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2019 Grand National tips – Jon Vine's tips in Aintree’s main event

Jonathan Vine in Tips 5 Apr 2019

Our expert takes a look through the betting for this year’s Grand National and picks out three horses he will be backing at Aintree on Saturday 6th April.

The 2019 Grand National is almost upon us. The world of sport will come to a standstill on Saturday afternoon and millions of eyes from around the globe will look on as 40 of the horse racing’s finest chasers battle for a place in the annals of sporting history.

Following a superb triumph at the Cheltenham Festival, last year’s Aintree hero, Tiger Roll has been sitting at the head of the betting. I tipped Gordon Elliott’s charge 12 months ago and would love to see “the Tiger” make it two in a row, but I can’t bring myself to back a horse that short in a wide-open handicap like the Grand National.

Rathvinden is very lightly-raced for his age and I’d be surprised if the 2018 National Hunt Chase winner didn’t run well, despite appearing just once during the regular season. Anibale Fly looks primed to repeat his showing in last year’s National, after powering home for second in last month’s Gold Cup – so there is a chance Ireland could dominate the places at Aintree, like they did 12 months ago.

Bristol De Mai will not lead the British challenge, meaning everyone’s weight will be jacked up by four pounds when the final declarations are announced. There are, however, several eye-catching contenders from our shores who could give the battalion of Irish raiders something to think about. Here are three high-quality contenders who offer excellent value in the 2019 Grand National.

2019 Grand National Tips

VINTAGE CLOUDS (14/1 William Hill) missed out on entering last year’s Grand National by a single place. The Trevor Hemmings-owned chaser may currently be sitting five places outside the top 40, but I'd be flabbergasted if he didn't make the final cut and Sue Smith's nine-year-old looks primed for a big run at Aintree.

Consistency is a wonderful quality for any staying chaser to possess and Vintage Clouds, although only winning twice over fences, has registered a hatful of impressive results. Smith’s charge placed in the Ultima at Cheltenham and the Welsh Grand National as a second-season novice last term, rounding off his campaign with another strong performance in the Scottish National at Ayr.
Victory on his reappearance back in November was followed by a second outing in the Welsh National, but an uncharacteristic mistake early on saw Vintage Clouds fail to finish the race. A decent break and a wind-op followed and Smith’s chaser returned with a bang at Cheltenham, finishing strongly to push Beware The Bear right to the line in the Ultima.

Vintage Clouds has strong form here at Aintree, claiming a maiden victory over fences by 18 lengths in October 2017. Smith’s nine-year-old has tons of National form in the book and looks extremely well-handicapped carrying just 10-4. 

In 16 runs over fences, Vintage Clouds has finished outside the places on just four occasions. 14/1 remains an excellent each-way price.

As the Cheltenham faithful got swept away with the romanticism of Coneygree’s third-place finish in the BetVictor Handicap Chase, ROCK THE KASBAH'S (20/1 Paddy Power) victory was somewhat overshadowed. Yet, that performance was undoubtedly a career-best effort from Philip Hobbs’ chaser and he ticks plenty of boxes when searching for a Grand National winner.

A four-time winner over fences, Rock The Kasbah’s jumping has steadily improved with every outing over the larger obstacles. The only time the nine-year-old has failed to complete a race was in that attritional renewal of the Peter Marsh last year, where only five of the 13 runners made it past the post. 
Richard Johnson’s mount looked a little rusty on his reappearance at Chepstow this term, but jumped his rivals into submission and stayed on gamely to win at Cheltenham. Another outing at Cheltenham followed, where Rock The Kasbah struggled under the burden of top-weight. Hobbs has given his nine-year-old plenty of time to recover from his autumn excursions and a little extra give in the ground certainly wouldn’t dampen his chances.

Rock The Kasbah has proven his staying ability on several occasions. All of his wins have come on left-handed tracks, he’s registered victories on all types of ground and has previously appeared at the Aintree Festival. Philip Hobbs’ horses have been in much better form this season then they were during the last and Rock The Kasbah has clearly been laid out for the race. He should go well.

Many horses improve with a move to new surroundings and that’s certainly true of GO CONQUER (50/1 BetVictor). A capable but inconsistent chaser when in the care of Jonjo O’Neill, the ten-year-old looks to have found a new level of quality since making the switch to Nigel Twiston-Davies’ yard and his prominent running style should be ideal in a race like the Grand National.

Twiston-Davies’ recruit has taken part in three high-profile handicap chases this season, fading late on to finish third behind Traffic Fluide on his reappearance in the Sodexo Gold Cup. Go Conquer and O O Seven then pulled a long way clear of their rivals in a Class Two at Doncaster and Tom Bellamy’s mount narrowly lost out in a fierce battled between the top-weights.

All eyes were on Dingo Dollar in the Sky Bet Handicap Chase at Doncaster, but it was Go Conquer who enforced his position as the class act. Monbeg River set a strong gallop and had seen off Calipto and Willie Boy turning for home. Bellamy, however, had patiently tracked the leader, picking off his rival three from home before sauntering to a convincing victory under the burden of 11-10.

Go Conquer tackled the Grand National fences in the 2017 renewal of the Topham, where he was jumping with great fluency until a faller at the eighth brought Aidan Coleman’s mount to a virtual stand-still. Sam Twiston-Davies will likely take the ride and, if he can find a prominent early position and get Go Conquer into a nice rhythm, he’s capable of producing a strong performance.

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2019 Grand National tips – Jon Vine's tips in Aintree’s main event

Our expert takes a look through the betting for this year’s Grand National and picks out three horses he will be backing at Aintree on Saturday 6th April.

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