off the back of a massive career best.
Compared to some previous contenders who have been placed in Gold Cups before coming on to the National, he looks, at this stage anyway quite attractively priced.
To chase him home I like Ucello Conti, who Gordon Elliott could hardly have been more confident about when interviewed earlier in the week. He’s having his third go in the race but he has had absolutely no luck in it so far and his run at Christmas showed that he was clearly as good as ever.
Vieux Lion Rouge is another horse who has had chances here at Aintree and has, in the past, appeared not quite to get home but looking at his overall profile I am unconvinced that that is the case and suspect last year he might have just been feeling the effects of a busy season.
He’s been campaigned differently this time round, kept a much fresher horse, has got loads of form in heavy ground and should jump round here nicely.
Baie Des Iles made quite a bit of appeal at the price she was a week ago, that’s evaporated but I’m still pretty confident she’ll finish in the first half dozen as she jumps and stays and is still steadily improving.
Although she is only seven, she has been running over fences since she was a three year old and wont mind how testing this gets.
Elsewhere at Aintree today I’m going to be backing The Mighty Don each way in the opening contest on the card. I think the ground might still be a shade on the soft side for him, but he ran well at Cheltenham when coming from a very unpromising position in a slowly run race and at big odds I’ll be taking the chance here.
I think Western Ryder is some value in the Novice Hurdle against Black Op and On The Blind Side. His early season form is beginning to look quite strong now and he definitely showed signs of a revival at Cheltenham last time. I think this track will suit him.
It would be great to see Sam Spinner put the disappointment of Cheltenham behind him and he’s clearly got a great chance of doing that in the Liverpool Hurdle but he’s a fairly skinny price and I wonder if there is a bit of mileage in backing Old Guard each way at 20/1 plus.
Third highest rated horse in the race, yes he has to prove he stays in these conditions but if he does, he wont be too far away.
Have a great Grand National day and I hope some of these suggestions can be fruitful for you.
Nick Luck Verdict – Grand National 2018
1. Anibale Fly
2. Ucello Conti
3. Vieux Lion Rouge
4. Baie Des Iles
Aintree supporting Card –
1.45 The Mighty Don
2.25 Western Ryder
4.20 Old Guard
Odds are provided at time of writing, please check your betslip to confirm they have not changed before betting.
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