Ed Chamberlin guide: Up the Creek
Ed Chamberlin provides his pinstickers' guide and verdict to Saturday's Crabbie's Grand National and is siding with an improving horse from a leading stable.
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Tidal Bay (Sky Bet Odds: 14/1)
Just like Skybet PR guru Dale Tempest, he's getting a bit long in the tooth, and his mane is greying and thinning a little. Like the great man in his footballing days, Tiday Bay has missed a few penalty kicks in his time, but still has plenty of speed and both retain their good looks. Would be a fantastic story if Tidal Bay wins and he will give the bookies a heart attack if he's still within hailing distance crossing the Melling Road second time round.
Long Run (14/1)
Another potential story. Much will be made of his rating of 160 but I think he's probably at least 20lbs off his peak form these days. Jumping style could be hairy to watch and Sam Waley-Cohen will have to sit tight if he leaves his back legs behind at the Chair.
Hunt Ball (66/1)
Decent run in the Ryanair. Won't want any rain and like me, is carrying too much weight.
Triolo D'Alene (20/1)
Hard to fancy after a moderate run in the Gold Cup and all the talk of a breathing problem.
Rocky Creek (16/1)
Classy. Second to Triolo D'Alene in the Hennessy conceding weight and race fitness. I'm convinced he'd have been in the shake-up in the Gold Cup if he'd got there. Ruby Walsh has always thought he'd be a Grand National horse. Hated the heavy ground in the Argento yet still ran well. Jumps brilliantly and should glide through the race like Lionel Messi. Loves flat tracks and decent ground (handles soft). My idea of the winner.
Quito De La Roque (50/1)
Talented but fragile. Hard to fancy coming here after a fall in the Thyestes.
Colbert Station (25/1)
Well fancied by McCoy last year before getting rid of him at the Chair, and his prep could have gone smoother after a fall over hurdles. Not without ability and a clear round will see him in the shake-up.
Sure to be very popular, especially with Liverpool top of the Premier League table. As tough as Jamie Carragher but they both lack a yard of pace.
Balthazar King (16/1)
My tip last year who could only finish 15th. What a great servant he has been and was brilliant again at the Festival this year. However, he's best fresh and any rain would be against him.
Wayward Prince (50/1)
Also best fresh and loves this track but I'm not sure he'll love these fences.
Mr Moonshine (33/1)
Connections and colours bound to trigger support but pulled up last year and higher in the weights.
Set to go off a well backed favourite and sure to gives punters a run for their money with his brilliant jumping. However, he looked knackered on the run-in last year and stamina looks a major issue. This year's renewal has more depth and class than last year's race, too. No value.
Across The Bay (50/1)
Likely to be across the course when the others are finishing. Doesn't jump or travel well enough to win a Grand National.
Double Seven (20/1)
Trainer knows how to win the race and stamina looks his forte. Comes here off a disappointing effort and forecast rain is not going to help his cause.
Battle Group (40/1)
Like Manchester United, was on fire this time last year and the wheels have come off since.
Buckers Bridge (66/1)
Just like Jamie Redknapp on a Super Sunday, Buckers Bridge is always likely to win 'best turned out'. Henry de Bromhead's horses always look the part and he is a top 'target' trainer. Don't read too much into the last two runs that got Buckers Bridge qualified for the National. Most interesting is his performance at Gowran Park in November when, on decent ground that he seemed to relish, he beat Oscars Well and Cheltenham Festival winner Savello in impressive fashion. Buckers Bridge is a really good jumper, but stamina is the worry.
Lion Na Bearnai (33/1)
Interesting that Davy Russell takes the ride. Age against him but has a good record in marathon chases, including an Irish National success in 2012.
Prince De Beauchene (20/1)
Dark horse in the race. Has class and looks every inch a National horse, having been well fancied for the race before but failing to make the line-up after minor setbacks in his prep. Willie Mullins seems bullish and he's clearly had a smoother run with him this time around. Likely market mover, so get on him early if you like his chances.
Monbeg Dude (12/1)
Paul Carberry is a genius round these fences, but even he will have his work cut out if Monbeg Dude jumps as stickily as he did early on at Doncaster last time. He will also need a lot of luck in running out the back avoiding fallers and loose horses. Don't want to put owner Mike Tindall's nose out of joint (it's already been done on numerous occasions looking at it!), but I'd be surprised to see him in the winners' enclosure come Saturday afternoon.
Big Shu (25/1)
I'm far too young to remember Red Rum so Party Politics is my all-time favourite Grand National winner (it's not Aldaniti as I'd backed Spartan Missile!). Big Shu isn't quite as big as Party Politics but he's still a monster who could eat these fences. Looks sure to run a big race and any rain will help slow the speedier horses right down.
Burton Port (20/1)
My fancy for the race in this column when the weights were announced. For me, he's best handicapped horse in the race. Trained by Jonjo O'Neill, who is the master at preparing a horse for a staying handicap chase. Burton Port showed much more zest at Newbury last time and has been laid out for the National. A big danger.
Our Father (50/1)
Profile suggests it's all duck or no dinner when you back David Pipe's grey. The latter far more likely on this occasion.
Won the Welsh National in the mud. A totally different test on Sunday but he looks a big price considering he's proven over a trip and in soft ground.
The Rainbow Hunter (28/1)
I'd love to see him win for Racing UK's Oli Bell, who is brave enough to support Yeovil. Won't tail off like his football team but almost certain to find a few too good.
Vintage Star (40/1)
Has the perfect Grand National connections. Fell at the Festival and rain would be against him.
Chance Du Roy (33/1)
Ticks a lot of boxes and proven round here, too, but I'm just not sure he's equipped to stay the trip or good enough to win a National.
Hawkes Point (33/1)
Touched off in the Welsh National and while you would worry about his one-paced style of running, he is going to stay and jump - two qualities that can cancel out a turn of foot over a staying trip such as this.
Another with the ideal Grand National trainer but like Sunderland has lost his form at just the wrong time.
Pineau De Re (20/1)
Fancied by the top judge that is Michael 'winners' Shinners. Well handicapped over fences and ran a screamer in the Pertemps at Cheltenham. Was interesting at 33/1 a week ago but not at 20s.
Golan Way (66/1)
Effective dominating small fields from the front. As tough as Graeme Souness without the class.
Twirling Magnet (66/1)
A novice hasn't won the Grand National since before England won the World Cup.
Vesper Bell (50/1)
The Package (28/1)
Seemed to be primed for Cheltenham and ran a blinder. The dreaded 'bounce' factor is a massive consideration with him.
Raz De Maree (50/1)
Dessie Hughes is a master trainer and has a great record over these fences but on recent form, there's more chance that Kate Moss would Maree me.
Rose Of The Moon (50/1)
A lively outsider and a bit of rogue but if he fancies the job, he has a bit of a chance.
Joint favourite two years ago, lower mark now, but older less talented and ground is going to stretch his stamina to the hilt.
If last run on heavy ground can be ignored, he's a live outsider. Won the handicap chase at Cheltenham in November that two of the last six Grand National winners have triumphed in.
Last Time D'Albain (50/1)
Third behind Triolo D'alene in last season's Topham. Stamina to prove.
One In A Milan (66/1)
More chance of Carragher or Neville scoring a hat-trick in Milan than One In A Milan winning the National.
Was well beaten in the Welsh National but put a line thought that as he had a nightmare journey over from Ireland. He didn't eat up, which is something I'm told the Sporting Life editor has never failed to do. Goonyella was back to form last time when attempting to concede 3lbs to subsequent Cheltenham Festival winner, Don Poli, in a Grade 3 novice hurdle at Clonmel, showing his impressive engine was back in full working order. If the rain arrives, Goonyella is a massive player.
Swing Bill (66/1)
More chance of Gary Neville going on Liverpool FC's victory parade than Swing Bill winning round Liverpool - and the sponsors winning their own money.
My Grand National Verdict:
1. Rocky Creek
3. Big Shu
4. Burton Port
5. Buckers Bridge