It’s difficult to find any negatives about the admirable TIGER ROLL in his quest to become the first back-to-back winner since the great Red Rum. However, his odds offer no value in a race that requires luck and talent in equal measure, so I’m prepared to look elsewhere.
Sue and Harvey Smith, who won the National with Auroras Encore in 2013, have a live chance with VINTAGE CLOUDS who can give lucky owner Trevor Hemmings a remarkable fourth win in the great race. The nine-year-old is attractively weighted on 10st 4lb, receiving a whopping 15lb from the Tiger, and ran a taking race at Cheltenham last month on his first start since undergoing wind surgery. That rates a career best and any rain in Liverpool will improve his prospects further.
Cheltenham Gold Cup runner-up ANIBALE FLY has to be on my shortlist, despite carrying top weight. He is arguably a better horse than when finishing a creditable fourth in last year’s renewal and has that edge of class. He should be right up there but I have a niggling feeling that his welter burden may just take its toll between the last and the famous Elbow.
My long shot is the Nigel Twiston-Davies trained GO CONQUER, who was impressive in winning the Sky Bet Chase at Doncaster. Nigel knows what it takes to win a National and son Sam can look forward to an exciting ride. He’s high enough in the handicap but has been trained meticulously with this race in mind, is a good safe jumper and likes to race prominently, which can be an advantage in this race.
Simon’s Four for the National
- VINTAGE CLOUDS
- TIGER ROLL
- ANIBALE FLY
- GO CONQUER