Grand National Tips

Kevin Blake's Grand National Verdict: 12/1 Mr Incredible has the stamina for Aintree glory

Horse racing expert Kevin Blake
Get Kevin Blake's Grand National 1-2-3

Kevin Blake previews Saturday's Grand National at Aintree on Saturday, picks his 1-2-3-4 and explains why he thinks a 12/113.00 shot is the one to back to win...

Rachael Blackmore Superboost

Day one of Aintree saw Betfair's Superboost land as Rachael Blackmore and Bob Olinger finished in the top two on Thursday, and today we are boosting her once again onboard Minella Indo in the Grand National!

You can back Rachael and Minella Indo for a Top 10 finish in the 16:00 today at Aintree at the Superboost price of 2/13.00! (was 5/42.25).

Back Minella Indo to finish in the Top 10 in the 16:00 at Aintree @ 2/13.00

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While the Grand National has changed a lot over the years, there is still no other horse race quite like it. The field has been reduced to 34 runners this year, but that won't make it much easier to find the winner.

The ground promises to be testing. The bulk of the rain has already fallen, but any drying out is likely to make the ground quite holding and won't make the test any less dour.

Who will win Aintree stamina test?

In terms of the general profile I'm looking for, I don't think this will be a Grand National for anything other than a stout stayer. There are contenders that have already proven they have such stamina and others have yet to have the opportunity to prove it just yet. Weighing up the likelihood of those unproven stayers relishing the test they'll face on Saturday will be a key element to trying to solve the puzzle.

As we've seen since the substantial changes to the fences after the 2012 renewal, this race no longer represents the jumping challenge that it once did and low jumpers now seem to be at an advantage.

In general terms, this is a higher class and more competitive race than it was in decades past, with many more horses tending to be in contention for longer. It now feels like a more typical staying handicap chase and horses with less exposed profiles are of particular interest.

Betfair Aintree.jpg

Judging National pace will be tricky

That is the general, now for the specific. With so many bigger-picture considerations focused on this race, one can be sure that the authorities will be in the ears of the jockeys to be sensible with the pace they set in the early stages. The new position of the first fence might well help in that regard too, but this is the Grand National and keeping a lid on all 34 jockeys might not be straightforward.

The Grand National is a notoriously tricky race to pace map as the occasion can fire up horses and jockeys to be more forward than they usually are. The likes of Foxy Jacks, Glengouly and Mahler Mission are regular front-runners in orthodox handicap chases and working on the assumption of at least an even pace is probably a safe basis to proceed on.

Delta Work can hit the frame

With all of that in mind, the four that I like (in reverse order) start with the Gordon Elliott-trained Delta Work. He is the most exposed of the four I like, but there is a solid case to be made for him.

He ran very well when third to Noble Yeats in this race in 2022 and was unfortunate to exit at the 21st fence last year. He has been making hay on the cross-country circuit in recent years, but obviously missed on running in the race at the Cheltenham Festival this year after it was cancelled.

He comes into this race fresh and Gordon Elliott is particularly bullish about the shape he has him in at present. The addition of first-time blinkers could well add a welcome spark to him and the prevailing ground will be no issue for him. While he will obviously be vulnerable to less exposed rivals, I could certainly see him hitting the frame at a big price.

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Meetingofthewaters can run a big race

One at the opposite end of the exposed scale is the Willie Mullins-trained Meetingofthewaters. The seven-year-old has had just six runs over fences, but has already won the Paddy Power Chase at Leopardstown and finished a fine third in the Ultima Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.

On the latter occasion he shaped as though an even stronger test of stamina would help him advance his form and, with testing ground holding no fears for him, it wouldn't at all surprise if he ran a big race.

Some will be put off by the fact that Mark Walsh has chosen to ride Limerick Lace instead of him, but that wouldn't bother me and Danny Mullins is a positive booking for him.

Corach Rambler could be rare two-timer

The next on my shortlist is the Lucinda Russell-trained Corach Rambler. The 10-year-old has been masterfully campaigned in recent seasons and is low mileage for a horse of his age.

He won the Grand National as easily as any horse has won it in recent times last year, getting to the front far sooner than ideal and idling all the way up the run-in. He is 13lb higher this year, but advanced his form another 3lb when finishing an excellent third in the Gold Cup at the Cheltenham Festival in his warm-up run for this.

The ground will hold no fears for him and he looks to have very real chances of becoming a rare two-time winner of this race.

Kevin Blake's Grand National prediction

So, that brings us to numero uno, the big kahuna, the one. My selection for the Grand National of 2024 is the Willie Mullins-trained Mr Incredible.

The eight-year-old is unexposed over fences having had just nine runs over them. He ran in the race last year and was number two on the shortlist. He was very much still in the race with every chance when making a particularly unfortunate exit after his saddle slipped after the Canal Turn and Brian Hayes was unseated.

Given what we've learned about his stamina since then, it is very possible that he would have made a very bold bid. We have only seen him once since and he ran a huge race to finish second in the Midlands Grand National at Uttoxeter last year, showcasing stamina in abundance. One suspects that Mullins will have left a little bit to work on with this race in mind and he looks to have an excellent chance with Brian Hayes looking for redemption.

Kevin Blake's Grand National 1-2-3-4

1 - Mr Incredible

2 - Corach Rambler

3 - Meetingofthewaters

4 - Delta Work

Back Mr Incredible @ 12/113.00

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Now read Grand National Day Tips: Back Tony Calvin's 16/1 and 159/1 big race bets

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