We might not always sure when we are seeing history unfolding before our very eyes. Consider this: When the legendary Red Rum set off in 1974 to claim his second Grand National crown, he didn’t even start the race as favourite or second favourite. Obviously now, we look back and think of the three-time winner as a once-in-a-lifetime horse, but back then the money was going on the SP favourite Scout and the brilliant L’Escargot.
That day in 1974, Red Rum had a starting price of 11/1, which is around three times the current price for the horse aiming to emulate him at the 2019 Grand National – Tiger Roll. The 2018 winner has been in blistering form over the last few months, taking both the Boyne Hurdle (a surprise to many) and the Glenfarclas Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. His current best odds are 4/1 with Ladbrokes and Betfair, but some bookies are as low as 7/2. A price so short is practically unheard of in the lead up to a Grand National.
Four-time Cheltenham winner exudes class
However, Tiger Roll is a special horse. He has won four times now at the Cheltenham Festival, putting him up there with great names like Arkle, Istabraq and the modern colossus Altior. Like Red Rum, Tiger Roll might just be a once in a generation horse, something trainer Gordon Elliott seems acutely aware of. If you look back at his latest Cheltenham win, you will see a horse in complete command of the field, conserving energy for most part of the race and slamming on the accelerator at the opportune moment. With around half a mile to go, there was no doubt who the winner would be, something quite rare in these long-distance horse racing events.
Of course, if winning multiple Grand Nationals was easy, we would be able to compare Tiger Roll to many more horses than just Red Rum. But, it’s a difficult, difficult task and Tiger Roll’s victory is by no means assured. There are lots of decent chances in the race, even if you are thinking about each-way value. Don’t forget, many bookies will pay several extra places in the race, so there is value out there outside of Tiger Roll.
Vintage Clouds looks a smart each-way bet
Indeed, you can get free bets for Grand National runners from a range of bookmakers right now, and there are lots of interesting candidates to use them on. Lake View Lad and Vintage Clouds, for example, are available at 20/1 and 16/1 from Coral. Both horses were placed in the Ultima Handicap Chase at Cheltenham and look like very good shots to nab a place at Aintree – at the very least.
There is also plenty of money being taken for the second-favourite – Anibale Fly, who finished second to Al Boum Photo in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. 12/1 is the best price on offer from William Hill and a couple of other bookies. In terms of bigger prices, you can get 33/1 for Walk In the Mill, who won the Becher’s Chase at Aintree in the Autumn. One for Arthur, who won the National in 2017, is also available at 33/1 with most outlets.
This does, however, seem like Tiger Roll’s race to lose. It’s a question of whether you feel the short-price is worth the risk. On current form, you would have to say it certainly is worth it – a horse in the form of his life and poised to make history.