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Grand National 2014 Contenders Guide

- Created: 11:31, 3rd April 2014 | Last updated: 18:00, 4th March 2016

So the Grand National weights have been announced and the bookmakers have made their adjustments on the pricing front following the initial skirmishes. You can read the Aintree National ante-post preview of the 4x Champion Tipster, Paul Jacobs, but on this page he has run through 40 runners with a view on each horse and a rating out of 10 for the 2014 Crabbies Grand National Chase.

Aintree Tips –

Teaforthree – Third in last year’s race and very fairly weighted on that form. This really solid jumper has outstanding claims granted a clear passage and his season has been geared to a crack at this great event backed up by two very solid displays at Ascot and Cheltenham. Rating out of 10 - 9   BETTING ODDS 9/1

Monbeg Dude – Lightly raced stayer, winner of the Welsh National and looks a perfect mount for Paul Carberry in this. Despite the Aintree fences being less daunting he still needs to brush up his jumping and his run in the Grimthorpe Chase was disappointing.  Rating 7 BETTING ODDS 16/1

Tidal Bay – Class act and very well handicapped. Has retained his form well at the age of 13, but his one experience of the race saw him unseat Brian Hughes in 2011, may also be at his best on soft going .  Rating 7  BETTING ODDS 16/1

Long Run – Another well handicapped horse and former Cheltenham Gold Cup winner. I feel he has fallen out of love with the game after numerous hard races and his jumping technique still leaves plenty to be desired and even a recent confidence restorer at Kelso leaves me negative about his chance. Reportedly working well in the past month and connections upbeat about his chance. Rating 6.5 BETTING ODDS 14/1

Triolo D’Alene – One of the most improved chasers in training. Nicky Henderson's charge won the Topham Trophy over these fences last year and then the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury this term. Good ground is a must and although up in the weights there is no knowing how much more improvement there is to come especially on a sound surface. Slightly bothered as to why he curled up so tamely between the final two fences at Cheltenham and wonder if he may have a breathing problem?  Rating 7.5 BETTING ODDS 20/1

Prince de Beauchene – A Grade Two winner in the past, this Willie Mullins charge is well handicapped on his best form, but on his last three outings has made numerous mistakes, maybe quicker ground will help . Rating 7 BETTING ODDS 20/1

Burton Port – Former top class stayer blighted by injuries and not the force of old, but showed more encouragement at Nebwury. There's a big question mark now about him seeing out the distance.  Rating 5  BETTING ODDS 25/1

Colbert Station– Unseated at The Chair last year and showed in the Troytown that he remains a classy chaser with more room to progress. Runs over shorter can be dismissed as trainer has tried to protect his handicap mark and fairly handicapped to hit the frame with a clear run. Rating 7  BETTING ODDS 25/1

Rocky Creek – This young horse is a sound jumper although I am not sure about the four and a half miles. Hasn’t finished off his races well this season, although that could be down to fitness, but he will arrive here fresh after missing Cheltenham and is conceivably still well handicapped with more improvement to come.  Rating 6.5 BETTING ODDS 20/1

Pineau de Re - He may be an 11-year-old but this veteran remains lightly raced and is one of the more solid ones to see out the distance. Eye-catching running on third in Pertemps Final at Cheltenham. Rating 6.5 BETTING ODDS 20/1

Double Seven - Looking likely to be the mount of Tony McCoy and this young horse hasn't finished improving yet. However, the key to his each-way chance is a dry week. On good to soft or quicker he could end up a 14/1 shot, but if we get too much rain he is 50/1 +. Rating 7 BETTING ODDS 25/1

Hawkes Point – The Welsh National runner-up and stays very strongly. Worry he could get outpaced if the ground came up good (best with lots of give) and is hardly thrown in at the weights and his Haydock run last time out was hugely disappointing.  Rating 6  BETTING ODDS 33/1

Balthazar King – Ran way too freely in last year’s race, leading until the 18th, but may have found the ground too soft that day and more conservative tactics could make him an interesting contender on better going. Hugely game in the Cross Country, good ground or faster is needed if he is to be a serious contender,a  fact that can't be seriously understated. Rating 7  BETTING ODDS 25/1

The PackageHas always been thought of as a Grand National horse by his astute trainer, but training problems have surfaced. One run over these fences wasn't very good either. Rating 6  BETTING ODDS 33/1

Lion Na Bearnai – Former top class stayer and winner of the 2012 Irish National. Showed himself in good fettle at Fairyhouse last time out, but still 12lbs higher than for his famous victory 15 months ago.  Rating 5  BETTING ODDS 33/1

The Rainbow Hunter – Bounced back to form with a gutsy win in the Skybet Chase at Doncaster last time out. Unseated in the 2013 renewal and is now four pounds higher.  Rating 6 BETTING ODDS  25/1

Our Father – Promising novice and was gambled on to win Hennessy, but blew out completely, followed by a moody display at Haydock Park when he was on and off the bridle and may not like the hurly burly of such a race to his liking.  Rating 5 BETTING ODDS 40/1

Mr MoonshineA really genuine and likeable handicap chaser always dangerous with an uncontested lead. However, won't get that here and doesn't stay this far. Rating 5BETTING ODDS 33/1

Gooneyella - Arguably the strongest stayer in the line-up and should complete the course. Problem is he may get so far behind he will face an impossible task on the final circuit. Needs a flood to raise his hopes. Rating 6 BETTING ODDS 40/1

Chance du Roy – Runner-up in the 2012 Topham and then landed this season’s Becher Chase in fine style, but is a non-stayer in my book.   Rating 5  BETTING ODDS 33/1

Mountainous – Welsh National winner and best when the mud is flying and that is unlikely to be the case here, harsh mark to contend with as well. Rating 5BETTING ODDS 40/1

Alvarado – Stays really well when he gets his conditions i.e. good ground. Won a good class staying handicap on good ground in November and if he sneaks into the field could be a big player at a nice price.  Rating 8 BETTING ODDS 40/1

Vintage Star – Become a thoroughly professional young staying chaser and his second in the Peter Marsh Chase was commendable. Interesting outsider with his early fall at Cheltenham a possible blessing in disguise as he will come here relatively fresh.  Rating 8  BETTING ODDS 40/1

Battle Group - Won twice at this meeting in the same week, but not over the big fences. He certainly hasthe ability to run well, but is sometimes a law unto himself and just as likely to refuse to start. Rating 6 BETTING ODDS 40/1

Vesper Bell - Now here is an interesting outsider. One visit here and he fell, but was unsighted at the time. He is very rightly raced, should stay well and a clear round of jumping would make him a live outsider. Rating 6.5 BETTING ODDS 50/1

Big Shu – Cross country specialist that stays and jumps well and is reasonably weighted on his best form and had a nice warm up in the Glenfarclas sponsored race again.  Rating 7 BETTING ODDS 40/1

Kruzhlinin - I would much prefer this talented seven-year-old to his stable mate Across the Bay as he seems to have got his act together recently. I think he will be well suited to this test so could it be yet another for the McCain dynasty? Better chance than odds indicate. Rating 7 BETTING ODDS 66/1

Buckers Bridge - Useful second season Irish chaser who will relish the good ground, but I was disappointed by his run at Leopardstown in a trial for this as he didn't seem to stay the three miles strongly enough. Rating 5 BETTING ODDS 50/1

Shakalakaboomboom – Ninth in the 2012 running, giving the impression that he simply didn’t stay the distance.  Rating 5 BETTING ODDS 40/1

Across the Bay – Has a fair racing weight here, but would need to produce a career best to win and folded tamely in the 2013 renewal after racing prominently.  Rating 6 BETTING ODDS 40/1

Wayward Prince - Really useful chaser on his day but ran an apalling race at Doncaster and is far from certain to stay this 4 miles and 3 furlong distance. Rating 5 BETTING ODDS 50/1

Raz de Maree - Winner of both the Cork and Munster Nationals in 2012, but lightly raced since. Showed he retains a modicum of ability last time out when a staying on fifth in the Daily Mirror Chase but needs considerably more here. Rating 5BETTING ODDS 50/1 

Rose of the Moon - Has been kept fresh by the shrewd David O'Meara for this challenge but would need to put up a career best and by some way to be involved here. Rating 5BETTING ODDS 50/1 

Last Time d'Albain - Jumped beautifully when third in last year's Topham when it looked as though the extra yardage would help him here (rather one-paced) and with connections doing a last minute u-turn and running him here instead of that race again he is one of the better outsiders. Rating 6BETTING ODDS 50/1    

Walkon - Ran a cracker when second in last year's Topham and has a big pull in the weights with Trio d'Alene, but hasn't really sparkled since. Maybe a return to Aintree will help rekindle his enthusiasm, but there is also a doubt over the distance. Rating 6.5 BETTING ODDS 50/1

Golan Way - Won nicely last time out, but was rather gifted an uncontested lead that day and I suspect will do well to complete the course. Rating 5BETTING ODDS 66/1

Twirling Magnet - Stays well and represents the in form Jonjo O'Neill yard, but is surely flying too high and his jumping is rather suspect as well. Rating 5BETTING ODDS 66/1

Hunt Ball - Former Cheltenham Festival winner and Grade Two performer but has seemingly lost his way. Sporting American owners, but this trip is too far for him. Rating 5 BETTING ODDS 66/1 

One In A Milan - Stays very strongly and has run two huge races in the Midlands and Welsh Nationals in the last 12 months. Just crept into the weights and if there is some juice in the ground he could surprise a few. Rating 6BETTING ODDS 66/1  

Swing Bill - What a great servant this old horse has been to connections down through the years having completed the course on no less than five occaisons. Sure get around again, but very hard to see a scenario unfolding where he can win. Rating 5BETTING ODDS 66/1