THE AINTREE GRAND NATIONAL IS COMING UP ON APRIL 4, 2020

Tiger Roll assigned top weight for the Grand National

The formidable Tiger Roll will have to overcome weight of 11 st. 10 lbs. (164 lbs.) if he is to record an unprecedented hat-trick of three consecutive wins in the Aintree Grand National. Tiger Roll’s owner, Gigginstown House Stud, has warned that the stable’s star chaser will not run if it believes the gelding has been unfairly treated in terms of weight.  The 10-year-old Tiger Roll has been raised 11 lbs. in the official ratings but will be carrying just 5 pounds more than last year.

Once the dust has settled, it seems almost certain that Tiger Roll will run on April 4.   He finally reappeared on track over hurdles at Navan in February, racing keenly until tiring in the closing stages to finish fifth. Yet trainer Gordon Elliott was delighted with that run, considering it to be a prep for the Cross Country Chase at Cheltenham, which he will try to win for a third straight year.  If all goes to plan, Tiger Roll will certainly start as the favorite in his quest to become the first horse in history to achieve a three-peat in the Country Chase.  His 2019 win was by an easy 22 lengths.

Gigginstown House Stud also entered Delta Work in the Grand National, who it believes has a realistic chance to win the 2020 Cheltenham Gold Cup on March 13.   Delta Work has been allotted the same weight as Tiger Roll.

Magic Of Light up 7 lbs. from last year

2019 Grand National runner-up Magic Of Light and fourth-placed Walk In The Mill have been raised 7 lbs. and 6 lbs., respectively, for the 2020 race.

Magic Of Light, a 9-year-old mare, made a costly mistake at the final fence in the 2019 Grand National, so she has a shot at turning the tables on Tiger Roll.  The last mare to win the race was Nickel Coin way back in 1951. Magic of Light has already won at Newbury and Ascot this year.

A recent run over hurdles has kept Robert Walford’s Walk in the Mill on track for Aintree.  Walk in the Mill’s prospects were covered in late January by HorseRacingBusiness.com. A recent run over hurdles has kept the gelding on schedule for Aintree.

Multiple factors go into finding the ideal bet for the Grand National. To assist in handicapping the race, the Grand National Guide provides extensive analysis and betting trends as well as best bets. Last year, the Guide forecast two placed horses from four headline selections and the experts will once again be doing their homework to predict the 2020 Grand National winner.

Burrows Saint a strong tip from Ireland

Stamina is certainly a key factor in finding the Grand National winner and there is no better trial than the Irish Grand National.  Willie Mullins sent out Burrows Saint to win the race last year and a repeat has been his target ever since.  The horse is now 12 lbs. higher but is only seven years of age so could still be improving. Mullins’ entries finished 1-2-3 in the 2019 Irish Grand National.

Another to watch is Potters Corner, who stayed on to win the Welsh Grand National in heavy ground in December.  Trainer Christian Williams believes his horse can be effective on faster ground but the more rain the better for his supporters. Williams rode Royal Auclair to finish second in the 2005 Grand National so a victory as a trainer would be a significant addition to his resume.

Grand National betting is hugely popular in the United Kingdom and bookmakers will be offering special enhanced terms for the big race. These can include each-way betting down to sixth or even seventh place. If a bettor places an ante-post wager on the Grand National, he or she should make sure that the bookmaker is offering the “Non-Runner/No Bet” guarantee.  This ensures that if the horse wagered on is withdrawn for any reason, the bettor will be reimbursed.

Copyright © 2020 Horse Racing Business

WALK IN THE MILL TO LAND IN THE 2020 GRAND NATIONAL

The Grand National is an iconic steeplechase known as “a race that stops a nation,” in reference to avid fan attention in Great Britain. With 40 horses in the field, the race draws interest from dedicated bettors to non-fans who just pick a name they like, and office sweepstakes are popular.

The 2020 edition of the Grand National is scheduled for Saturday, April 4 at Aintree Racecourse, near Liverpool, England.

Aintree Racecourse

Over the years, there have been some eye-catching performances and many fairy-tale stories: from victorious longshots to trainers and jockeys winning for the first time.  In 2020, the back-to-back winner in 2018 and 2019 Tiger Roll is looking for an unprecedented threepeat. 

Tiger Roll, owned by Ireland-based Gigginstown House Stud and trained by Gordon Elliott, is the ultimate stayer over jumps and he makes it look so easy.  In 2018, Tiger Roll delivered a superb display winning the Cross Country chase at Cheltenham over 3 miles and then a month later, followed up with a masterful performance in the Grand National—prevailing under a savvy ride by Davy Russell.  The Cheltenham Festival–Grand National double nicely rewarded the bettors who backed the horse in both races.

In 2019, Elliott had Tiger Roll in prime order to have a go at defending the Cross Country race at Cheltenham Festival, which the horse easily won by 22 lengths.  This set the stage for the Grand National at Aintree.

Tiger Roll was well backed into a short favorite of +400 in the Grand National and bettors were right.  He cruised around the difficult course to be in an ideal position to pounce when he was a few fences out.  As in 2018, Tiger Roll got to the front and went on to win by 2 ¾ lengths.  Magic of Light finished second and is likely to have another run in the race this year.

Can Tiger Roll win a third Grand National in a row?  Bettors say “yes.”  At +600 in Bovada (bet $100 to win $600), Tiger Roll is the clear favorite.  However, he will face stiff opposition from a number of talented horses.

Walk In The Mill is one of the challengers.  The Robert Walford-trained horse has twice won over the tough Aintree fences, notably winning a Grand National trial called the Beecher Chase in December 2018 and 2019.

The Beecher Chase requires horses to jump over the Grand National fences, so they have first-hand experience on the Grand National course.  Thus Walk In The Mill could very well dethrone Tiger Roll.  The principal difference between the Grand National and the Beecher Chase is that the former typically has over twice the number of starters.

Grand National

Second in the 2019 Beecher Chase was Kimberlite Candy, who ran well and is +2000 to win the Grand National this year.  The Beecher Chase performance gave the gelding’s backers a reason to believe he has a live shot in the Grand National.

A few veteran horses have also been entered in this year’s Grand National.  For example, One for Arthur and Anibale Fly (runner up in the Gold Cup) can be backed at +3300.

Tiger Roll has a formidable task ahead to win the Grand National a third time.  Walk In The Mill looks to be the horse to beat him; his two wins over the Aintree fences indicate that he is capable of winning a 4-mile race at +2000.

CHELTENHAM 2020 RACES

For reputations, racing honors and more than $5.9 million in prize money, the Cheltenham Festival will once again bring together most of the biggest names in European jump racing.  Set to take place from March 10-13, 2020, the event is already creating headlines as has been its tradition since 1860. Bettors are warming up for what could turn out to be the best moments of their lives and bookmakers are on the other side, ready to profit from the former’s losses.

For those who can make their way to the Cheltenham Festival to bear witness first hand, advance tickets are selling from $52 and up (until 10:59 a.m. on January 31).  Advance group tickets are also available and are priced from $49.  Last-minute gate tickets will retail from around $65.

Gates to the event will open at 10:30 a.m on March 10th to allow fans to settle in for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle Race, which will kick-off the Festival. The race goes off at 1:30 p.m. and Abacadacras appears to be the favorite with odds of 4/1 at Betfair.  Fiddlerontheroof is another choice for the race having 8/1 odds at William Hill. 

Last year’s event saw some new races included in the program.  This year, there has been an addition of “The Park,” where continuous live music and entertainment will be provided each race day.  The fan-friendly venue will contain an assortment of bars showing the races live, and at 4:30 p.m. patrons can listen to a DJ set for 90 minutes.

Bettors trying to beat the bookies at their game, may be attracted to informative links like https://www.freebets.co.uk/cheltenham-festival-free-bets/.  Some of the latest offers in the market include free bets of up to $33 for every $13 placed at Boylesports.  With Bet365, a bettor can claim up to $131 by wagering on Cheltenham.  

With the excitement that the Cheltenham Festival brings, one would expect fans to applaud the possible expansion to a fifth day of racing.  However, this idea was not popular when the Festival’s new chairman discussed the idea on ITV.  A poll conducted on Twitter yielded lower than 20% votes of those in favor of adding a fifth day.  The main fear expressed was that the intensity of the Festival would be diluted as champions compete with inferior opponents brought in to fill races.

Over the years, there have been more odds-on favorites as a result of increasing the number of days of competition.  Fans’ concerns are therefore not misplaced as they can be backed by statistics.  For instance, in 60 races held in 2002 thru 2004, there were no odds-on favorites in 2002 and 2003 and only three in 2004, or 5% of all races.  By contrast, the last three years have produced 11 odds-on favorites over 84 races, a rate of about 13%.  

This tends to reduce the appeal of the Festival. The only way the negative effects of an additional day can be compensated for is by finding more talented and competitive horses. The opposition of the idea is thus not just resistance to change.