Paul Nicholls will hope for one final win for the veteran chaser Tidal Bay in the Grand National this afternoon

The veteran stayer Tidal Bay will have what likely to be his final racecourse run in the Grand National this afternoon before retiring. His trainer Paul Nicholls last month told twitter followers that if he could only train one more winner in his career he would like it to be Tidal Bay. The last two seasons have seen the thirteen-year-old win the Grade One Lexus Chase, finish second in the Grade One Hennessy in Ireland and third in the Welsh Grand National. Nicholl’s old-timer has both stamina and ability in abundance, but being the Grand National it is far from a one horse race.

With a Gold Cup and Hennessy winner in the field Nicky Henderson will fancy his chances of taking the prize. Long Run is his favoured challenger and is certain to go well with Sam Waley-Cohen on board. The 2011 Gold Cup looked out of sorts this season until he returned to winning ways at Kelso. Hennessy victor Triolo D’Alene was impressive last year over the fences in the Topham when he just saw off Alan King’s grey Walkon. Walkon will also re-oppose today and is too big a price at 50/1.

Dr Richard Newland has given an eye-catching preparation for the race to his horse Pineau De Re. Third behind two very useful sorts (Fingal Bay and Southfield Theatre) at the Festival in the Pertemps Final, expect a bold show today.

Crockford considers all forty Grand National 2014 runners on the site and gives his first four home prediction

Crockford’s Grand National Dead Cert – Tidal Bay e/w  (Aintree 4.15)

The Grand National looks the perfect test for this classy stayer. Emotions will certainly be running high if Tidal Bay wins. The horse comes to the race fresh after a great staying performance in Ireland. Expect a final win for this Nicholls trained veteran.

Crockford’s Grand National Whisper – Walkon e/w (Aintree 4.15)

Alan King’s grey was second in last year’s Paddy Power Gold Cup and stayed on strongly to almost beat Triolo D’Alene over the fences in the Topham last April. This quality performer is overpriced at 50/1 and has strong each way claims.


Crockford’s other gambles on Grand National Day 2014:

Aintree – Dell’Arca e/w (Mersey 1.30), Trifolium (Maghull 2.05), At Fishers Cross (Liverpool 2.50), Unioniste and Saint Are e/w (3.25), Tidal Bay e/w, Walkon e/w , Long Run e/w, Pineau De Re e/w and Hunt Ball e/w (Grand National 4.15), Katgary, Kashmir Peak e/w and Court Minstrel e/w (5.10) and Modus (5.45)

Lingfield – Exhequer (1.15), Dark Leopard (2.250, Brass Ring (3.00), Barley Mow (3.40) and Nassau Storm (4.45)

Chepstow – Dubawi Island (1.20), Mister Grez (2.30), Samingarry (3.45) and Rock The Kasbah (5.55)

Newcastle – Conveyor Belt e/w (1.40)

Gowran Park – Thomas Wedgwood (4.00)


(Featured Photograph – Paul Nicholls by Stuart Rice)

Paul Nicholls