4m2½f (Grand National) Randox Grand National Handicap Chase (Premier Handicap) (GBB Race) (Class 1) (7yo+)
It’s as if in the last week the punters have forgotten the credentials of the ante-post favourite in the aftermatch of the Cheltenham festival, Corach Rambler. Corach Rambler is effectively 10lbs well-in and has now drifted to a backable price, he looks tailor-made for this marathon trip, but his running style means he is probably going to need a fair bit of luck in the race.
There are a whole host of classy horse racing towards the top of the handicap, Noble Yeats, Delta Work and Any Second Now should all run blinders. But there is an unexposed runner nearer the top of the handicap that could be the pick of the crop for Willie Mullins who goes in search of an Irish and British Grand National double for the first time in his career. He has five entered in the race, however, the one that sticks out for me is CAPODANNO.
He won a Grade 1 Novice event over 3 miles at Punchestown last year and has won twice on spring ground, he was a horse that Willie Mullins was gearing up to run in the Gold Cup, but it’s no surprise that he was rerouted to this contest with Gallopin Des Champs being the yard’s first choice at Cheltenham. Capodanno, unlike, very many others in this race arrives super fresh and should be spot on for his strong run in a 2m 4f Grade 2 where he had to give 9lbs to the likes of Haut En Couleurs and Janadil back in February getting tired at the end as well as done for speed. That will have blown the cobwebs away.
He does lack a bit of experience chasing, but this 7-year-old has a bit of class and he could be being overlooked at odds of 25/1 having posted a career-best RPR last time out.
I can understand why punters have latched on to Aint That A Shame, and with the rain having arrived he looks to have a formidable chance given his profile. But his price has gone and one other that also has a fascinating staying profile and will love that bit of juice in the ground is LE MILOS for Dan Skelton. Le Milos is having just his fourth start for the Skelton yard. He hosed up over 3 miles in a race at Bangor on heavy ground to start the campaign before staying on gamely to win the Coral Gold Cup at Newbury over 3m 2f in November.
Le Milos had a nice break to freshen him up and then ran about a month ago when looking like the class horse for most of the race before tieing up at the finish in a decent four-runner three-mile race at Kelso. He raced quite exuberantly and Skelton was quick to say that he had left quite a bit of work to do with him. It’s hard to know where his handicap limit might be and with a mark of 152, he could certainly have bags of improvement left in him as he looks sure to relish this stamina test and is a very sound jumper.
1pt each-way Le Milos @16/1, 17:15 Aintree, Saturday (1-7 places, 1/5 odds with Skybet)
1pt each-way Capodanno @25/1, 17:15 Aintree, Saturday (1-7 places, 1/5 odds with Skybet)