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2015 Grand National tips - Three against the field for the upcoming Aintree marathon

  • Brian takes three fancies against the field for the Crabbie's Grand National in April.
Who will win the 2015 Grand National? Tipster Brian Healy has three against the field for the Aintree marathon.

With the Grand National just around the corner now that the Cheltenham Festival is past, tipster Brian Healy picks out three potential winners of the Aintree marathon in April.


Cheltenham might be done and dusted for another year, but the top class National Hunt racing hasn’t quite reached the end of the road just yet, and the Crabbie’s Grand National is the next big jumps race in the calendar.

The Aintree marathon is the world’s most famous race, and always a hugely competitive affair with a large field of 40 entrants going to post to tackle the unique demands of the race around the Liverpool venue and its fearsome fences in what is the ultimate test of both horse and rider.

The latest renewal of the race will see 2014 winner Pineau De Re (25/1, Ladbrokes) return to attempt a follow-up in the race and become the first back-to-back winner since the immortal Red Rum landed the double in 1973 and 1974; and after finishing runner-up to L’Escargot in 1975, Ginger McCain’s legendary beast added a third Grand National to his tally the following year.

Comply Or Die, ridden by Timmy Murphy went close to doing the double, having won the race in 2008 although could only finish runner-up twelve months later behind 100/1 shot Mon Mome.


Comply Or Die won the Grand National in 2008, and finished runner-up the following year.

Perhaps of most significance though is the race will be AP McCoy’s final appearance in the Aintree spectacle, and the record-breaking champion jockey will be aboard current ante-post favourite Shutthefrontdoor (9/1, William Hill) for his final crack at the race he won in 2010 aboard Don’t Push It.

While the Jonjo O’Neill runner is likely to give the champ a great spin around the Aintree fences, there are three to be interested in in the marathon contest who all have the potential to go close in the Aintree marathon.

ROCKY CREEK (12/1, Paddy Power) has long looked an ideal Grand National type, and Paul Nicholls’ charge will bid to give the trainer a first success in the race since Neptune Collonges in 2012.

The Dr Massini gelding was a very progressive novice, winning three times in Graded company, including at Ascot in the Reynoldstown Chase, and although he failed to win in 2014, including when fifth in this race twelve months ago, he looks better suited to the demands of the race this time.

Paul Nicholls’ charge only backed out of the argument approaching the elbow, having raced prominently for most of the way and led the field over four out until two out where although he was headed, he remained in contention until weakening late.

A fine second to Road To Riches on his seasonal return in the JNwine.com Champion Chase at Down Royal was followed by a lacklustre effort in the Hennessy Gold Cup, and he was given a breather until returning to rout a decent field in the BetBright Chase under a big weight. A wind operation could be the reason for the improved showing, and if ridden with slightly more restraint, it isn’t hard to see the sound jumping gelding getting involved.

With the weights being issued prior to that win, Paul Nicholls’ charge is able to run from his old mark and so he races at Aintree from what is effectively 9lbs better off than the handicapper raised him following that success. 


Rocky Creek (middle) can better last year's fifth in the Grand National.

SPRING HEELED (20/1, Paddy Power) will bid to atone for the poor showing of 2014 Gold Cup winner Lord Windermere, who ran no sort of race in defence of his title at Cheltenham, by giving trainer Jim Culloty some much needed cheer, and the winner of the 2014 Kim Muir could be an ideal Grand National type.

The Old Vic gelding has had this target for some time, having just one run behind Roi De Mee at Fairyhouse in February, which was his first outing since Galway  where he was fourth to Road To Riches in the Galway Plate.

Past Grand National winner Ballabriggs also won the Kim Muir enroute to Grand National glory, and the race has proven a decent trial for the Aintree marathon with Sunnyhill Boy also winning the Cheltenham race before just being pipped by Neptune Collonges.

The eight-year old will be well suited by a sound surface, and caught the eye when running past tiring rivals when fifth behind Hadrian’s Approach in last season’s Bet365 Gold Cup.  That suggests stamina won’t be an issue, and likely to be given a more patient ride he likely won’t be too far away if living up to his name and keeping the occasional sloppy jump out of his repertoire.


Spring Heeled has been trained with a tilt at the Grand National in mind, and Jim Culloty's charge can go close.

One of the runners in the Kim Muir won by Spring Heeled was SAINT ARE (28/1, Bet365, NRNB) who could be an interesting runner if getting into the race, as he falls on the wrong side of the 40 runner cut-off, so would need a couple of those above him to drop out.

Tom George’s charge has found winning difficult since landing a Grade One hurdle race at the Liverpool venue back in April 2011, and he didn’t score again until twelve months later when winning in Listed company, again at Aintree where he seems to run his best races.

The Network gelding ran a cracker in third when contesting the Becher Chase back in December, shaping as if there was no shortage of stamina when staying on strongly after getting outpaced from two out, and the Grand National distance might well suit him, especially if the ground rides quick; he had previously finished ninth behind Aurora’s Encore in the 2013 renewal where he perhaps was ridden too conservatively.

A winner last time out at Catterick when beating Everaard by seven lengths, his  record in the spring is solid, and it perhaps isn’t too much of a stretch to imagine Tom George’s charge improving again with a little sun on his back come April.

With proven form over the National fences, he is a live outsider to consider if he gets into the race this time around where he would carry 2lbs less than he did in his last appearance in the race.


Saint Are (right) was a good third over the National fences in December, but needs a couple to drop out.

GRAND NATIONAL ANTE-POST SELECTIONS – THREE AGAINST THE FIELD
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2015 Grand National tips - Three against the field for the upcoming Aintree marathon

With the Grand National just around the corner now that the Cheltenham Festival is past, tipster Brian Healy picks out three potential winners of the Aintree marathon in April.

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