Grand National News
Three Grand National Ante Post Market Movers
As the 2018 Grand National at Aintree approaches, certain horses have attracted support in the ante-post betting as punters try to get a price.
It’s the same every year but the question is, who are the major gambles this time? Here are three Grand National ante-post market movers you need to know if you’re thinking of betting on the world’s most famous steeplechase.
Cheltenham Gold Cup third Anibale Fly is owned by JP McManus and trained in Ireland by Tony Martin. Punters in the know will tell you there’s nothing this pair like more than making off with a big handicap prize.
Powerful Irish owner McManus landed the Grand National in 2010 with Don’t Push It. Some eight years later, he’s set to have four runners in the Aintree showpiece and Anibale Fly is the shortest price of those after being backed into 12/1.
What’s behind the gamble? Well, the eight-year-old has reportedly come out of Cheltenham well, where he was ridden by McManus’ retained jockey Barry Geraghty, who’ll likely have his pick of the owner’s Grand National runners.
Despite winning a stayers’ handicap at Leopardstown over Christmas, the one thing that counts against Anibale Fly is his weight. He may be 9lb well-in on official ratings at Aintree after the assessor raised him for his Gold Cup exploits but only one horse has carried 11st 7lb or more and won the Grand National since the legendary Red Rum’s third victory in 1977.
Gordon Elliott is the trainer of the moment after saddling eight horses to victory at the Cheltenham Festival in March and landing the Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse over Easter. He also takes aim at Aintree having won the 2007 renewal with Silver Birch and the most-fancied of his runners-up this year is Tiger Roll.
A Cheltenham specialist because the Prestbury Park racecourse is the scene of four of his eight career wins to date, the eight-year-old made it a third consecutive Festival victory in the 3m 6f Cross Country contest last month. Tiger Roll also landed the 4m National Hunt Chase while still a novice over fences in 2017, so he has the stamina to succeed in the Grand National.
Savvy punters spotted both the horse’s great record over extreme distances and his trainer’s terrific form, so piled in. That’s sufficient to put Tiger Roll among many Betfair pundits’ Grand National betting tips, with a poor previous performance at Aintree two years ago the only negative.
As 14th of 16 finishers in an extended 3m handicap over hurdles, that was on the Mildmay course rather than over the unique spruce covered Grand National fences. That notwithstanding, the punt on Tiger Roll leaving him a top-price 14/1 cannot be ignored.
Another Elliott inmate, only this one has experience of the Grand National course. Ucello Conti was perhaps unfortunate to unseat his rider when tackling Becher’s Brook for the second time in the race 12 months ago.
This year will be the Simon Munir and Isaac Souede owned 10-year-old’s third attempt at winning the big one – having finished sixth in 2016 – and fourth run at Aintree overall. What’s attracted punters to snap all of the 33/1 previously available about Ucello Conti in the Grand National is his record over fences, but also the change in terms he now receives compared to fellow gamble Anibale Fly.
When the aforementioned Martin and McManus entrant won at Leopardstown, Ucello Conti was a seven-length runner-up – rated 1lb inferior and carrying 10lb less. They will now meet in the Grand National on 2lb better terms for Elliott’s runner.
That has to give Ucello Conti, who was also fourth in the 3m 2f Becher Chase over the Grand National fences in December 2016, some sort of chance. Punters certainly think so as he is now as short as 20/1 to make it third time lucky at Aintree.