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Grand National 2018 tips - Three against the field for the Aintree spectacular

Brian Healy takes a look at the entries for the 2018 Aintree Grand National, and he picks out three potential runners who could have a big shout in the April spectacular if taking their chances in the world's most famous steeplechase.


The 2018 Aintree Grand National looms large, and the world’s most famous steeplechase is only a few weeks away. 

The pinnacle of the top-class Aintree Festival, the marathon contest has undergone numerous changes in recent years, and this year’s renewal will be contested over a trip just north of 4m 2f where the winner will scoop a monster £500,000.

The Grand National stops the nation, bringing out the once-a-year punter to have their annual say in the destination of this famous event which this year goes to post at 5.15pm as the sixth race of the afternoon on the final day of the Aintree Festival. Brian Healy takes a cursory look at the early entries for the marathon contest where he has picked out three which catch his eye.

Seeyoutatmidnight could run a big race at Aintree, having finished third in the Scottish equivalent.
SEEYOUATMIDNIGHT was a very smart novice chaser, winning the Dipper Chase at Cheltenham where he beat last season’s Grand National fourth, Blaklion. Having followed up with a win at Newcastle subsequently, he failed to fire in the 2016 RSA Chase behind the same rival, although the quicker ground wouldn’t have been ideal.

Sandy Thompson’s charge then headed to Ayr where he would finish a hugely creditable third in the Scottish Grand National, beaten three lengths. He had travelled like the winner in that race, taking up the running four out and keeping on well before relinquishing the lead at the last and he may just have got to the front earlier than ideal.

The Midnight Legend gelding has been lightly raced since, returning to action the following season to beat Bristol De Mai at Carlsile, and then pulling up in the Betfair Chase. Clearly not at his best on that occasion, he was given a lay-off until returning to action at Kelso over hurdles twelve months ago where he finished runner-up to the course specialist Big River.

Absent for a further year in the wake of that run, and having undergone a wind procedure, Sandy Thompson’s star made a pleasing return at Newbury in mid-March, finishing third to Tiquer but shaping as if he’d be better for the run over what was probably a trip too short for the ten-year old nowadays.

He’ll be at his best if there is some juice in the ground, and he can turn out here off the same mark as when finishing third in the Scottish marathon; while his earlier defeat of Blaklion came off a higher mark, albeit in novice company. He still has some scope as a chaser given his higher hurdles rating earlier in his career, and his recent return to action ought have him spot on for a tilt at the Grand National fences.

Colin Tizzard’s THE DUTCHMAN was once a stablemate of Seeyouatmidnight when trained by Sandy Thompson, for whom he won twice - both at Wetherby over fences and hurdles - prior to joining up with his current yard.

The King’s Theatre gelding kicked off his time with Tizzard with a solid runner-up effort behind Sam Spinner at Haydock, after which he perhaps wasn’t at home on the Cheltenham undulations when only sixth behind Arthur’s Gift in the Citipost Hurdle.

Reverted back to fences following that run, he headed to Haydock where despite very testing conditions he hacked up to post a wide-margin success in the Peter Marsh Chase where he was always racing prominently. Aside from a mistake at the second-last, he had jumped and travelled well as he posted a 13 lengths defeat of Captain Redbeard.

Having returned to Haydock to contest the Grand National Trial, the Tizzard runner failed to fire in the race where he burst a blood vessel and was pulled up mid-contest, so a line can be drawn under that run; the Tizzard runners weren’t in particularly strong form during February in any case so the outing is forgiven and he could well pick up again back from a break.

He looks to have been handed a nice weight for the Aintree showpiece, and if the ground turns up on Grand National day on the soft side then he must have a solid chance despite his big odds.

One of the classiest horses in the race and a three-time Grade One winner, VALSEUR LIDO may come out of the contest closer to the time of the race; but Henry de Bromhead’s charge could prove an ideal Grand National type.

Things haven’t gone to plan for the Anzillero gelding since he beat Silviniaco Conti by 11 lengths in the 2016 JNWine.com Champion Chase, and after finishing fourth to Outlander on his next start in the Lexus Chase he was absent for one year until returning to action back at Leopardstown in the same contest, finishing fifth to Road To Respect.

He has been a hard horse to keep sound, but he might have needed that first run back; although his subsequent run in the Irish Gold Cup behind Edwulf suggested that his powers may be on the wane as he finished a well-beaten fifth of ten runners.

The trip was possibly too sharp for him nowadays when finishing a well-beaten last of five runners in the Red Mills Chase behind Our Duke and Presenting Percy, and the much stiffer test of the Grand National could prove now to be a much more suitable test.

His sole start beyond three miles came at Punchestown back in 2015 when he won the Growise Champion Chase when in the care of Willie Mullins, and he has often looked as if a test of stamina would be his forte; while he hasn’t quite managed to make his mark since returning to action, he could be one to be interested in despite his relatively hefty weight burden.

2018 AINTREE GRAND NATIONAL TIPS - THREE AGAINST THE FIELD

SEEYOUATMIDNIGHT (33/1, Coral), THE DUTCHMAN (50/1, William Hill), VALSEUR LIDO (50/1, Paddy Power)


Countdown to Grand National

The 2018 Grand National takes place on Saturday 14th April and we'll have live coverage of the meeting on here and on Twitter.

Join millions of fans preparing to celebrate the build up to the world's most famous race - the Aintree Grand National.


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Grand National 2018 tips - Three against the field for the Aintree spectacular

Brian Healy takes a look at the entries for the 2018 Aintree Grand National, and he picks out three potential runners who could have a big shout in the April spectacular.

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