Tom Lee's Grand National Tips: The Druids Nephew has The Magic To Master The Aintree Fences


What does it take to win the Grand National?

Class, guts, stamina, speed, determination and luck.

The last of those commodities is a vital component in an iconic race, one which carries a cool million pounds sterling in prize money!

Forty runners, 30 fences, and a marathon four and quarter miles at one of the world's greatest racecourse.

A full to capacity Aintree is an awesome sight, playing host to a race which has thrown up some jaw-dropping results, such as 100/1 stunner Mon Mome back in 2009.

 

A year later a longed-for victory for Sir Anthony McCoy nearly raised the roof, as he got the job done on public gamble Don't Push It, eventually returned the 10/1 joint first choice of the punters'.

Silver Birch was a breakthrough win for soon-to-be star trainer Gordon Elliott back in 2007, while 12 months ago Many Clouds was giving jockey Leighton Aspell a second consecutive win after Pineau De Re in 2014.

So, who to back in the high quality renewal of 2016?

Don't ignore Many Clouds just because he's top weight - five of the last seven winners of this race have carried 11 stone or more - and this is a horse who defied the trend of Grand National winners failing to win another race after their Aintree heroics.

That said, it's extremely tough to run well in this race two years on the spin, and maybe the winner lurks at bigger prices...

Despite being a relative whippersnapper at the age of 35, up-and-coming Neil Mulholland has already made a big impression as a trainer.

Breakthrough Cheltenham Festival success in 2015 has been backed up with a mightily impressive 56 winners so far this campaign, and it's the horse who struck Festival gold for him 13 months ago who may well be primed for National glory.

The Druids Nephew might well have won the National but for his misfortune 12 months ago, leading them a merry dance when he tumbled out of the race five from home.

He was sent off at just 10/1 then, but though he's nine pounds higher in the ratings now that's possibly offset by his increased experience and nous, as demonstrated in an excellent warm up run at Doncaster in early March.

The booking of Denis O'Regan, one of the most stylish riders out there increases confidence, and The Druids Nephew looks a tempting each way fancy.

However, in a race as complex as the National don't be afraid to back two, with so many plausible contenders to choose from...

The Irish have won seven of the last 17 renewals, and at a big price Jim Dreaper's Goonyella could have exactly what's needed.

The recent rainfall has been very much in his favour, and having missed out by a whisker on a place in last year's race he could be ready to make a big impression here.

A thorough stayer, he's got tonnes of experience in races of this nature, and is prepared by a man who excels with long distance chasers.

Goonyella was a winner in last year's Midlands Grand National, topping that piece of form when subsequently runner up in the Scottish National at Ayr.

He arrives having notched a decent second in his prep run at Naas, and at big odds under a light weight he could well play a starring role. 

Good luck!

 

Saturdays's best bets at Aintree:

5.15 - Crabbie's Grand National - 9 The Druids Nephew (each way) 

5.15 - Crabbie's Grand National - 21 Goonyella (each way)