Grand National - At The Races

Grand National Runners Guide

    Guide to the world's most famous race by Kevin Blake.

We've asked Kevin Blake to take a close look at the full field for the 2019 Randox Health Grand National. Below you'll find his analysis of every horse, together with up to three video form clips from the ATR archive.

Kevin has graded each horse's chance on a scale of 1-5, with just one horse given top marks. The scale can be interpreted as:

1 star: No hoper. 2 stars: Hard to fancy. 3 stars: Each-way chance. 4 stars: Leading win contenders. 5 stars: Kevin's win selection.

To get started, just click on the name of any horse below or to see all horses at the same time click the Expand All button.

Horse profiles

Anibale Fly (FR)

  • 10-y-o; bay gelding
  • Breeding: Assessor - Nouba Fly (Chamberlin)
  • Trained by: A J Martin
  • Last Race: Naas, 8 Mar 2020 16:50
  • Result: 3/13, md, dropped to 10th and pushed along 4 out, ridden in moderate 7th when left 6th 2 out, moderate 5th and left 4th at last, went 3rd inside final furlong, kept on
  • View full form

Placed in the last two renewals of the Gold Cup at the Cheltenham Festival and looked better than ever when second in the most recent running of it. He finished a good fourth in this race last year off a 5lb lower mark after charting a wide passage. He is a fresher horse for the race this season and looks to have strong claims.

Video Form
9 Dec 2018:
4 Feb 2018:
27 Dec 2017:
2 Dec 2017:

Valtor (FR)

Looked well exposed when trained in France, but made an explosive start for current connections when bolting up in a valuable handicap chase at Ascot in December. Failed to build on that when hanging badly right and being pulled up in a Grade 2 chase at Cheltenham last time. Plenty to prove now.

Video Form
31 Oct 2020:
15 Feb 2020:
23 Nov 2019:
22 Dec 2018:

Tiger Roll (IRE)

A cult hero that has won four times at the Cheltenham Festival and just held on to win this race off a 9lb lower mark last season. He has looked better than ever in his last two starts, bolting up in a Grade 2 hurdle at Navan and winning the cross-country chase at the Cheltenham Festival by 22 lengths. Very strong claims to become the first horse to win this race twice since Red Rum in 1974.

Outlander (IRE)

A three-time Grade 1 winner over fences in his prime, but has become unpredictable and moody in more recent times. Now 10lb lower than his peak rating and could possibly have his interest rekindled by this unique test, but that thought seems fanciful.

Video Form
28 Dec 2018:
3 Nov 2018:
17 Oct 2018:
25 Apr 2018:
2 Apr 2018:

Don Poli (IRE)

  • 11-y-o; bay gelding
  • Breeding: Poliglote - Dalamine (Sillery)
  • Trained by: D Skelton
  • Last Race: Haydock, 21 Nov 2020 15:35
  • Result: PU/11, tracked leaders, not fluent and niggled along 12th, ridden and struggling 14th, pulled up before 15th
  • View full form

A three-time Grade 1 winner over fences that was once a model of consistency at the highest level, he hasn’t shown much encouragement since returning from an injury this season, including over these fences in the Becher Chase. Has long appealed as being likely to be suited by the demands of this race, but hard to fancy based on his recent form.

Go Conquer (IRE)

A bold-jumping front-runner that produced a career-best effort to win a valuable handicap chase at Doncaster last time. He has tried these fences once in the Topham Chase in 2017 and that mid-field effort can be readily forgiven as he was badly hampered at the Canal Turn. Likely to show up well for a long way, but his stamina for this trip is a major concern.

Video Form
2 Nov 2019:
26 Jan 2019:
15 Dec 2018:
3 Nov 2018:
23 Dec 2017:

Mala Beach

  • 12-y-o; bay gelding
  • Breeding: Beneficial - Peppardstown (Old Vic)
  • Trained by: G Elliott
  • Last Race: Thurles, 21 Nov 2019 12:50
  • Result: 2/5, tracked leaders, 4th halfway, closer after 4 out, pushed along and went 2nd after next, ridden and no impression on winner approaching last, kept on one pace
  • View full form

Won the Troytown Chase at Navan in 2017 and has long shaped as though a marathon trip such as this would suit him. He has likely been trained with this race in mind all season and it wouldn’t surprise to see him run well.

Video Form
1 Apr 2018:
19 Mar 2018:
4 Feb 2018:

Minella Rocco (IRE)

Finished second in the Gold Cup at the Cheltenham Festival in 2017 and while he hasn’t hit those heights since, he will race off a mark that is 11lb lower than his peak here. He has hinted at promise this season and with this stamina test being likely to suit him, he will have a sneaky chance if his jumping holds up.

Video Form
22 Nov 2019:
4 Feb 2018:
28 Dec 2017:

Lake View Lad (IRE)

Less exposed than most and has improved with each start this season, winning twice prior to finishing third in the Ultima Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. A genuine sort that jumps well and promises to stay well, he looks to have strong prospects.

Video Form
30 Nov 2019:
1 Dec 2018:
2 Dec 2017:

Pleasant Company

Finished a head second to Tiger Roll in this race last year, jumping particularly well and rallying bravely up the run-in. While his two runs this season lacked promise, he went into last year’s race with a similarly low-profile preparation and it didn’t hold him back. 7lb higher than last year, but must be respected.

Video Form
19 May 2019:
28 Dec 2018:
25 Jan 2018:
27 Dec 2017:

Ballyoptic (IRE)

Less exposed over fences than most and showed that a strong stamina test suits him when a nose second in the Scottish Grand National last season. Looked a likely candidate for this race at the start of the campaign, but has since fallen over these fences in the Becher Chase and ran poorly on his most recent outing. Has it all to prove now.

Video Form
15 Feb 2020:
12 Oct 2019:
27 Dec 2018:

Dounikos (FR)

A Grade 2-winning novice chaser in 2017/18, he looked in danger of becoming a disappointment until bouncing back to form to win the Grand National Trial at Punchestown in February. Will have a chance if reproducing that effort, but his overall profile is not convincing.

Video Form
27 Dec 2018:
25 Nov 2018:
24 Apr 2018:
2 Apr 2018:
4 Feb 2018:

Rathvinden

Lightly raced for his age, he won the National Hunt Chase at the Cheltenham Festival last year and made a winning return to action in the Bobbyjo Chase at Fairyhouse in February. The latter win leaves him officially 5lb well-in for this and with the test appealing as being likely to suit him, he looks to have a strong chance.

Video Form
19 May 2019:
24 Apr 2018:
4 Feb 2018:
29 Dec 2017:
3 Dec 2017:

One For Arthur (IRE)

Won this race in 2017 off a 6lb lower mark, but was absent for over 18 months after that and has unseated his rider in both his starts since his return. The return to the scene of his great triumph might bring back some of his sparkle, but it’ll very much need to if he is to compete.

Rock The Kasbah (IRE)

  • 10-y-o; chestnut gelding
  • Breeding: Shirocco - Impudent (In The Wings)
  • Trained by: P J Hobbs
  • Last Race: Taunton, 18 Jan 2020 14:50
  • Result: 2/6, hit 1st, chased leading pair, went 2nd after 14th until 4 out, ridden and well held before next, went 2nd again at the last, no chance with winner
  • View full form

Doesn’t have the most consistent of profiles, but has been steadily progressive over fences. Didn’t produce one of his better effort last time, but it wouldn’t be a shock to see him bounce back with this stamina test potentially being to his liking.

Video Form
13 Oct 2018:

Warriors Tale

Pulled up in this race when appearing not to get the trip last year, but benefited from that experience and returned to the big fences to win the Grand Sefton in December. Not as good in two starts since and has serious stamina concerns back over this longer trip.

Video Form
19 Feb 2020:
26 Jan 2019:
27 Jan 2018:

Regal Encore (IRE)

Finished eighth in this race in 2017 and was a late non-runner in it last year. He shaped as well as ever on his latest start at Ascot and has solid prospects of running well again.

Video Form
31 Oct 2020:
15 Feb 2020:
21 Dec 2019:
2 Nov 2019:
11 Oct 2019:

Magic Of Light

A significant improver this season, but she hasn’t always convinced with her jumping and is far from sure to stay this longer trip. She will bid to become the first mare to win the race since 1951.

Video Form
18 Jan 2020:
19 Jan 2019:
25 Nov 2018:
27 Apr 2018:
17 Apr 2018:

A Toi Phil (FR)

  • 10-y-o; bay gelding
  • Breeding: Day Flight - Lucidrile (Beyssac)
  • Trained by: G L Moore
  • Last Race: Newbury, 8 Feb 2020 15:00
  • Result: 4/6, held up and last, headway on outside 2 out, went 3rd last, kept on pressing for 3rd run-in, never able to challenge
  • View full form

Plenty of miles on the clock for one of his age and has yet to really hit top form this season. Runs off an 8lb lower mark than his peak rating, but would be far from sure to stay this longer trip and looks up against it.

Video Form
9 Dec 2018:
15 Nov 2018:
6 Oct 2018:
24 Apr 2018:
2 Apr 2018:

Jury Duty

Consistent over fences, he looked as good as ever when winning a conditions chase at Down Royal in March. While he showed as much stamina as he ever has that day, he has never appealed as one that wanted as extreme a test as this. That is the main doubt attached to him.

Video Form
6 Oct 2018:
12 Sep 2018:
1 Aug 2018:
24 Apr 2018:
28 Jan 2018:

Noble Endeavor

Has hinted that a marathon test of stamina will suit him and has shaped with subtle promise in both his starts to date, including over these fences in the Becher Chase. Likely to have been trained all season with this race in mind and appeals as being a contender.

Monbeg Notorious

Proved very progressive on testing ground last season, but hasn’t shaped with nearly as much promise this season having put three laboured efforts next to his name. This extreme test of stamina should suit, but he would most likely prefer more testing ground than he is likely to get.

Video Form
24 Apr 2018:
2 Apr 2018:
18 Feb 2018:
25 Jan 2018:
31 Dec 2017:

Ramses De Teillee (FR)

Has run very well to finish second in the Welsh Grand National and the Grand National Trial at Haydock in his last two starts. He is officially 5lb well-in here having been reassessed after his latest run. A strong stayer that is still progressing, he has a solid chance.

Video Form
17 Oct 2020:
25 Jan 2020:
27 Dec 2018:
8 Dec 2018:
19 Jan 2018:

Tea For Two

A two-time Grade 1 winner over fences, he hasn’t been in that sort of form for over a year and will run off a 15lb lower mark than his peak rating. Difficult to fancy.

Video Form
4 Oct 2019:
8 May 2019:

Just A Par (IRE)

Best known for winning the b365 Gold Cup at Sandown in 2015 and finishing a short-head second in the 2016 renewal for Paul Nicholls, he just hinted at promise on his return from over 18 months off and his first start for his current trainer in the Becher Chase in December. He has raced over the Grand National fences on four occasions, but has failed to make an impact.

Video Form
19 Feb 2020:

Step Back (IRE)

  • 10-y-o; chestnut gelding
  • Breeding: Indian River - Stepitoutmary (Roselier)
  • Trained by: M Bradstock
  • Last Race: Sandown, 8 Nov 2020 15:30
  • Result: Won/10, made all, led, pressed 3 out, ridden along and led narrowly 2 out, responded gamely when challenged on both sides at the last, kept on run-in, brave
  • View full form

Lightly raced and unexposed over fences, his relative inexperience didn’t hold him back from bolting up in the bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown last season. He looks to have been brought along steadily this season, potentially with this race in mind. He is a fascinating contender.

Video Form
13 Oct 2018:
7 Apr 2018:
2 Feb 2018:

Ultragold (FR)

Boasts an excellent record over these fences, winning the last two renewals of the Topham Chase as well as finishing second in the Grand Sefton in 2017 and third in the Becher Chase earlier this season. However, he isn’t the strongest stayer and his stamina for this trip is a major concern.

Video Form
8 Sep 2020:
2 Nov 2019:

Blow By Blow (IRE)

Won the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival last season, but has been hit and miss as a novice chaser this season, with his last three runs being particularly disappointing. Difficult to fancy.

Video Form
29 Dec 2018:
2 Dec 2018:
18 Nov 2018:
28 Oct 2018:
25 Apr 2018:

Up For Review (IRE)

Unexposed at staying trips over fences and has shaped better than the result in his last two starts in the Thyestes Chase at Gowran Park and in the Ultima Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. Has to prove his stamina and needs to tidy up his jumping a shade, but appeals as being well handicapped and is an interesting contender.

Video Form
13 May 2018:
27 Apr 2018:
1 Apr 2018:
10 Mar 2018:
17 Feb 2018:

Singlefarmpayment

Has gone close in a few valuable handicap chases, but has only won once in 14 starts over fences and has been a frustrating horse to follow. Could be the type to have his resolution sparked up by this unique test, but will never be one to place too much faith in.

Video Form
23 Dec 2017:

Vieux Lion Rouge (FR)

Has plenty of experience over these fences, running in the last three renewals of this race (7th in both 2016 and 2017) as well as winning the Becher Chase in 2016 and finishing second in it this season. He has been very laboured in his last two starts, but the return to these fences might help him show a bit more.

Video Form
11 Oct 2019:
27 Dec 2018:
17 Feb 2018:

Valseur Lido (FR)

  • 11-y-o; bay gelding
  • Breeding: Anzillero - Libido Rock (Video Rock)
  • Trained by: H de Bromhead
  • Last Race: Listowel, 11 Sep 2019 16:15
  • Result: 12/18, pushed along briefly early, soon disputed lead, headed approaching 7 out, soon reminder, lost position and slight mistake 5 out, weakened from before 4 out, completely tailed off
  • View full form

A three-time Grade 1 winner, he has been on the downgrade for over a year. He ran well for an awful long way in this race last year off a 12lb higher mark, but ultimately finished well beaten. Hard to expect much better this year.

Video Form
22 Nov 2018:
1 Aug 2018:
29 Mar 2018:
17 Feb 2018:
4 Feb 2018:

Vintage Clouds (IRE)

A standing dish in high-class staying handicap chases and while he has finished second a worrying amount of times, his return to winning ways at Haydock in November showed that his will to win isn’t as poor as his strike rate suggests. Should be suited by this test and shouldn’t be ruled out.

Video Form
27 Dec 2018:
6 Jan 2018:

General Principle

Won the Irish Grand National last season and has shaped with some promise this season, most notably when third in the Grand National Trial at Punchestown in February. Could well be suited by this longer trip and is worth considering.

Video Form
27 Dec 2018:
25 Nov 2018:
2 Apr 2018:
9 Mar 2018:
4 Feb 2018:

Livelovelaugh

  • 10-y-o; bay gelding
  • Breeding: Beneficial - Another Evening (Saddlers' Hall)
  • Trained by: W P Mullins
  • Last Race: Ballinrobe, 6 Sep 2020 16:15
  • Result: 2/5, tracked leader, slight mistake at 6th, no impression on clear leader after 3 out, kept on one paced in moderate 2nd before last
  • View full form

Ran very well when second in a valuable handicap chase at Leopardstown in February, but has yet to prove his stamina for three miles, never mind this far longer trip.

Video Form
27 Dec 2018:
28 Jan 2018:
6 Jan 2018:
2 Dec 2017:

Walk In The Mill (FR)

Has steadily progressed up through the handicap chase ranks in recent years and made his first start over these fences a winning one in the Becher Chase last December. He has been kept ticking over with two runs over hurdles since and this has been his target all season. A leading contender.

Video Form
31 Oct 2020:
31 Jan 2020:
7 Jan 2019:
23 Dec 2017:

Folsom Blue (IRE)

Strong-staying veteran that won the Grand National Trial at Punchestown last season prior to finishing an unlucky fourth in the Irish Grand National. He hasn’t been in quite as good form this season, but he will relish this marathon trip.

Video Form
16 Mar 2019:
27 Dec 2018:
26 Apr 2018:
2 Apr 2018:
11 Feb 2018:

Captain Redbeard (IRE)

  • 11-y-o; chestnut gelding
  • Breeding: Bach - Diesel Dancer (Toulon)
  • Trained by: W Coltherd
  • Last Race: Newcastle, 30 Nov 2019 15:20
  • Result: PU/9, held up in touch, headway on inside 12th, driven after 4 out, never on terms, weakened and pulled up before 2 out
  • View full form

A generally consistent staying chaser, he has run over these fences three times and has yet to make a meaningful impact, including when unseating his rider in the early stages of this race last year.

Video Form
30 Nov 2019:

Bless The Wings (IRE)

  • 15-y-o; bay gelding
  • Breeding: Winged Love - Silva Venture (Mandalus)
  • Trained by: G Elliott
  • Last Race: Aintree, 6 Apr 2019 17:15
  • Result: 13/40, behind, headway into mid-division 22nd (2nd bechers), ridden after 3 out, never near leaders
  • View full form

A real veteran that has run at the last seven Cheltenham Festivals, he has run in this race twice and defied his advancing years to finish third in it last year. While he disappointed in the cross-country chase at the Cheltenham Festival last time, it wouldn’t surprise to see him run well.

Video Form
26 Apr 2018:
2 Apr 2018:
3 Dec 2017:

Joe Farrell (IRE)

Quite lightly-raced for his age and most notably won the Scottish Grand National at Ayr last year. Showed he is back to form by finishing a close second in a handicap chase at Newbury in March and is officially 3lb well-in based on that run. Stamina shouldn’t be a problem for him and he has to be considered.

Video Form
9 Oct 2020:
14 Mar 2020:
11 Oct 2019:

Kevin's Verdict

Grand National 2019

Tiger Roll must have a serious chance of becoming the first two-time winner of this race since Red Rum, but his price will be prohibitively short and the one selected against him at a bigger price is STEP BACK. He defied his inexperience to win the bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown last season and has been trained for this race since then. Lake View Lad and Anibale Fly are the other two selected to fill the frame.

  • 1. STEP BACK
  • 2. Tiger Roll
  • 3. Lake View Lad
  • 4. Anibale Fly