Crockford considers the chances of each and every one of the forty Grand National 2014 runners:
Tidal Bay – Trainer Paul Nicholls recently said that if he could only win one more race as a trainer it would be this National with Tidal Bay. Tidal Bay is a class act and will be staying on right to the finish. If he is thereabouts at the last he will be hard to beat.
Long Run – Winner of the 2011 Gold Cup and one of the best horses to have ever run in the National. His trainer Nicky Henderson believes him to be his best chance of a winner. Jockey Sam Waley-Cohen has the best record over these fences and won the Foxhunters on Thursday.
Hunt Ball – Most improved horse in training a couple of seasons ago. Has not been disgraced in his races this year and deserves respect if taking to the unique test. Definite each way claims.
Triolo D’Alene – Impressive winner of the Topham Chase last year over the fences before going from strength to strength this season. The Hennessy winner may just be stopped by his weight. Highly regarded.
Rocky Creek – Exciting novice last year and has shown his ability this year too. Interesting and unexposed runner.
Quito De La Roque – A horse not to be written off with some excellent form in the book. Not currently in the form of previous years.
Colbert Station – Big things were expected from him last year, but he did not deliver. It looks like his chance of winning the race has gone.
Walkon – Running on strongly in the Topham over the course last year. Deserves much more respect that the betting has afforded him. If he stays he has very strong place claims. Likes the fences.
Balthazar King – Fancied by those in the know. His run at Cheltenham may have just taken too much out of him for him to be competitive today. Expect him to be out in front but fade late on in the race.
Wayward Prince – Mercurial and once very talented this horse will struggle to figure again today.
Mr Moonshine – On all known form he should not win, but that was the case with his stablemate last year who won to everyone’s surprise.
Teaforthree – Connections are confident of another big run from last year’s third. Can he do better this year? This year’s renewal looks stronger.
Across The Bay – Stays all day and if he jumps well he should certainly make it to the finish. A lively outsider.
Double Seven – Interesting choice of the Champion Jockey AP McCoy. The JP McManus/McCoy partnership have been successful in the past and the profile of this runner does stand out. Is he good enough though?
Battle Group – The race has been plotted for the horse all season. Connections are confident of a bold show. Battle Group loves this time of year and Aintree. If he is in the right mood he could be dangerous.
Buckers Bridge – Probably outclassed and hasn’t really proved that he has the stamina to last home.
Lion Na Bearnai – Lots of Irish confidence in this Irish National winner. In good form this season and loves big fields like this.
Prince De Beauchene – The talking horse of the last two seasons. He has now made the race but in much more disappointing form than he has previously shown. Has good form at the course.
Monbeg Dude – He will need to have his jumping up to scratch, but with the brilliant Paul Carberry booked expect a waited run. Only concern is that he may get into trouble or be given too much to do at the finish.
Big Shu – Travelled well last time out at Cheltenham behind Balthazar King and will be fit for this. Concern that Carberry takes the ride on Monbeg Dude instead.
Burton Port – Very talented horse in his youth but has been wayward until his second last time out. Great chance if he is back to anywhere near his best.
Our Father – On his day he would certainly figure but his inconsistent performances make other runners more appealing.
Mountainous – Welsh National winner who would like it to be testing. Likley not to have the speed to be competitive today.
The Rainbow Hunter – Bounced back to form last time out and could make a bold show at long odds.
Vintage Star – A fall at Cheltenham in his last race will not be perfect preparation for this. Others look more promising.
Chance Du Roy – Likes the unique National fences and is in good spirits this year. Expect him to finish and potentially figure in the placings.
Hawkes Point – Unexposed and a good second in the Welsh National. Probably not good enough to win in such a strong renewal of the race.
Kruzhlinin – Worthy of long odds, even if he is from the National winning McCain yard.
Pineau De Re – Excellent third at the Cheltenham Festival over hurdles. That run will have him right for his attempt. Very strong each way claims for this proven stayer.
Golan Way – Very easy winner at Warwick and should be prominent in running. A question mark is his ability to see out the marathon distance.
Twirling Magnet – Outclassed in this field and hard to see winning.
Vesper Bell – Talked of as a National horse for some time. This stayer has ability but needs to have a clear round to figure.
The Package – Good run at Cheltenham should be him right for this. Stronger pointer that Tom Scudamore takes the ride.
Raz De Maree – Easy winner of the Cork National and third at Down Royal recently. Needs to improve to figure here.
Rose Of The Moon – This stayer is probably not good enough to win but has the ability to finish.
Shakalakaboomboom – Headgear on this horse for the first time, will have to make a huge difference for him to win.
Alvarado – Impressive winner earlier this season at Cheltenham. Has not repeated that form since, but if in top form could have place chances.
Last Time D’Albain – Good third in the Topham last season and clearly likes Aintree. Going to have place chances if back in that form.
One In A Milan – Evan Williams has a good record with National horses. Interesting preparation for this runner but probably not good enough.
Swing Bill – This grey likes the special test that is the National fences and looks likely to finish again today
CROCKFORD’S GRAND NATIONAL PREDICTION:
1 TIDAL BAY
2 LONG RUN
4 PINEAU DE RE
Paul Nicholls is set to train another Grand National winner with the veteran runner Tidal Bay.
(Featured Photograph – Paul Nicholls by Stuart Rice)