Grand National 2016 Tips With Niall Cronin

No horse since Red Rum has won the Aintree Grand National in successive years but that 42-year gap may well be bridged by Many Clouds on Saturday as he looks favourite to do so.

Don’t Push It in 2010 was the last winning favourite but even he wasn’t in single figures and the odds of 25/1 (twice), 66/1 and 33/1 of the last four winners proves that there is still a lottery element to the world’s most famous race.

Aspell Hat-Trick
What a story it would be if Leighton Aspell was to become the first ever jockey to win the race three years in a row. The Kildare native had retired from the weighroom for a year and a half before returning to the saddle and you couldn’t have a better lad on your side.

The jockey cam footage on Aspell from last year’s race is a must see and it showed how cool and calm he was in the middle of it all and just how good Many Clouds was underneath him.

Bookmakers will probably be keen to take on Many Clouds at 7/1 because of the record of previous National winners but he has always looked a horse who could rewrite the history books.

Still only a nine-year-old, he has been rock solid this season and couldn’t be coming into the race off a better prep than he had at the rescheduled Kelso meeting last month.

The handicapper has given him a chance. He will run this year off just a 5lbs higher mark than last year but it must also be remembered that he carried 11st9lbs to win 12-months ago and has just 1lb more on this occasion.

Horses might not generally win the Grand National two years in a row but Leicester and Tottenham don’t generally fight out the Premier League and sometimes sport throws up unique cases like this and Many Clouds might just be one of them.


Long Shots
Gordon Elliott’s Silver Birch was the last Irish-trained winner of the race and while 25/1 shot Ucello Conti doesn’t make my first five, he is a horse that could be unexposed and up to making his presence felt.

At Cheltenham I suggested that Morning Assembly was a good each-way bet for the Grand National at 40/1 and Pat Fahy’s charge was cut for the race after an encouraging effort at Cheltenham. He’s now 25/1 and it wouldn’t surprise me if he turned out to be the best of the Irish.

Few of the 40-runners could rival his form as a novice and it was a cruel blow to a small yard to see him ruled out for the following season but Fahy has guided him back with this race as his main target and if he can see out the trip, he looks a horse that could be very well handicapped on nicer ground.

Green, Gold and Blue
The JP McManus colours are famous around the world but I’ll be keeping an eye on the blue cap because I think Gilgamboa can outrun his odds of 66/1 for Enda Bolger and Robbie Power.

Bolger produced On The Fringe to complete the double-double here on Thursday and he’ll go to Punchestown now for the double treble but Gilgamboa is his National runner and this could be made for him.

Gilgamboa ran respectably at Cheltenham behind Vautour but this trip over these fences may be his calling.

Enda Bolger suggested prior to the Paddy Power that he’d need to win that off top weight if he is going to be a top level winner and while he didn’t win, he didn’t lose an awful lot in defeat when beaten just five lengths. He has only ever had 14 starts and gone no further than three-miles. He’s a player.

Last but not least
I can’t have Silviniaco Conti (10/1) or Holywell (12/1) who are prominent in the betting but I wouldn’t be as surprised to see The Last Samuri run a big race although his price of 10/1 is shorter than I’d be interested in at this stage.

Bryan Cooper changed his mind and switched from Rule The World (33/1) to First Lieutenant (33/1) and I think he’s on the best of Mouse’s pair but I’m hearing good vibes about 20/1 shot Sir Des Champs and as we found out with Briar Hill in the Champion Bumper a few years ago, it can be wrong to let Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh go off at big odds in these big races.

For me it’s Many Clouds to win again but hopefully Morning Assembly and Gilgamboa can make the frame.

*Prices correct at time of publication.