Star Pinstickers’ Guide – Football & Racing News – Star Sports

GRAND NATIONAL DAY SATURDAY: Here is our exclusive Star Pinstickers’ Guide to Saturday’s Grand National at Aintree compiled by MORAY SMITH. Also check out the latest GRAND NATIONAL BETTING and look out for a huge range of specials and offers on the big race due off at 5.15pm.

Preview: A lot was made of last year’s winner Noble Yeats being the first 7yo to win the race since 1940, but since the distance of the race was shortened and the fences made easier in 2013, younger horses have been coming to the fore. Four of the six winners prior to Noble Yeats were aged eight, when previously there had only been two victorious horses that age since 1970.  So in a reversal of the previous approach to finding the winner, it may now pay to focus on the younger improving horses who may still have a little up their sleeve from the handicapper.

Prior to 2013, a big weight was seen as a negative. Horses carrying over 11 stones were often dismissed on that basis alone, However, looking at the first six horses home in each renewal since the complexion of the race changed, there has been a very even spread of weight carried as classier horses are now targeting the race so don’t let a low saddlecloth number put you off.

This year the Cheltenham horses have had over four weeks to recover from their exertions, so there’s every chance that they will be able to give their true running here, especially if they have had a relatively light season geared around both targets, as appears the case with Noble Yeats, Corach Rambler and Delta Work for example.


Any Second Now   ⭐⭐⭐

Bidding to improve on last year’s game runner up effort and third place finish in 2019. As an 11yo racing off an 8lb higher mark this time around, it’s easy to think his best chance of victory is now behind him but he looks primed for another good run. GRAND NATIONAL BETTING

Noble Yeats ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Last year’s impressive winner (pictured below) has a hefty 19lbs higher mark to overcome this year, but is a young improving horse who has shown high class from this season, culminating in a staying on fourth placed finish in the last month’s Cheltenham Gold Cup. Doesn’t have the benefit of last year’s Aintree specialist jockey this time around. GRAND NATIONAL BETTING

Galvin ⭐⭐⭐

Top class chaser who went off second favourite when fourth in last year’s Gold Cup. Has shown a similar level of form twice this season, most recently when runner up to Delta Work in last month’s Cross Country Chase at the Festival but he doesn’t look an obvious candidate for this unique test. Wouldn’t want the ground to be too testing. GRAND NATIONAL BETTING

Royale Pagaille ⭐⭐

Nothing in his form suggests that he will thrive in a race run over this far with so many rivals around him. High class on his day, but that day is more likely to be a slog in the mud at Haydock than in a Grand National. GRAND NATIONAL BETTING

Fury Road ⭐⭐

Hasn’t quite delivered on early promise as both a novice hurdler or novice chaser despite some decent efforts in open company. Looking a little exposed now and stamina for this has to be very much taken on trust. GRAND NATIONAL BETTING

The Big Dog ⭐⭐⭐

Taken his form to a new level this season, winning a couple of big handicap chases and finishing third in the Welsh National. Promises to stay the distance but the handicapper has been far from lenient. Needs a significant PB to win, but should cope well with the demands of this race. GRAND NATIONAL BETTING

Capodanno ⭐⭐⭐

Young horse with a touch of class. Possible that there’s more to come, but yet to race over further than an extended three miles, so we’re in the dark regarding stamina for this. Prone to the occasional jumping error too, but has always been well thought of by his master trainer and could surprise a few. GRAND NATIONAL BETTING

Delta Work ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Last year’s third returns for another go with a similar prep to the one his former stablemate Tiger Roll used to win his last Grand National, mixing hurdles and cross-country chases. Arguably ridden with too much restraint last year, when making up so much ground in the second half of the race looked to cost him in the final stages. Reportedly trained solely for Cheltenham, where victorious, and this race this season, he looks primed to run a big race. GRAND NATIONAL BETTING

Sam Brown ⭐

Targeted at this race since winning on the Mildmay course at this meeting last year. Despite his age, he lacks experience in races of this nature and has looked best when the mud is flying. Looks up against it here. GRAND NATIONAL BETTING

Lifetime Ambition ⭐⭐⭐

Yet to prove his stamina for this, but connections are hopeful that it could bring about the improvement that will be needed from a lofty looking handicap mark. Wouldn’t want the ground to be testing, but this has been this seasonal target. Jumps well and capable of a running well deep into the race at a big price. GRAND NATIONAL BETTING

Carefully Selected ⭐

Winning this year’s Thyestes Chase maintained a good strike rate over fences, but looks up against it here given lingering jumping frailties and stamina doubts. Needs to put a disappointing run last time firmly behind him. GRAND NATIONAL BETTING

Coko Beach ⭐⭐

Weakened tamely in last season’s renewal and races off a 5lbs higher mark now. Won last time out in the 3m 4f Grand National Trial at Punchestown, but that was a slowly run affair so the stamina doubts remain. Connections plan to ride the horse more conservatively this year, but that could negate the advantage of his bold jumping. GRAND NATIONAL BETTING

Longhouse Poet ⭐⭐⭐

Likes to get on with it and make the most of his excellent jumping. Ran well in last year’s renewal before weakening late on. Much like Coko Beach, connections have talked about trying to ride him more conservatively this time, but that could again nullify his greatest asset. The handicapper hasn’t taken any chances. GRAND NATIONAL BETTING

Gaillard Du Mesnil ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

A consistent horse (pictured below) who has never been out of the first three places since racing in the UK. Arguably, his best two performances have come on the only two occasions that he has raced over distances in excess of 3m4f. Unless the hard-fought victory in Cheltenham’s National Hunt Challenge Cup has left a mark, he should be bang there at the business end. GRAND NATIONAL BETTING

Darasso ⭐⭐

Recent form suggests that he now needs three miles to be seen to best effect but the distance of this race is a big step into the unknown, and he would need to improve for the extra distance to be involved at the business end. Much prefers decent going, which would also help with his chances of staying the trip. Classy on his day but this race has never looked an obvious target. GRAND NATIONAL BETTING

Le Milos ⭐⭐⭐

A game winner of this season’s Coral Cup at Newbury, and trained by Dan Skelton who has shown himself more than capable of getting one ready for a big handicap. Not fully wound up at Kelso last time when caught close home, but stamina for this trip has to be taken on trust. GRAND NATIONAL BETTING

The Shunter ⭐

Even the magic of last year’s winning trainer will not be enough to give this one a chance of being in the shake up. Peak performances were two seasons ago over much shorter distances. Still high enough in the weights and easy to put a line through for this race. GRAND NATIONAL BETTING

Escaria Ten ⭐

Quite well fancied for this last year but disappointed and has looked below par since. Races off a similar mark this year and nothing to suggest a better showing is on the cards. Has never been seen to best effect in big fields so even a return to form may not be enough to feature. GRAND NATIONAL BETTING

The Big Breakaway ⭐⭐

Successful on his first step into chasing company but hasn’t got his head in front since. Ran a cracker to finish runner up under a welter burden in the Welsh Grand National in December, but followed that with a poor run when pulling up behind Corach Rambler in the Ultima Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. Unconvinced he has the resolution for this test. GRAND NATIONAL BETTING

Cape Gentleman ⭐

Will need to improve dramatically on recent form for the big step up in distance to figure here. Hints of ability over a range of distances over both hurdles and fences but overall his profile is unconvincing. GRAND NATIONAL BETTING

Roi Mage ⭐⭐

Narrowly missed out on last year’s renewal when a reserve, but gets in this time around as an exposed 11yo.  A Down Royal chase victory last Spring when beating a couple of useful types offers some hope, but hasn’t run to that level since. Used that same Down Royal chase as a prep for this last month and ran well enough in second place but that form is some way below the level required to be competitive in this. GRAND NATIONAL BETTING

Diol Ker ⭐

Stays three miles well but well beaten in two attempts at marathon trips. A single chase win highlights his shortcomings and despite being able to hold his own in the hurly burly of a race of this nature, he will struggle to figure here on all known form. GRAND NATIONAL BETTING

A Wave of the Sea ⭐

Out of form chaser with very little chance of staying the trip based on over twenty chase runs so far. Looks to be making up the numbers here despite his top connections. GRAND NATIONAL BETTING

Minella Trump ⭐

A very impressive strike rate over fences hides the fact that his eight wins have all been achieved in very small fields. Will find this a totally different assignment and expected to struggle. GRAND NATIONAL BETTING

Vanillier ⭐⭐

Looked a potential star in the making when blowing apart Cheltenham’s Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle two years ago, but his chasing career hasn’t quite lived up to that promise. His jumping has never been convincing and he has yet to prove he has the required stamina for this assignment. GRAND NATIONAL BETTING

Ain’t That A Shame ⭐⭐

The successful combination of Rachael Blackmore and Henry De Bromhead that teamed up to win this race in 2019 with Minella Times, try again with this improving chaser who has already shown the ability to be competitive in big staying handicap chases. His profile is very similar to Minella Times, as they both had no form over marathon trips prior to running in this. However, unlike Minella Times this one’s breeding isn’t stamina laden so the judgement call is to assume that the petrol gauge could be flickering in the latter stages. GRAND NATIONAL BETTING

Corach Rambler ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Had the handicapper been able to take account of his repeat win in Cheltenham’s Ultima Chase he would be carrying an extra 10lbs in this so is clearly a well handicapped horse (pictured below) with the proven ability to handle big occasions and this type of race. On the debit side, he has yet to prove he possesses the required stamina, and his hold up running style is likely to require plenty of luck in running. GRAND NATIONAL BETTING

Enjoy D’allen ⭐

Well fancied for this race last year following his pre-race purchase by J P McManus but got no further than the first fence. Badly out of form this season and difficult to have any confidence that he can return the level of form that led his shrewd connections to get the chequebook out last year. GRAND NATIONAL BETTING

Mr Incredible ⭐⭐⭐⭐

A talented staying chaser who has tried the patience of two of Ireland’s top trainers with his quirky nature, refusing to race, being reluctant to race and even jamming on the brakes when at home. His efforts this season suggest a corner has been turned, with excellent placed efforts in two of the season’s biggest handicap chases. As a lightly raced 7yo, his best days could still be ahead and a race of this nature could just be what he needs to put his best foot forward. GRAND NATIONAL BETTING

Gin on Lime ⭐

Useful young mare over much shorter distances but yet to finish a race over further than three so readily passed over for this despite her connections. GRAND NATIONAL BETTING

Master Coffey ⭐⭐

Bids to break Nicky Henderson’s Grand National famine, but it would be a surprise to see that happening after seemingly having his limitations exposed behind Gaillard du Mesnil at Cheltenham last time out when stepping up to a marathon trip for the first time. GRAND NATIONAL BETTING

Cloudy Glen ⭐

Career best when winning the 2021 Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury, but very hit and miss since then and has failed to last home every time stepped up to marathon distances so readily passed over. GRAND NATIONAL BETTING

Hill Sixteen ⭐⭐

Acts well over the Grand National fences as illustrated by two good runs in the Becher Chase, but that race looks a better fit than this one, and has to bounce back from a poor run at Kelso last time out. GRAND NATIONAL BETTING

Gabbys Cross ⭐⭐

Has looked an improved performer since stepping up to three miles, often hinting at being capable of staying further. Has a good record when competing in big field handicap chases so not without hope if the extra distance brings about improvement but his breeding doesn’t scream stamina so very much taken on trust. GRAND NATIONAL BETTING

Recite A Prayer ⭐⭐

Very hot and cold in recent runs so hard to know what to expect, but potentially a lively one at a big price based on a couple of placed efforts at the start of the current season if putting his best foot forward. GRAND NATIONAL BETTING

Eva’s Oskar ⭐⭐

Inexperienced in races of this nature, but capable of putting in decent performances at staying trips. This test poses a new question and there’s plenty with more obvious chances, but not one to rule out completely. GRAND NATIONAL BETTING

Our Power ⭐⭐⭐

Enjoying a fantastic season having won two valuable handicap chases. Still feasibly weighted but his best form has come over distances well short of this race and predominantly on right-handed courses, so plenty to prove, but a realistic chance if up to the challenge. Others are safer options. GRAND NATIONAL BETTING

Dunboyne ⭐⭐

In form staying chaser but has to prove he has the stamina for this test. Latest efforts give some hope on that front, but looks to lack the class required of a modern day Grand National winner. Any rain would be helpful to his cause. GRAND NATIONAL BETTING

Francky Du Berlais ⭐⭐

Disappointing this season and tried his hand at Cross Country races the last twice. He has at least completed the course on all three attempts over the Grand National fences including a staying on fourth in the Sefton Chase at this meeting last year. Like so many, there is a doubt over stamina too, so perhaps more of interest in any markets for completing the course. GRAND NATIONAL BETTING

Fortescue ⭐⭐

Well held when unseating late in this last year when coming into the race in better form than this time around. A decent fourth placed finish in this Becher Chase over these fences offers some hope for a good run. Rain would help his chances. GRAND NATIONAL BETTING

Back on the Lash ⭐⭐

Has been running well in Cross Country Chases suggesting that he could take to the fences here. Needs the rain to stay away to be competitive but could sneak a minor place if things go his way. GRAND NATIONAL BETTING

Defi Bleu ⭐⭐

Has run well both times he’s tackled marathon trips without doing enough to suggest he can be in the shake up of a race as competitive as this. Could outrun his big price but hard to see him laying a glove on the main protagonists. GRAND NATIONAL BETTING

Gevrey ⭐

Been campaigned largely as a two-and-a-half miles horse, so despite a career best effort when placing at the Cheltenham Festival last time out, it’s hard to make a case, especially as he is running from out of the handicap here. GRAND NATIONAL BETTING

Punitive ⭐

Put together some decent performances at the start of the season, including when runner up over 3m 5f at Fairyhouse, but badly out of form in three runs since the turn of the year and very badly in at the weights here. GRAND NATIONAL BETTING

Milan Native ⭐

Tailed off when pulled up in this last year and done nothing before or since then to suggest a different outcome this time. Poorly weighted, out of form and a big stamina doubt. One to put straight in the bin if drawn in the office sweepstake! GRAND NATIONAL BETTING

Born By The Sea ⭐

Fails to tick a single box in what you would like to see from a Grand National entrant. Another with no hope of troubling the judge. GRAND NATIONAL BETTING

Verdict: A classy renewal, which with the exception of Corach Rambler, is dominated by Irish raiders at the head of the betting. The recent success of younger horses highlights the chances of recent Festival winner Gaillard Du Mesnil  and Mr Incredible, who will feel let loose with such a low weight on his back. However, the selection is DELTA WORK who is taken to be ridden closer to the pace this year and give his trainer Gordon Elliott a fourth win in the race.

Those looking for an outsider should consider Capodanno who has a touch of class if staying the trip.






Author: Eugene Morris