In Depth

2019 Grand National: runners, jockeys, how to pick a winner, betting odds, tips, start time, TV

Can Tiger Roll match the legendary Red Rum by winning for a second successive year at Aintree?

2019 Randox Health Grand National

  • When: Saturday 6 April 
  • Where: Aintree Racecourse, Liverpool 
  • Race start time: 5.15pm (UK time) 
  • Distance: steeplechase over 4 miles 514 yards 
  • Number of fences: 30 
  • Number of horses: 40 maximum (plus four in reserve) 
  • TV channel: live on ITV 
  • Official website and tickets: thejockeyclub.co.uk

And they’re off… the 40-horse entry list for the 2019 Grand National has been confirmed ahead of Saturday’s big race at Aintree.

Competing for a share of the £1m prize pot and a place in racing history, the field for the 172nd Grand National is led by 2018 winner Tiger Roll and also includes 2017 winner One for Arthur.

Starting at 5.15pm on Saturday and raced over a course featuring 30 daunting fences, the National “seeps into the consciousness of Britain and Ireland like no other horse race”, says The Daily Telegraph.

Here we look at the 2019 race guide, the runners and riders, betting odds, the key fences, past controversies and how to pick a winner.

2019 Grand National final field

The Jockey Club has confirmed the 40 horses that will compete in the 2019 Grand National. Last year’s winner Tiger Roll leads the field which also includes previous winner One for Arthur and last year’s runner-up Pleasant Company. Joe Farrell takes the 40th spot.

The London Evening Standard reports that Anibale Fly will carry the top weight and will join Rathvinden and Vintage Clouds as the big challengers to Tiger Roll.

Mall Dini out, Just A Par in

Despite being named in the original 40-horse field 20/1 shot Mall Dini was later ruled out of the National because of a leg injury. First reserve Just A Par takes the place of Mall Dini. 

Owner Philip Reynolds told the Racing Post: “Sadly Mall Dini will not be able to run. Just before the start of the Red Rum Chase we heard that he has got a leg injury. I’ve been waiting for a National runner all my life and I’ve lost him on the eve of the Grand National. I’m really upset, it’s not been a great year.”

Horse, weight, trainer/jockey
  • 1 Anibale Fly, 11-10, Tony Martin/Barry Geraghty 
  • 2 Valtor, 11-06, Nicky Henderson/Daryl Jacob 
  • 3 Tiger Roll, 11-05, Gordon Elliott/Davy Russell 
  • 4 Outlander, 11-04, Richard Spencer/James Bowen 
  • 5 Don Poli, 11-03, Phil Kirby/Patrick Mullins 
  • 6 Go Conquer, 11-03, Nigel Twiston-Davies/Sam Twiston-Davies 
  • 7 Mala Beach, 11-02, Gordon Elliott/Jamie Codd 
  • 8 Minella Rocco, 11-01, Jonjo O’Neill/Richie McLernon 
  • 9 Lake View Lad, 11-01, Nick Alexander/Henry Brooke 
  • 10 Pleasant Company, 11-01, Willie Mullins/Paul Townend 
  • 11 Ballyoptic, 11-01, Nigel Twiston-Davies/Tom Bellamy 
  • 12 Dounikos, 11-00, Gordon Elliott/Jack Kennedy 
  • 13 Rathvinden, 11-00, Willie Mullins/Ruby Walsh 
  • 14 One for Arthur, 11-00, Lucinda Russell/Derek Fox 
  • 15 Rock the Kasbah, 10-13, Philip Hobbs/Richard Johnson 
  • 16 Warriors Tale, 10-13, Paul Nicholls/Harry Cobden 
  • 17 Regal Encore, 10-12, Anthony Honeyball/Mark Walsh 
  • 18 Magic of Light, 10-11, Jessica Harrington/Paddy Kennedy 
  • 19 A Toi Phil, 10-11, Gordon Elliott/Denis O’Regan 
  • 20 Jury Duty, 10-11, Gordon Elliott/Robbie Power 
  • 21 Noble Endeavor, 10-10, Gordon Elliott/Mark Enright 
  • 22 Monbeg Notorious, 10-10, Gordon Elliott/Sean Bowen 
  • 23 Ramses De Teillee, 10-09, David Pipe/David Noonan 
  • 24 Tea for Two, 10-09, Jane Williams/Lizzie Kelly 
  • 26 Step Back, 10-07, Mark Bradstock/Nico de Boinville 
  • 27 Ultragold, 10-07, Colin Tizzard/Tom O’Brien 
  • 28 Blow by Blow, 10-06, Gordon Elliott/Andrew Ring 
  • 29 Up for Review, 10-06, Willie Mullins/Danny Mullins 
  • 30 Singlefarmpayment, 10-06, Tom George/Paddy Brennan 
  • 31 Vieux Lion Rouge, 10-06, David Pipe/Tom Scudamore 
  • 32 Valseur Lido, 10-06, Henry de Bromhead/Rachael Blackmore 
  • 33 Vintage Clouds, 10-04, Sue Smith/Danny Cook 
  • 34 General Principle,10-04, Gordon Elliott/J J Slevin 
  • 35 Livelovelaugh, 10-04, Willie Mullins/David Mullins 
  • 36 Walk in the Mill, 10-04, Robert Walford/James Best 
  • 37 Folsom Blue, 10-04, Gordon Elliott/Luke Dempsey 
  • 38 Captain Redbeard, 10-03, Stuart Coltherd/Sam Coltherd 
  • 39 Bless the Wings, 10-03, Gordon Elliott/Robert Dunne 
  • 40 Joe Farrell, 10-02, Rebecca Curtis/Adam Wedge
  • 25 Just A Par, 10-02, James Moffatt/Aidan Coleman (first reserve taking place of Mall Dini)
A general view of Aintree Racecourse in Liverpool, England

Betting odds

Last year’s winning horse Tiger Roll is the hot pre-race favourite to triumph in the Grade 3 handicap chase at Aintree.

Owned by Gigginstown House Stud and trained by Gordon Elliott, Tiger Roll will again be ridden by jockey Davy Russell and the pair will be looking to match a feat set by a racing icon.

GrandNational.fans reports: “No horse has won back-to-back Nationals since the mighty Red Rum in 1974. However, after a stunning display at the Cheltenham Festival, Tiger Roll could do the almost impossible in 2019 and win it again.”

Grand National betting odds

Prices according to Oddschecker (as of 5 April 2019).

  • Tiger Roll: 9/2 fav 
  • Rathvinden: 10/1 
  • Anibale Fly: 14/1
  • Vintage Clouds: 14/1 
  • Lake View Lad: 16/1
  • Jury Duty: 18/1 
  • Joe Farrell: 20/1 
  • Pleasant Company: 20/1  
  • Rock The Kasbah: 20/1 
  • Step Back: 25/1 
  • Ramses De Teillee: 25/1
  • Walk In The Mill: 28/1
  • One For Arthur: 28/1 
  • Dounikos: 33/1
  • General Principle: 40/1 
  • Ballyoptic: 40/1
  • Minella Rocco: 40/1 
  • Up For Review: 40/1 
  • For a full list of latest prices see Oddschecker

Tips and outside bets from the racing pundits

Andy Holding, Oddschecker: Vintage Clouds

“Tiger Roll is hard to knock, but his current price offers very little in the way of value, so the best policy might be to look elsewhere. Vintage Clouds has been placed in two regional Nationals and at the last two Cheltenham Festivals and that experience points towards him being a major factor. Rathvinden has been kept especially fresh for a tilt at this prize and he has stamina and class in equal measures, while Walk in the Mills looks underestimated in the market considering he’s one of the few in the field with experiences of the fences.”

Golfer Lee Westwood, speaking to The Sun: One For Arthur

“I know One For Arthur has had his problems since he won the National in 2017, but he clearly loves the Aintree fences and I can’t get away from how impressive he was a couple of years ago. He had run well over the National course before that, and I’m not put off by the fact he hasn’t finished in either of his two runs this season. If he is anywhere near his best he will be hard to beat.”

Simon Duke, Chronicle: Anibale Fly

“Finishing fourth in the race last year, the JP McManus-owned gelding is only let down by the fact that he is already 12/1 second favourite in the market and is not 25/1+. The nine-year-old has all the ingredients to win the 2019 Aintree showpiece.”

Tony Kelshaw, Bwin Sports: Vintage Clouds

“Sue Smith’s nine-year-old carries the famous yellow, green and white colours of owner Trevor Hemmings, who has won this race with Hedgehunter, Ballabriggs and Many Clouds. Appears to handle any going conditions, was a good third in last year’s Scottish Grand National and is a past scorer over regulation fences at this course, so ticks plenty of boxes if handling these unique obstacles.”

Chris Wright, Liverpool Echo: General Principle

“Won the Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse 12 months ago and looks to have the right attributes to try and bid for a Grand National double. A good third to stable-mate and fellow National hopeful Dounikos in the Grand National Trial at Punchestown but pulled up at the Cheltenham Festival last time. Has potential to run very well.”

The Daily Telegraph: Vieux Lion Rouge

“The David Pipe 10-year-old is something of an Aintree specialist, running over the Grand National obstacles six times and making it round on every occasion. However, has struggled to stay the trip in previous National attempts so might need the ground to hold up. Tom Scudamore likely to ride, and the pair finished second in the Beecher Chase at Aintree in December.”

2019 Grand National guide

Where and when is the 2019 Grand National?

It’s at Aintree racecourse in Liverpool on Saturday 6 April. The race starts at 5.15pm.

Which TV channel can I watch it on?

ITV will be showing live coverage of the race and festival.

Who won in 2018?

Last year’s winner was Gordon Elliott’s Tiger Roll, ridden by Davy Russell and priced at 10/1. Tiger Roll is the hot favourite to win the 2019 race. 

Why is the Grand National so popular?

It’s the longest race of the year and one of the most daunting. Forty horses will tackle 30 jumps over four miles (two and a half furlongs).

When was the first Grand National?

It’s thought the first Grand National took place at Aintree in 1839, when it was won by a horse named Lottery. Since then, the race has become an institution, with incidents such as the false start in 1993 and the bomb scare of 1997 making national headlines.

The key fences

Becher’s Brook, which is lower on the landing side than the take-off side, is named after jockey Captain Martin Becher, who fell there in 1939 and crawled into the brook to escape injury. The tallest fence is The Chair, which is more than five feet high.

Past controversy at the National

Part of the fascination of the race is the danger, but there have been serious concerns about the safety of runners and riders in recent years. In 2012, the closest-ever finish to the race was overshadowed by the death of two horses, prompting more efforts to make the course safer. Many still protest against the race and the risks it poses to the competitors. Others argue that making the course less challenging encourages jockeys to take more risks.

How many people will bet in the UK?

According to The Daily Telegraph it is estimated that a quarter of the UK adult population will place a bet on the day of the race.

A general view of Aintree Racecourse in Liverpool, England

How to pick the Grand National winner

When the Grand National was first run at Aintree in 1839 it was won by a horse called Lottery, which seems fitting for a race that sees 40 horses tackle a four-mile course featuring 30 obstacles.

Despite or perhaps because of the randomness, the National has become a betting institution. Seasoned punters are joined by the once-a-year brigade at their local betting shop.

A quarter of UK adults have a flutter on the race so what should the intelligent punter consider when looking to pick a winner?

Age of the horse

History tells us that nine is the peak age for a Grand National winner. Although the race has been won by horses aged from five to 15, a quarter of all winners have been nine years old. Choosing a horse between the ages of eight and 11 therefore makes sense. 

“It’s no surprise that horses that aren’t too old or young do better in the race,” says the Daily Telegraph. “Stamina and jumping ability are essential for the Grand National. While younger horses tend to have more speed than stamina, older horses are often past their prime needed to pass the National’s many hurdles.”

Weight of the horse

The Grand National is a handicap steeplechase, with faster horses given extra weight to try and make the race more even. 

“The simple fact is that very few horses have managed to win carrying big weights,” says the Grand National Guide website. History shows that horses carrying more than 11st 6lb rarely prosper. 

But it’s not always the killer consideration, says Sporting Life: “A concerted effort has been made to improve the quality of the runners contesting the Grand National and that has resulted in the weights being compressed. As a result, lightly weighted horses are no longer the dominant force of old and five winners have carried 11-0 or higher.”

Stamina and experience

This ties in with the question of age and weight, as only the toughest horses will make the grade. “The Grand National is a gruelling race, and we’ve always maintained that only horses experienced at running over three miles or more can be expected to be in with a shout,” says Grand National Guide. Sporting Life agrees. “Siding with a runner that has proven form over an extreme trip is key,” it says.

Form and odds

These factors should be key, but only one in six Grand Nationals are won by the favourite (although even the favourite usually starts with longer odds than 6-1). The epic nature of the race also tends to make form less important.

Name

Horses beginning with the letter R have the best record in the race, notes the Telegraph, which goes on to point out that the National has been won five times by horses called ‘Red’. But don’t be lured in by family connections, warns the paper. “Just a quarter of winners have had a human name.”

Colour

If there’s no stand-out name to help you choose, then the jockey’s silks might help. “Pink seems to be a favourite with the ladies, but if you look at the stats, it’s not necessarily the wisest choice,” advises Camilla Swift of The Spectator. “Green, yellow, or a combination of the two are the most successful colours.”

Betfair’s top tips

According to Betfair’s Nic Doggett there are “certain trends to consider” when picking a National winner.

Doggett writes: “Finding the winner of the Grand National provides a sense of satisfaction like no other race, and most people can remember the first time - or maybe even the only time - they solved the 40-runner conundrum that is the Aintree extravaganza.”

Punters should look at the following trends:

  • Age: look to horses between eight and 10 
  • Recent runners tend to fare well 
  • Chasing experience - this is a must 
  • An Aintree outing is a plus 
  • Try to find a winner at 3 miles or more 
  • Big weight is no barrier to success

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