Grand National Tips

Grand National Ante-Post Tips: Tony Calvin's early 50/1 each-way selection

Betfair tipster Tony Calvin
Tony Calvin has a 50/1 tip for this year's Grand National

"He stepped up markedly from his debut effort for Polly Gundry when second to Chantry House in the Cotswold Chase last time, on which that mark of 153 is very fair, and we know this is a horse who really should be suited by a through test of stamina."

The weights for this year's Grand National have just been published, and our resident tipster Tony Calvin has a 50/1 selection for you to consider...

I am not going to lie, the appeal of trying to find the winner of the Grand National immediately after the publication of the weights does leave me a touch cold these days.

There was a time when I received the embargoed weights early in the morning, and I had basically written my copy before heading off to the lunch itself (always in London, before they moved it up to Liverpool), but it seems I have upset too many people of late.

Because I get neither an early shufty at the handicap or an invite to the drink-laden three-course slap-up.

Bitter?

Me?

Na.

New Waley-Cohen recruit catches the eye

Anyway, I have had a good look at the weights, not exhaustive by any means - it is usually best to be honest - and Noble Yeats took my eye initially, for a number of reasons.

I will stop some way of short of tipping him here - and I imagine we will get helpful, running plans filtering through from the lunch in the next 24 hours - but here is my reasoning for thinking he could step on his recent efforts and prove to be a force off his mark of 147 if he gets his jumping together (which is always handy around Aintree....)

Let's get this straight, he is hardly a dark horse but he is 20s with the Betfair Sportsbook (paying five places) and 30.029/1 on the exchange so we are not taking about a shortie here.

After being bought in a private deal by Robert Waley-Cohen on Monday, for his son Sam to ride at Aintree on April 9 - and that wouldn't have been cheap, trust me, though he stays in Emmet Mullins' care - he is undoubtedly one of the current "buzz" horses for the race.

And a lot of that is also down to how he has shaped in a few runs this season, and the fact that he has twice been reported as clinically abnormal post-race by the vet.

Given the latter scenarios, it seems very curious that he should have been purchased for such a punchy six-figure sum, but it just goes to show how Waley-Cohen views the potential of the horse.

Let's just say he has shaped far better than the formbook would suggest in five defeats since a Galway win in October, and that was again the case when he finished second, from off the pace, to Ahoy Senor in the Towton at Wetherby on Saturday.

He has been given a mark of 147, on which Timeform have him as one of their better handicapped horses in the race.

But, against that, he does need to prove his stamina and improve his jumping, and his inexperience as a novice could count against him in the National, for all it could equally be a positive when it comes to his unexposed profile and his handicap mark. He is currently 53rd in the list, with an obvious maximum field of 40.

Can 'The Boat' sail into the distance one last time?

Timeform kindly gave me their take of how they see the race, and they have Any Second Now as their top-rated contender, with my old buddy Santini just 1lb behind him alongside Chantry House.

The case for last year's third Any Second Now is a very fair one as his handicap mark has been protected by two outings over hurdles this season, and he is entered in the Red Mills Chase over 2m4f at Gowran Park on Saturday, so he could finally get his chase ball rolling there as a prep for Liverpool.

Many thought he would have gone very close to winning had he not been badly hampered last season and, even though he is 7lb higher now (the winner Minella Times is 15lb higher), Timeform clearly think he remains well handicapped.

If you fancy him, he is a decent each way price at 16/1 with the Betfair Sportsbook (five places) considering his win-only price on the exchange is just 17.5.

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Everyone laughed at me when I said on Weighed In a few weeks ago that I had chucked £25 each way at Santini at 66s for the Gold Cup.

Of course, that was a reflection of the open nature of this year's race, and his great Cheltenham Festival, record rather than any significant recent form claims or dashing displays of pace - and it was also partly to wind Hugh Cahill up, a horse he christened "The Boat" last year but whom he secretly loves dearly - but he has been given a rating of just 153 for Aintree (where he has finished first and second in his two starts) and that must make him a contender if he rocks up.

And far more of one than the Sportsbook's 50/1 suggests. Back him each way at that price.

He stepped up markedly from his debut effort for Polly Gundry when second to Chantry House in the Cotswold Chase last time, on which that mark of 153 is very fair, and we know this is a horse who really should be suited by a through test of stamina.

I am not seriously suggesting he will win a Gold Cup but if he outruns his price there then I imagine Gundry has to be seriously tempted to go for gold in the Nash, even if it is just 22 days later. Who knows, maybe that Aintree mark will tempt them to bypass Cheltenham?

Look, I am not recommending a big bet on him at all, and I will only have £20 each-way on him at 50s once this column goes live, but join me if you wish.

As Hugh would say, "HOO HOO!" (or I think that is what he shouts, anyway).

Good luck.

I am definitely off for that lie-down now. I have come over all strange after that tip.

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Prices quoted in copy are correct at time of publication but liable to change.