Grand National: Who's hot and who's not in today's big race

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Hot Tips

Idle Talk Why he can win: Very unlucky to have unseated his rider on last two starts. Has proven stamina and could be a perfect first Grand National runner for Donald McCain, son of Red Rum's trainer. Odds: 16-1

Slim Pickings Why he can win: Like Idle Talk has improved for having changed trainers. A first National runner for Tom Taaffe and ridden by Aintree expert Barry Geraghty, he looked in fine shape at Cheltenham. Odds: 33-1

Billyvoddan Why he can win: Blinkers have helped him hit form at just the right time with an excellent performance at Cheltenham after a light campaign. Lasting the distance is a concern though. Odds: 20-1

Joes Edge Why he can win: The 2005 winner of the Scottish National looked miserable over these fences when seventh last year but prefers this faster ground and came back to form at Cheltenham. Odds: 9-1

Point Barrow Why he can win: Has the right profile for recent National winners, having won the Irish version and then followed a campaign geared to today. Gives Philip Carberry a first National ride. Odds: 9-1

Warm hopes

Numbersixvalverde Why he might win: Last year's winner of this race and a previous Irish National winner has more weight this time and the ground is firmer than ideal. Still not to be ignored though. Odds: 12-1

Kelami Why he might win: Was hampered when unseating at the first fence in 2004 National and has posted plenty of solid performances since for his outstanding French trainer. Odds: 25-1

McKelvey Why he might win: A fresh horse after having had the winter off and looked in fine fettle when winning over hurdles on his return. Has the excellent Tom O'Brien in the saddle. Odds: 20-1

Simon Why he might win: A really reliable performer who has shown his best form to win last two races. May have peaked a little soon, though, and handicapper may have his measure now. Odds: 16-1

L'Ami Why he might win: A year younger than full-brother Kelami, he gave the mighty Kauto Star a fright at Newbury this season and has incomparable Tony McCoy to help persuade him home first. Odds: 14-1

Lukewarm prospects

Hedgehunter Why he shouldn't win: The winner in 2005 and the runner-up last year is clearly at home at Aintree but he has been on the sick list, has plenty of weight and is hardly improving at the age of 11. Odds: 14-1

Bewley's Berry Why he shouldn't win: Ran well behind Eurotrek over these fences in the autumn and clearly has had his preparation geared to this race. Will need to step up a gear to win today, though. Odds: 20-1

Philson Run Why he shouldn't win: Has stamina in abundance and would be a certainty if the race was over three laps instead of two. His excellent trainer is on the rise and will have his charge spot on for today. Odds: 80-1

Dun Doire Why he shouldn't win: The warm weather has dried out the ground a little too much for this youngster. Stable confidence has also evaporated if a recent drift in the betting is a true guide. Odds: 12-1

Eurotrek Why he shouldn't win: Although a winner over these fences in the autumn and prepared for this race since, the handicapper has had plenty of time to burden him accordingly. Odds: 16-1

Monkerhostin Why he shouldn't win: Remarkably versatile character who has been taking on the best for a very long time with mixed success. Fully exposed to the handicapper's scrutiny. Odds: 25-1

Gallant Approach Why he shouldn't win: Although not disgraced behind Joes Edge at Cheltenham, is yet to fulfil his undoubted promise. Not to be confused with Graphic Approach from same stable. Odds: 66-1

Bothar Na Why he shouldn't win: Although he has pedigree for the race, having won Kerry National at Listowel and performed well over these fences, lacks recent evidence that he is on song. Odds: 20-1

Longshanks Why he shouldn't win: Has been placed on both starts over National fences and appears here as culmination of an extremely long-term scheme by connections. Let's hope he has been let in on the plan. Odds: 25-1

Zabenz Why he shouldn't win: Front-runner who folded rather tamely when trying marathon trip in Scottish National, but has performed solidly against Billyvoddan this season and is from fine stable. Odds: 50-1

Out in the cold

Jack High Why he won't win: Despite his name this 12-year-old is a bit on the small side for these fences and got no further than The Chair last year. Will relish the ground, though. Odds: 33-1

Kandjar D'Allier Why he won't win: Trainer and jockey are enjoying an excellent season but this grey was very disappointing when tried over a marathon trip on much softer ground last time and has lots to prove. Odds: 40-1

Silver Birch Why he won't win: Has won Welsh National and over these fences but had been suffering from breathing problems prior to falling at The Chair here last year. Sold since for just 20,000 guineas. Odds: 25-1

Graphic Approach Why he won't win: Not to be confused with stable's Gallant Approach and is a less reliable jumper and less likely stayer than his team-mate. Has posted some decent efforts, so not ruled out easily. Odds: 50-1

Thisthatandtother Why he won't win: Has been a top-notch performer at two and a half miles but will be galloping into unknown territory here. History of leg problems does not bode well either. Odds: 50-1

Livingstonebramble Why he won't win: One of four runners dispatched from Co Carlow for the race by the excellent Willie Mullins but hard to make a case for him after finishing well down the field at Cheltenham. Odds: 100-1

Homer Wells Why he won't win: Another from the Willie Mullins yard and has beaten Livingstonebramble and Jack High on last two starts. That was on heavy ground, though, and today's surface will be very different. Odds: 33-1

Liberthine Why she won't win: Mare has won over these fences but not shone since returning after failing to get in foal. Rider should not be scorned because of amateur status and double-barrelled name. Odds: 33-1

Cloudy Bays Why he won't win: Falling in a hurdle race as a final prep for a race such as this does not inspire confidence, but punters should at least get an early thrill from this prominent front-runner. Odds: 100-1

Knowhere Why he won't win: Reported to have schooled smartly over fences this week, which is just as well as his jumping went to pieces last time. Still a novice at steeplechasing, and it shows. Odds: 66-1

Snowball's chance

Royal Auclair Why he should be put out to grass: Giving weight to Hedgehunter when finishing second in 2005 but fell at the first last year. Ran well behind Kauto Star at Newbury but may be in decline. Odds: 40-1

Clan Royal Why he should be put out to grass: Unlucky not to have won a National having been placed in two and knocked out of the race by a loose horse. Not sparkling this season, though. Odds: 25-1

Le Duc Why he should be put out to grass: Got only as far as the Canal Turn before unseating last year but has run well over these fences. Unreliable and not progressing, despite his relative youth. Odds: 66-1

Puntal Why he should be put out to grass: Has raced prominently in two ventures in this race and was sixth home last year. Has had plenty of physical problems and seems in decline. Odds: 100-1

Ballycassidy Why he should be put out to grass: Took an almighty tumble when out in front at Valentine's last year and unseated at the second fence the year before. Nothing to suggest he will fare any better now. Odds: 40-1

Sonevafushi Why he should be put out to grass: If he was as reliable as his excellent trainer, Venetia Williams, all would be well. May have been sharpened by hunter-chasing but still not good enough. Odds: 200-1

Tikram Why he should be put out to grass: All his best form, when he was still showing it, was at around two and a half miles, so little hope of spark being rekindled by extreme exertions. Odds: 150-1

The Outlier Why he should be put out to grass: Pulled up on his last two starts after making plenty of jumping errors but had previously been in good form. Would do better on heavy ground. Odds: 125-1

Celtic Son Why he should be put out to grass: Still burdened with plenty of weight after suggesting he could be top class early in his chasing career. Lightly raced since and clearly has problems. Odds: 100-1

Naunton Brook Why he should be put out to grass: Front-runner who has very little prospect of adding to National successes of his trainer, Nigel Twiston-Davies, who saddled Earth Summit and Bindaree. Odds: 100-1

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