2020 Virtual Grand National: Runner-By-Runner Guide

2020 Virtual Grand National

The main Aintree Grand National has been called-off, but – fear not – as the race planers have got the next best thing………………a VIRTUAL GRAND NATIONAL (Saturday 4th April, 5:15pm LIVE ITV)

Yes, the intended 40 Grand National runners will be computer-generated and with many clever algorithms allocated to each horse they will run out the race in a simulated format.

It’s not the real thing – but it’s better than nothing at the moment!

Anyway, we take a look at the 40 runners – giving you their age, weight, jockey and trainers, plus our thoughts and STAR-RATINGS if you want to have a flutter.

Don’t forgot – the main bookies are also pledging their profits on the race to the NHS  – who are doing such a fantastic job in the UK fighting the COVID-19 virus.

Read more about the Aintree Virtual Grand National here

*Odds maybe subject to change (correct 3pm 3rd April 2020)

2020 Virtual Grand National Runner-by-Runner Guide

 

  1. TIGER ROLL (5/1*)

Age: 10
Weight: 11st 10lbs
Trainer: Gordon Elliott
Jockey: Davy Russell
Official Rating: 170

Winner of the 2018 and 2019 Grand Nationals and became the first ‘back-to-back’ winner since Red Rum in the 1970’s. Will also look to become the only horse – barring Red Rum – to win the Grand National three times – albeit the Virtual Grand National. Was also the winner of the 2018 Virtual Grand National before going onto land the ‘REAL’ race days later. This Gordon Elliott-trained 10 years-old will have to carry 5lbs more in weight this year so he’ll need to improve again. Those against him will look to his recent Cross Country defeat at the Cheltenham Festival as a reason to look elsewhere for the winner – he looked to have a hard race that day and could it be that all these big efforts in recent seasons are starting to catch up with him? Only one horse (Red Rum) has won the Grand National carrying 11st 10lbs or more since 1951. However, is still likely to be all the rage – especially with the ‘once-a-year’ punters – as he bids to give the Gigginstown House Stud owners their fourth win in the race in only the last five years – he will also be hoping to become trainer Gordon Elliott’s fourth winner in the world’s greatest steeplechase.

STAR-RATING: ****

 

  1. BRISTOL DE MAI (20/1*)
     

    Age: 9
    Weight: 11st 8lbs
    Trainer: Nigel Twiston-Davies
    Jockey: Daryl Jacob
    Official Rating: 168

Grade One-winning chaser that is another that brings a bit of class to the race. This popular grey has never run over the National fences but has run many times at Aintree at the Grand National Meeting. Is, however, yet to record a win at the track (4 runs). Yet to race over a trip this far but does have plenty of stamina. Would be looking to become only the fourth grey winner of the Grand National. Last seen running 9th in the Gold Cup at the Cheltenham Festival so needs to bounce back, but a classy sort on his day and his trainer has won the REAL race twice before. His jockey – Daryl Jacob – won the real race back in 2012.

STAR-RATING: ***

 

  1. ASO (66/1*)

Age: 10
Weight: 11st 2lbs
Trainer: Venetia Williams
Jockey: Charlie Deutsch
Official Rating: 162

Trained by Venetia Williams who won the National with 100/1 shot – Mon Mome – in 2009. Another classy chaser that has run well in graded races at a very good level. Would need to prove himself over this extreme trip with 3 miles being the furthest he’s won over to date. Last seen running down the field in the Ryanair Chase (2m4 1/2f) at the Cheltenham Festival so a bit to answer. If getting the trip then can’t totally rule out, but that’s a big unknown. First run in the race.

 

STAR-RATING: *

 

  1. ELEGANT ESCAPE (20/1*)

Age: 8
Weight: 11st 2lbs
Trainer: Colin Tizzard
Jockey: Jonjo O’Neill Jnr
Official Rating: 162

The 2018 Welsh National winner, so staying isn’t an issue. Another with time on his side and rounded off the 2019 season with a fair 6th in the Cheltenham Gold Cup and third in this season’s Ladbrokes Trophy Chase (Hennessy). Extreme staying trips looks to be where his future lies and despite having not raced over the National fences is a sound jumper that could have a big say in this Virtual Grand National race in 2020. Acts on any ground but at the time of writing is yet to win another race since landing the Welsh National back in 2018.  Last seen running well down the field (11th) in the Cheltenham Gold Cup so is another that needs to bounce back. If successful, would the first win in the race for trainer Colin Tizzard.

STAR-RATING: ***

 

  1. ANIBALE FLY (20/1*)

Age: 10
Weight: 11st 2lbs
Trainer: Tony Martin
Jockey: Barry Geraghty
Official Rating: 162

A regular in the National in recent years. He was fourth in 2018 and fifth in 2019. Was also runner-up in the 2019 Cheltenham Gold Cup. If the top weight – Tiger Roll – runs then he’ll actually get into the race with 8lbs less to carry than when finishing fifth last year – beaten 16 ½ lengths. Proven over the track and trip and seems to go well on most ground. The handicapper seems to have given this proven National type a chance of at least making the top five again and comes here in good order after a solid third at Naas in March over hurdles. His jockey Barry Geraghty won the real race in 2003.

STAR-RATING: ****

 

  1. TOP VILLE BEN (45/1*)

Age: 8
Weight: 11st 2lbs
Trainer: Philip Kirby
Jockey: Tom Dowson
Official Rating: 162

Third in the Mildmay Novices’ Chase at this meeting last season. Is a Grade Three chase winner over 3m, while if taking to the fences (first run in the National) and staying the longer trip could be an interesting runner. All wins to-date have come with some degree of ‘soft’ in the going description. Third at this meeting 12 months ago in the Mildmay Novices Chase so has at least tasted the track to some degree (not the National fences). Looked a tad out of his depth in the Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham in January, but has been kept fresh for this by missing the Cheltenham Festival. Fair sort on his day, but stamina needs to be taken on trust.

STAR-RATING: **

 

  1. BEWARE THE BEAR (33/1*)

Age: 10
Weight: 11st
Trainer: Nicky Henderson
Jockey: Jerry McGrath
Official Rating: 160

Winner of the 2019 Ultima Chase at the Cheltenham Festival and was a decent fourth in the Ladbrokes Trophy Chase (Hennessy) at Newbury this season. Yet to race in the National and a winner on ground ranging from good to heavy so any ground is fine for him. Been kept away from the track since January so will be fresher than most. Pulled up in the 2018 Scottish National (4m) but has run well over 3m+ in the past to suggest this sort of trip is worth another crack. Would be looking to become trainer – Nicky Henderson’s first winner in this famous race.

STAR-RATING: ***

 

  1. PEREGRINE RUN (66/1*)

Age: 10
Weight: 10st 13lbs
Trainer: Peter Fahey
Jockey: Kevin Sexton
Official Rating: 159

Irish raider that has a good strike-rate over fences. The step up to this 4m+ trip would be a leap into the unknown though with all his best runs to date coming over shorter than 3m. First run in the race, but it’s also worth noting he fell over these fences in the Topham Chase here in 2019. With stamina an unknown and having not run since November 2019 then getting the trip and fitness would be big worries.

STAR-RATING: *

 

  1. JETT (50/1*)

Age: 9
Weight: 10st 13lbs
Trainer: Mrs John Harrington
Jockey: Sam Waley-Cohen
Official Rating: 159

Has contested many top graded chases and was a Grade Three winner at Punchestown earlier this season. However, if lining up here would be running in the Grand National for the first time. A fair 4th behind the useful Delta Work at Leopardstown (beaten only 9 ½ lengths) in the Irish Gold Cup in February, but the main concern would be the trip, with all chase wins to date coming over 3m1f or shorter.

STAR-RATING: *

 

  1. ALPHA DES OBEAUX (25/1*)

Age: 10
Weight: 10st 13lbs
Trainer: Gordon Elliott
Jockey: Richard Johnson
Official Rating: 159

Third in the 2019 Becher Chase over these fences back in December. Gets in here off the same mark and has a very consistent overall chase record. Solid jumper that also acts well on any ground and represents the powerful Gordon Elliott and Gigginstown House Stud partnership. Looks an interesting runner with that would be carrying 13lbs less in weight than when running third in the Becher Chase earlier this season. Will also have the assistance of champion jockey Richard Johnson – albeit in an animated format. Johnson, who rode him to finish third over these fences in the Becher Chase, is yet to win the Grand National, but not sure winning this virtual one would count! Last seen running third at Fairyhouse in February so been kept fresh so this – one of the more interesting runners of those at slightly bigger prices.

STAR-RATING: ***

 

  1. TOTAL RECALL (40/1*)

Age: 11
Weight: 10st 13lbs
Trainer: Willie Mullins
Jockey: Paul Townend
Official Rating: 159

Continues to defy his age after winning the Thyestes Chase at Gowran Park in January – has been raised 10lbs for that win. Was also sent off as the 7/1 favourite for the 2018 Grand National, but was pulled up after making several early mistakes – does, however, have 6lbs less in weight this time. Still a bit to prove over the fences but does hail from the powerful Willie Mullins yard that won this race in 2005. Not getting any younger at 11 years-old, but since 2012 we have seen three horses aged 11 years-old win the Grand National. Has also shown to be still in love with the game after a nice win at Gowran Park (3m1f) back in January. If his jumping holds up, then can’t be totally discounted representing the Gold Cup winning team of Mullins and Townend.

STAR-RATING: **

 

  1. THE STORYTELLER (40/1*)

Age: 9
Weight: 10st 12lbs
Trainer: Gordon Elliott
Jockey: Keith Donoghue
Official Rating: 158

Former Cheltenham Festival winner (2018) that represents the powerful Gordon Elliot yard. Stamina to prove over this trip with all runs coming over 3m 1/2f or less and first run in the race. Regular jockey – Davy Russell – has obviously opted to ride the current champ – Tiger Roll – though, but deputy Keith Donoghue has ridden the horse in the past. Warmed up for this with a cracking second at the Cheltenham Festival last month (Pertemps Network Final Hurdle). Yet to race over these fences but although he’s been running over hurdles of late does have a decent strike-rate over fences (14 runs, 3 wins and 7 top three finishes). Small chance at a nice price, but needs to prove himself over this trip.

STAR-RATING: **

 

  1. MAGIC OF LIGHT (18/1*)

Age: 9
Weight: 10st 12lbs
Trainer: Jessie Harrington
Jockey: Robbie Power
Official Rating: 158

Runner-up in the 2019 Grand National and looks a big player again in 2020. Is still only young – 9 years-old. She’s rated 7lbs higher than last year, but only actually has one pound more in weight to carry. Has returned this season in cracking order with wins at Ascot and Newbury, but did flop last time out at Navan – but the jockey reported that she hated the ground (heavy) that day. With trip and track to suit and a nice weight pull with Tiger Roll for the 2 ¾ lengths he was beaten, then will surely have many supporters. Looks one for the shortlist with jockey Robbie Power winning the real race back in 2007 on Silver Birch.

STAR-RATING: ****

 

  1. TALKISCHEAP (25/1*)

Age: 8
Weight: 10st 11lbs
Trainer: Alan King
Jockey: Tom Cannon
Official Rating: 157

Ended last season by winning the Bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown. A promising young stayer in the making and will still only be 8 years-old by the time the 2020 Grand National comes around. He’ll be looking to give trainer Alan King his first winner in the race, but this will also be his first run in the National so his ability to handle the fences would be an unknown. On a plus, stamina looks assured and has been kept fresh for this with just one run since last November. This will also been just his second run back from a wind operation so could have more to give. Has won on ground from ‘good’ to ‘soft’ and seems to go well at this time of the year. Each-way claims with the promising Tom Cannon in the saddle.

STAR-RATING: ****

 

  1. YALA ENKI (28/1*)

Age: 10
Weight: 10st 11lbs
Trainer: Paul Nicholls
Jockey: Bryony Frost
Official Rating: 157

Out-and-out stayer that will have no issues with the trip. Is best in soft or heavy ground though so conditions on the day will be a big factor. Has returned this season in form after running third in the Welsh National over Christmas. First run in the race, so ability to handle the fences has to be taken on trust – would be bidding to give trainer Paul Nicholls his second success in the race after winning it in 2012 with Neptune Collonges. Bryony Frost would be looking to become the first female winning jockey in the race, but not sure it would count in this Virtual running! Claims, but a lot would rest on the ground – he’d need it soft or worse really, which he’s unlikely to get!

STAR-RATING: ***

 

  1. BALLYOPTIC (25/1*)

Age: 10
Weight: 10st 11lbs
Trainer: Nigel Twiston-Davies
Jockey: Sam Twiston-Davies
Official Rating: 157

Well-beaten in the Becher Chase over the National fences back in December and also fell in the Grand National in 2019. Rated 3lbs higher this time but would get in with 4lbs less in actual weight. Was, however, in the process of running well when falling four from home last year (when falling), so could make the frame. Trainer has won the race twice before and also heads here in winning form after landing a decent Listed Chase at Ascot (3m) back in February. If his jumping holds out and with proven experience over the fences then one for the each-way backers.

STAR-RATING: ***

 

  1. BURROWS SAINT (12/1*)

Age: 7
Weight: 10st 10lbs
Trainer: Willie Mullins
Jockey: Rachael Blackmore
Official Rating: 156

Won the 2019 Irish Grand National, so has pedigree in these extreme trip National races. Still only young, but the last horse to win the Grand National as a 7 year-old was in 1940! Clearly a promising young stayer in the making – however, if lining-up for the 2020 Grand National it will be his first run in the race and his age and lack of experience – despite having already won the Irish National – would be the biggest worry for his supporters. On a plus, does head here on the up after a good win at Punchestown (2m3f) back in December so is extremely versatile regarding the trip. His mix of speed and proven stamina could be a big weapon to have, but I can’t help still going back to his age and the last National winner aged 7 being back in 1940. The useful Rachael Blackmore and would be looking to become the first female winning rider in the race – albeit as a cartoon character! Could go well, but maybe he’s a future National winner?

STAR-RATING: ***

 

  1. DEFINITLY RED (14/1*)

Age: 11
Weight: 10st 10lbs
Trainer: Brian Ellison
Jockey: Brian Hughes
Official Rating: 156

Classy sort on his day that was second in the Peter Marsh Chase at Haydock earlier this season. Was also fourth in the Becher Chase over these fences in December. Is a pound lower here and has 14lbs less in weight to carry. Heads here having won last time out at Kelso (3m) in February and seems to act well on most ground. Not getting any younger at 11, but with three National winners since 2012 aged 11 then the age stats are not totally against him! Also has a good overall record at the track and with his proven ability to handle the fences looks an interesting runner. Jockey Brian Hughes, who has a cracking season, gets the leg-up.

STAR-RATING: ****

 

19.SUB LIEUTENANT (33/1*)

Age: 11
Weight: 10st 9lbs
Trainer: Henry De Bromhead
Jockey: JJ Slevin
Official Rating: 155

Not a bad overall win and place record over fences. Another of the older brigade at 11 years-old and stamina over this trip would be a question mark. Represents the Gigginstown House Stud that have won three of the last four runnings though and comes from a top Irish yard. Having said that, last win came back in October 2018 (8 runs back) and was well beaten when last seen back in February at Fairyhouse. On a plus, has handled these fences well in the past when runner-up in the Topham Chase here last season. Has 10lbs less to carry here (than Topham run), but that effort came over 2m5f so he’s got a lot more ground to cover this time too.

STAR-RATING: **

 

  1. OK CORRAL (25/1*)

Age: 10
Weight: 10st 9lbs
Trainer: Nicky Henderson
Jockey: Derek O’Connor
Official Rating: 155

Won the SkyBet Chase earlier this season at Doncaster, but is now rated 9lbs higher than that success. Lightly-raced for his age and has ability as a staying chaser but lacks consistency. Would be his first run in the race. Represents popular owner – JP McManus – who won this race in 2010. Looks to have an ideal racing weight for this race and being unexposed could have more in the locker. But with only 6 career runs over fences that would be a concern over these tricky fences, but he’ll have every assistance from the saddle with Derek O’Connor, who has won on the horse twice in the past, doing the steering. Would be giving the powerful Nicky Henderson yard their first win in the race and if his lack of experience doesn’t catch him out, not one to discount.

STAR-RATING: ****

 

  1. TOUT EST PERMIS (80/1*)

Age: 7
Weight: 10st 9lbs
Trainer: Noel Meade
Jockey: Sean Flanagan
Official Rating: 155

Grade Two-winning chaser, but age would seemingly be against this Noel Meade runner – the last 7 year-old to win the National was in 1940. On a plus, does represent the Gigginstown House Stud owners that have a top recent record in the race, and heads here in good order after a close third in the Pertemps Network Final Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival last month. Probably one for the future in this race, but after being well beaten in the Irish National last season would also have stamina question marks.

STAR-RATING: *

 

  1. VINTAGE CLOUDS (33/1*)

Age: 10
Weight: 10st 8lbs
Trainer: Sue Smith
Jockey: Danny Cook
Official Rating: 154

Owned by Mr Grand National – Trevor Hemmings – who has won this race three times in the past. He fell at the first fence in the 2019 race, when well-fancied – went off a 11/1. At 10 years-old, he’s still got time to play with and represents a yard that have won this race before (2013). Also landed the Peter Marsh Chase (3m1f) this season, but was also pulled-up in the Becher Chase here in December. Last seen running a fair 8th in the Ultima Chase at the Cheltenham Festival and has 10lbs less in weight to carry here. Connections have, however, gone on record as saying they don’t think the horse likes the National fences – but will that be taken into account in this Virtual Race?

STAR-RATING: *

 

  1. CRIEVEHILL (66/1*)

Age: 8
Weight: 10st 8lbs
Trainer: Nigel Twiston-Davies
Jockey: Tom Bellamy
Official Rating: 154

Won twice earlier in the season but struggled since off his higher rating. Trip to prove – however, was 6th in the Grand Sefton over these fences back in 2018 and does represent the Twiston-Davies yard that have won this race twice in the past. Time on his side at just 8 years-old and this age group have actually won three of the last 5 runnings of the Grand National.  Has also won twice this season (Oct and Nov), but recent runs have been way off those effort so does need to recapture some sparkle.

STAR-RATING: *

 

  1. LAKE VIEW LAD (50/1*)

Age: 10
Weight: 10st 8lbs
Trainer: Neil Alexander
Jockey: Henry Brooke
Official Rating: 154

Another that was well-fancied for the 2019 Grand National, but was pulled up in the end. Prior to that had run well to be third in the Ultima Chase at the 2019 Cheltenham Festival. He had 11st 1lb to carry in the 2019 National, so with 5lbs less this time would have a squeak. A further plus – he’s another that runs in the familiar silks of Trevor Hemmings – who has won the race three times before. Gets in with a nice weight and has been kept fresh for this with his last run coming back in January. With 12 top three finishes (from 15 runs) over fences (4 wins) then his place strike-rate over the bigger fences is very decent so can’t be ruled out for each-way players. Does need to prove himself over the trip though and softer ground would suit best.

STAR-RATING: *

 

  1. JURY DUTY (40/1*)

Age: 9
Weight: 10st 8lbs
Trainer: Gordon Elliott
Jockey: Mark Enright
Official Rating: 154

Well-fancied in the 2019 Grand National – was sent off at 10/1. But unseated his rider at the 18th and had lost all chance at that stage – carries 3lbs lower this year. A decent stayer, but a bit to prove based on that running last year. Having said that, is still young enough to progress again and hails from the all-powerful Elliott camp, who have three wins in the real race to their name. Also comes here off the back of a nice run when third at Down Royal last month (3m2f). Small chance, but jumping would need to hold up based on making errors in the real race (unseating) last year.

STAR-RATING: **

 

  1. PLEASANT COMPANY (28/1*)

Age: 12
Weight: 10st 7lbs
Trainer: Willie Mullins
Jockey: David Mullins
Official Rating: 153

A horse, Grand National punters in recent times will be familiar with. He was runner-up in the 2018 running and carries 4lbs less here based on that run. He also unseated his rider in the 2019 renewal but was in the process of running a big race in fourth at the time – he has 8lbs less to carry in weight this year. No spring chicken, as will be 12 years-old in 2020, but does like the track and the fences. We have had two winners since 1995 of the Grand National win of that age. Having tried a few times in the past then it would be a shock if he’s good enough to win at 12 years-old, but with his proven liking and experience of the track then can’t be discounted of those at bigger prices to hit the frame. Is jockey David Mullins won the real race on Rule The World in 2016.

 

STAR-RATING: ***

 

  1. ACAPELLA BOURGEOIS (33/1*)

Age: 10
Weight: 10st 6lbs
Trainer: Willie Mullins
Jockey: Danny Mullins
Official Rating: 152

Showed promise 2-3 seasons ago but has been a hard horse to win with since. Light weight and from the Willie Mullins yard so can’t totally ignore. First run in the race and over these fences, but heads here in tip-top order after winning the Bobby Jo Chase at Fairyhouse in February and was only 6 lengths off the Gold Cup winner – Al Boum Photo – at Tramore back in January. He’s certainly got the form to go well and also has winning efforts on good and heavy ground so whatever the conditions throw up he should be fine. Third in the Irish National last season too so stamina shouldn’t be an issue and even though this will be his first run over the fences is not one to dismiss lightly of those at bigger prices.

STAR-RATING: ***

 

  1. SHATTERED LOVE (66/1*)

Age: 9
Weight: 10st 6lbs
Trainer: Gordon Elliott
Jockey: Lisa O’Neill
Official Rating: 152

Third on New Year’s Day Savill’s Chase to the 2019 Gold Cup winner – Al Boum Photo – and that form has since been given a big boost. She was, however, pulled up in the Irish National last season and the main worry would be the trip. From the powerful Gordon Elliott/Gigginstown team though, but down the field in the Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham Festival last month so would be a big shock if she’s good enough over this sort of trip.

STAR-RATING: *

 

  1. ANY SECOND NOW (10/1*)

Age: 8
Weight: 10st 6lbs
Trainer: Ted Walsh
Jockey: Mark Walsh
Official Rating: 152

Winner of the Kim Muir Chase at the 2019 Cheltenham Festival. A faller in the 2019 Irish National, but was running well at the time. Will be another year older and stronger in 2020 and his yard have history in the race after winning the Grand National in 2000, while his owner – JP McManus – won the 2010 renewal. Warmed-up for this with a win at Naas in a Grade Three Chase back in February and with that coming over just 2 miles is a horse with a lot of versatility. Light weight and not without a chance with proven speed and stamina in his armoury. With 3 of the last 5 winners also aged 8 years-old then he’s got the age trend on his side too. First run over the fences, but on the whole is a fair jumper. His trainer – Ted Walsh – won the real race in 2000 too, so with just 10st 6lbs to carry looks one of the big players.

STAR-RATING: ****

 

  1. POTTERS CORNER (18/1*)

Age: 10
Weight: 10st 6lbs
Trainer: Christian Williams
Jockey: Jack Tudor
Official Rating: 152

Winner of the Midlands National in 2019 and the Welsh National this season so stamina is assured. Raised 7lbs for that win but still gets in here with only 10st 6lbs to carry. Not been seen since so fitness would have to be taken on trust. First run in the race too and might be better in soft/heavy ground, but worth pointing out has won on a good surface too. If able to keep tabs early on this proven stamina would be a big asset, but having fallen twice (from 10 runs over fences) would trigger some alarm bells. His jumping has looked better this season though and with staying power in abundance then he looks a solid play for the each-way backers out there.

STAR-RATING: ***

 

  1. DOUNIKOS (50/1*)

Age: 9
Weight: 10st 5lbs
Trainer: Gordon Elliott
Jockey: Luke Dempsey
Official Rating: 151

Winner of a 2019 Irish Grand National Trial over 3m4f, so the trip is fine, but was pulled-up in this race last year. Carried 11st that day so the 10st 5lbs he’s been allocated this time helps and lightly-raced since. Another from the powerful Gordon Elliott/Gigginstown team.

STAR-RATING: *

 

  1. KILDISART (50/1*)

Age: 8
Weight: 10st 5lbs
Trainer: Ben Pauling
Jockey: Nico de Boinville
Official Rating: 151

Won at this meeting last season – the Grade Three Betway Handicap Chase – so does go well at the track and at this time of year. But first try over the National fences and the longer trip is an unknown. Would prefer better ground to be seen at his best but light weight a plus – so ground conditions are worth noting. Also heads here in good form after a close second in the Ultima Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. Stamina a big question mark, but if the ground is on the quicker side and with a top jockey in Nico de Boinville riding then not without a small say of those at bigger prices.

STAR-RATING: **

 

  1. DEATH DUTY (50/1*)

Age: 9
Weight: 10st 5lbs
Trainer: Gordon Elliott
Jockey: Gavin Brouder
Official Rating: 151

Held in high regard a few seasons ago, but has several setbacks and only returned from a 758-day break in January (4th of 6th). Trip a big unknown with all three chase wins coming over 2m7f or shorter. Glimmers of old ability recently with a 10th in the Brown Advisory Chase at the Cheltenham Festival and then second at Clonmel just a few weeks ago. But the jury is still out as to whether he retains any of his ability from the 2016 and 2017 seasons.

STAR-RATING: *

 

  1. RAMSES DE TEILLEE (66/1*)

Age: 8
Weight: 10st 5lbs
Trainer: David Pipe
Jockey: Tom Scudamore
Official Rating: 151

 

Another promising young stayer. Was pulled up in the 2019 Grand National after making a few mistakes and actually breaking a rein. He’ll be another year older and that experience would have taught him a lot. Had wind surgery since and has returned to winning ways this season (hurdles). Last seen running down the field in the Albert Bartlett at the Cheltenham Festival but prior to the that had won well at Donny and Haydock. Needs to bounce back but was second in the Grand National Trial at Haydock (3m4f) in 2019 so worth another crack at this trip. He’ll be looking to give his trainer a second win in the race, after winning the 2008 running with Comply Or Die, plus being a grey horse would be only the fourth horse of that colour to land the prize.

STAR-RATING: **

 

  1. VALTOR (66/1*)

Age: 11
Weight: 10st 4lbs
Trainer: Nicky Henderson
Jockey: James Bowen
Official Rating: 150

Had many races in France but less than 10 for the Henderson yard after joining them later in life. Softer ground will help but was 18th in the race 12 months ago – beaten 76 lengths – so a lot to prove. On a plus, does have 16lbs less in weight to carry this time and is rated 10lbs lower. Not been seen since February but is a horse that’s gone well fresh in the past. All-in-all would be a big ask.

STAR-RATING: *

 

  1. SAINT XAVIER (66/1*)

Age: 8
Weight: 10st 4lbs
Trainer: Paul Nicholls
Jockey: David Maxwell
Official Rating: 150

Lightly-raced in this country but has had plenty of racing in France. First run in the race but comes from the powerful Paul Nicholls yard, who won this in 2012. The popular jockey David Maxwell rides, but you feel the horse could be a tad out of his depth in a race like this – was last seen being beaten 52 lengths by another runner here – Definitely Red – at Kelso back in February.

STAR-RATING: *

 

  1. WARRIORS TALE (80/1*)

Age: 11
Weight: 10st 4lbs
Trainer: Paul Nicholls
Jockey: Harry Cobden
Official Rating: 150

Another that is owned by Trevor Hemmings – who has won the main race three times. Winner of the 2018 Grand Sefton Chase over these fences so we know he handles these tricky obstacles. However, was pulled up when well back in the 2018 and 2019 Grand Nationals so a lot to answer. Is rated 3lbs lower and carries 9lbs less this time though, but with age against him you’d have to be surprised if he was good enough.

STAR-RATING: *

 

  1. DOUBLE SHUFFLE (100/1*)

Age: 10
Weight: 10st 4lbs
Trainer: Tom George
Jockey: Jonathan Burke
Official Rating: 150

Been placed in the King George VI Chase in the past so a fair sort on his day. Has slipped down the handicap in recent years though after becoming a hard horse to win with – at the time of writing his last win was back in 2016 – 16 races ago!

STAR-RATING: *

 

  1. KIMBERLITE CANDY (16/1*)

Age: 8
Weight: 10st 4lbs
Trainer: Tom Lacey
Jockey: Richie McLernon
Official Rating: 150

Been in good form this season and was an excellent runner-up in the Becher Chase over these fences in December – beaten just 2 ½ lengths behind Walk In The Mill. Up 13lbs from that run though so a lot more on his plate here. However, looks a horse on the up and one for the shortlist after backing up that success with another win at Warwick in the Grade Three Classic Chase (3m5f). Gets in here with a very light weight (10st 4lbs) and jockey Richie McLernon, who has gone close in the real National in the past, gets on well with the horse – ridden him in his last 7 races. First run in the race, but – as mentioned – he’s at least had a taster of these fences, when running in the Becher Chase (2nd) this season. Softer ground would help a tad, but has won on good-to-soft ground in the past too. Looks another of the leading players and is sure to be popular in the betting. Runs in the famous JP McManus green and gold colours, who won the real race in 2010 with Don’t Push It.

STAR-RATING: *****

 

  1. WALK IN THE MILL (16/1*)

Age: 10
Weight: 10st 4lbs
Trainer: Robert Walford
Jockey: James Best
Official Rating: 150

Ran a cracker to be fourth in the 2019 Grand National and could be back for more. He carried just 10st 4lbs in 2019, but was beaten just 16 lengths behind Tiger Roll. He was also the winner of the 2018 and 2019 Becher Chase over these fences, so we know they suit him well. He’s certainly one for the shortlist in 2020 and has been kept fresh for this with only three runs this season. The last of those came at the end of January over hurdles to protect his handicap mark over fences – a tactic a lot of recent National winners adopted – we’ll see if that plan has worked.

STAR-RATING: ****

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JUICESTORM BEST BETS:

KIMBERLITE CANDY & MAGIC OF LIGHT

DANGERS: OK CORRAL, WALK IN THE MILL, ANY SECOND NOW

 

 

 

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