Top commentator Simon Holt fancies Tiger Roll to become the first back-to-back winner of the Grand National while he also has an each-way fancy and one in the opener.
Recommended Bets: Grand National Day
For details of advised bookmakers and each-way terms, visit our transparent tipping record
Value hunters and once-a-year punters might not be attracted to the short odds on offer about TIGER ROLL winning a second Randox Health Grand National at Aintree on Saturday but the nine-year-old's recent form strongly supports his chances of being the first to win twice since Red Rum.
Gordon Elliott's diminutive and hugely versatile stable-star, who won his fourth race at the Cheltenham Festival when cantering to victory in last month's Cross-Country Chase, seems better than ever this season having previously surprised many when running out an easy winner of a Grade Two Hurdle at Navan.
So a rise of 9lb compared to last year, and meeting the head runner-up Pleasant Company on 2lb worse terms, does not look insurmountable task. Moreover, with a rating of 159, he has become a very classy horse and gets just 5lb here from last year's fourth Anibale Fly (held) who, for the second year running, ran well in last month's Gold Cup when a fast-finishing second behind Al Boum Photo.
Yes, Tiger Roll is a very short price for any horse in the Grand National, a race in which much can go wrong, but if you were to ask me who is the most likely winner....it's him.
However, the race always offers great each-way possibilities, with most bookmakers paying out on the first five home, and RAMSES DE TEILLEE makes plenty of appeal.
Progressive all season, David Pipe's grey ran a fine second to Elegant Escape in the Welsh Grand National and filled the same position behind Robinsfirth in the William Hill Grand National Trial at Haydock a few days after the weights for this race were published. As such, David Noonan's mount is 5lb well in at the weights.
Recent runnings of the National suggest it has become more of a stayers race than ever before and those with proven stamina include Rathvinden, winner of last year's National Hunt Chase at Cheltenham (4m), 2017 winner One For Arthur (reported to be working well) and last season's Scottish Grand National hero Joe Farrell, who ran well under a big weight at Newbury recently and was the last horse to beat the ballot.
The genuine Vintage Clouds, third to Joe Farrell at Ayr, is yet one more to consider following his battling second to Beware The Bear at Cheltenham last month.
In the opening Gaskells Handicap Hurdle, the Pipe-trained POKER PLAY is fancied to defy an 11lb rise in the weights after his impressive all-the-way win at Uttoxeter last time when beating three previous winners in a canter despite knocking the final flight flat to the ground.
This lightly-raced six-year-old appears to have benefitted a good deal from a mid-season break and appeared to take a big step forward from his second to Flemcara previously at Exeter. The latter, well beaten subsequently at Cheltenham, is better off at the weights now but the momentum seems to be with the selection.
Top weighted Sire Du Berlais is much respected following his Pertemps Final win at Cheltenham though a rise of 8lb for winning by a neck may prove just enough to prevent a follow up.
Preview posted at 1725BST on 05/04/2019
GET THE FULL PICTURE: Don't miss out on FREE video replays and our fantastic My Stable tracker. Log in now and become a Sporting Life Insider.