Long Shots For The Grand National 2016

This week you will be inundated in the newspapers and on betting related websites who are all focusing on the principle runners in this year’s Grand National.

Very little attention will be paid to those horses that are priced up at much larger odds but plenty of them are what you could deem “sleepers”, or long shots, in the handicap.

It always pays to think outside the box when punting on the Grand National 2016, so here are a few of those long shots that may just wake up on Saturday 9th April at 5.15pm.

Shutthefrontdoor (20/1)

The Jonjo O’Neill trained Shutthefrontdoor is a horse that has been trained entirely with the Grand National in mind this season.

Owned by JP McManus, Shutthefrontdoor was the ante-post favourite in the lead-up to the race twelve months ago, and finished in a creditable fifth place last season under A.P McCoy.

After two modest outings at Aintree and Newbury in this year’s campaign, it wouldn’t be the biggest surprise if Shutthefrontdoor showed his true potential over the National fences, and looks to be solid each-way value at 20/1.

Former Irish Grand National winners like Shutthefrontdoor (2014 winner) have gone on to win the English equivalent regularly over the last twenty years so that is another positive you can give to the nine-year-old.

 

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Kruzhlinin (20/1)

Kruzhlinin won at Kempton on his first start for Philip Hobbs in January and ran a solid enough race when fifth to Un Temps Pour Tout in the Ultima Handicap at the Cheltenham Festival last month despite hitting every other fence. He is much better suited to flat tracks like Aintree where he can get into a better jumping rhythm.

With 10st 7lb to shoulder, he may very well cap the finest season in the career of Richard Johnson, the champion jockey elect, and would give Johnson his very first Grand National victory in nineteen previous attempts. It would be quite some story, one totally made for Aintree.

Two years ago, at the age of seven and then trained by Donald McCain, Kruzhlinin had a go at the National and got round to be a distant tenth. He then came back that December to put in a decent round in the Becher Chase.

Now trained by Hobbs it is his belief he will be a much stronger spring horse.

Triolo D'Alene (20/1)

Britain’s most famous race is one of the few to have eluded Nicky Henderson and he has given Jerry McGrath his first ride in the National aboard Triolo D’Alene.

McGrath has some rapport with 20-1 chance Triolo D’Alene as they coasted clear in a Listed chase at Kempton in early January.

Henderson will be hoping the former Hennessy winner, who took the 2013 Topham Chase over the National fences, fares better than in his attempt two years ago, when he was pulled up before Becher’s Brook second time around after making a mistake.

Now at the peak Grand National age of nine, he may be better suited to the race this year after all his previous knee and breathing problems.

 

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Gallant Oscar (20/1)

Gallant Oscar has some top handicap form to his name, notably at both the Cheltenham and Punchestown Festivals last season. He's been bought along very quietly this term by the shrewd Tony Martin stable with this race in mind and he really caught the eye at Naas earlier this month.

Morning Assembly (25/1)

Morning Assembly showed what a useful chaser he is on his day when fourth in the Ultima Chase, having cruised into the race before becoming outpaced towards the end.

Pat Fahy's stable star claimed the scalp of this year’s Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Don Cossack as a novice a couple of seasons ago, but has since spent the best part of two years on the sidelines.

A reproduction of form anything like the Don Cossack result and nine-year-old gelding enters calculations here at a handsome price.

O’Faolains Boy (25/1)

After a quite spell in the doldrums the Rebecca Curtis stable has suddenly sprung back into action with a few winners this week and more importantly, just in time for Aintree.

O’Faolains Boy ran a fine race for a long way before fading in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, and the nine year-old is another one worthy of consideration for the Aintree marathon.

Effective on all types of going, O’Faolains Boy is a former RSA Chase winner and has never fallen throughout his career.

Provided that his Cheltenham exertions haven’t had taken too much of an effect, O’Faolains Boy could give the popular Welsh trainer, and birthday girl this week, her finest day as a trainer yet.

Onenightinvienna (33/1)

The Philip Hobbs-trained seven-year-old runs in the colours of Judith Luff, whose late husband Peter owned the 1986 Aintree hero West Tip. What a story it would be if the same colours were ridden to victory again, thirty years later.

Since an early season Exeter triumph, Onenightinvienna has kept good company. He disappointed on his latest appearance in the Reynoldstown Novices' Chase at Ascot but that probably came too soon after his Kempton run.

If you go back to his run at Cheltenham earlier in the season, he was only two and a half lengths behind Blaklion, who of course went on to win the RSA Chase.

Ucello Conti (33/1)

Gordon Elliot is no stranger to winning the Grand National having won it as a relatively unknown trainer with Silver Birch in 2007.

Elliot is banging in the winners left, right and centre at the moment and his Ucello Conti has all the right credentials to run a big race at a juicy price.

Two fine efforts in the top Irish handicap chases, most recently in the Thyestes where Jacques Ricou took a rather unconventional route around the course, give massive grounds for optimism for the National itself.

Owners Mr Simon Munir and Mr Isaac Souede are very clever at placing their horses with trainers who can land the big race winners and this appears to have been their Grand National plot horse for some time.

 

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