Who’s hot (and who’s not) in the big race



Red Hot Tips



Character Building


Has his quirks but the type to come alive for Nina Carberry over these fences. Stays well, too, and has shown glimpses of class in his time, albeit not since returning from an injury.
Odds: 16-1

Niche Market

Won the Irish National and boldness and pluck make him highly eligible. Having gone looking for trouble in recent starts, should find things more manageable today. Odds: 18-1

Arbor Supreme

Has had to tidy up his jumping, but otherwise ticks every box. Has a high cruising speed on spring ground, but stays well, and approaching his prime. Well backed, too, for a top yard. Odds: 16-1

Black Apalachi

Yet to complete a National – managed only one fence in 2008 – but in front when unseating last year and has won round here. Softer ground to make it third time lucky. Odds: 14-1

Backstage

Won as rookie in 2007, and trainer again doing it like he means it. Hidden away after last summer, since confined to a hurdle race and a spin in unsuitably testing ground. Odds: 25-1

*****

Warm Hopes

Tricky Trickster

Long been his target, and he was favourite before running awfully in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Always forgive a horse one lapse, especially if he previously looked made to measure. Odds: 16-1

Mon Mome

A no-hoper when he won last year, now among the favourites after an amazing warm-up at Cheltenham. Even more typical if he runs like a 100-1 shot, but that seems unlikely. Odds: 10-1

Comply Or Die

Won in 2008, second in 2009 and shaped well in midfield at Cheltenham last month. Timmy Murphy rejects The Package, second in the same race, for this Aintree stalwart Odds: 18-1

The Package

Timmy Murphy agonised before staying loyal to Comply Or Die, tormented by The Package's recent coming of age. Just about the pick of the weights if taking to the fences. Odds: 12-1

King Johns Castle

Second in 2008, nicely weighted, and ridden by one of the Aintree artists in Paul Carberry, but recent spins over hurdles make it hard to know how good he remains since an injury. Odds: 33-1

*****

Lukewarm Prospects

Vic Venturi

Has won round here, but had only four other finishers to beat and jumped pretty diffidently. Has since confirmed a touch of class, but may need other assets for this slog. Odds: 20-1

My Will

Third as one of the favourites last year, despite making mistakes, but his warm-up run in the Cheltenham Gold Cup was nothing like as auspicious this time round as in 2009. Odds: 40-1

Ballyholland

Interesting Ulster raider, much improved and a sound jumper comfortable on spring ground. The obvious reservation is his stamina, unproven even at three miles. Odds: 33-1

Priests Leap

Long shot, having cruised into contention two out before fading last year. Would have preferred softer ground, and his form since then does require a leap of faith. Odds: 100-1

Snowy Morning

Not always a fluent jumper, but embraced the challenge when third in 2008 – 12lb better off with the winner, Comply Or Die – and looked right back to his best in his warm-up. Odds: 16-1

Big Fella Thanks

Favourite to give champion trainer a first National – and Ruby Walsh a third – after finishing sixth last year, but generous assumptions are being made about his improvement since. Odds: 8-1

State Of Play

Goes best fresh and kept off track since November to capitalise on a weight down 5lb from last year, when he rallied energetically from a mid-race blunder before tiring into fourth. Odds: 16-1

Eric's Charm

Soon eligible for his driving test, but enjoying an Indian summer and bold jumping in the van could keep backers interested a good way, albeit seen off by younger legs late on. Odds: 40-1

Maljimar

Has promised more than delivered, but the type to respond to Aintree. Can see him coasting a long way, but will he have the guts and stamina for the long run home? Odds: 33-1

Madison Du Berlais

Heavier than all his rivals, thanks to some top performances last season, but has gone into reverse since. Hauling coal over these fences not the most obvious cue for a revival. Odds: 50-1

*****

Out In The Cold

Don't Push It

The marathon pace might conceivably help him jump better, as well as bring his stamina into play, but Tony McCoy surely pushing his luck in quest for first National. Odds: 20-1

Joe Lively

Jumps well, stays well, and there have been occasions when he looked as though he had the quality for a National, too. Sadly, none of them are terribly recent. Odds: 80-1

Dream Alliance

The romance of the race, and that will do for many. Has credentials, on his Welsh National win – but less sentimental punters prefer heavy ground, and all the fences removed. Odds: 33-1

Cloudy Lane

Represents the people who brought you Red Rum – and Donald McCain is proving far more prolific than dad – but only sixth when favourite in his pomp. Why should he do better now? Odds: 40-1

Can't Buy Time

Tony McCoy rejects this one, whose stamina remains uncertain and showed little in his warm-up. Overall profile is progressive, and the champ may not have slept well last night. Odds: 25-1

Ballyfitz

Should enjoy the test of stamina, and feasibly weighted, but his jumping promises a white-knuckle ride for his jockey, and a view from behind the sofa for his backers. Odds: 50-1

Irish Raptor

Has a good record over these fences, though a modest jumper of easier ones and fell early on his last visit; even if he gets in the groove today, must still prove his stamina. Odds: 28-1

Cerium

Connections notorious for running outsiders in big races but vindicated with this one, fifth last year. Outclassed in Gold Cup and hard to see where improvement will come from. Odds: 66-1

Palypso de Creek

Still early days here for this French import, and has already hinted at better times ahead. A bit more evidence required, however – and probably a bit more experience, too. Odds: 66-1

Hello Bud

Only five years younger than jockey and little gusto at Cheltenham last time. Already a Scottish National winner and seemed to enjoy the fences here in November. Odds: 33-1

*****

Snowball's Chance

Made in Taipan

Has generally operated, with only a modest degree of distinction, over two miles. Petrol gauge will surely plunge into the red during this hectic journey over four and a half. Odds: 150-1

Nozic

Jumped ineptly when first tried over these fences, stamina ran dry in the Welsh National, and needs softer ground. Otherwise all good news. Reasonably weighted. Odds: 66-1

Pablo du Charmil

Crashing fall on reappearance was an alarming preparation for a test like this, never mind the fact that he has done most of his racing at much shorter distances. Odds: 150-1

Beat The Boys

An unreliable beast, failing to complete in six of his last eight outings. He did win the other two, in fairness, but too many doubts about his aptitude and attitude for these fences. Odds: 100-1

Conna Castle

Prone to errors, last won a race shortly before women got the vote, and offers no evidence that he stays three miles, never mind four and a half. Odds: 100-1

Ollie Magern

Seems to have been around for centuries, and not won for decades. Signs of renewed interest at Cheltenham last time, but lacks size and no further than the second last year. Odds: 150-1

Flintoff

Not always as wholehearted as his namesake but can produce fair form over marathon distances. Whether these fences will get him in the mood is another matter. Odds: 66-1

Piraya

Only sporadic evidence of ability since his arrival from France, and it requires not just optimism but a vivid imagination to see him suddenly clicking in this environment. Odds: 100-1

Ellerslie George

Type to go well for a circuit. Unfortunately they go round twice. Flourished for his new stable last autumn, but went up the weights and ran out of steam last time. Odds: 100-1

Royal Rosa

Once highly regarded, but losing run stretches back to Prohibition. Keeps plodding over long distances, but third only in a weak race over these fences in November. Odds: 100-1

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