Paul Nicholls: Yala Enki is a proper stayer and a lively outsider in Grand National

Betfair Ambassador Paul Nicholls
Paul Nicholls believes he has a lively outsider in the Aintree Grand National

Grand National day is one of the highlights of the racing calendar, and Betfair Ambassador Paul Nicholls believes he has a lively outsider in the world's greatest steeplechase...

"Best Chance. Yala Enki (each-way) 17:15 Aintree. He is a sporting each-way shot, similar to Neptune Collonges who won the National for us at 33-1 in 2012."


Ground will suit and hopefully he has a big chance

13:45 - Southfield Harvest

He was one of three horses I had to withdraw at the last minute at Cheltenham which just about summed up my week at the Festival. Southfield Harvest was a bit sore on one of his feet for 24 hours but he was fine the next day and has continued to please at home. He has progressed this season without quite winning, going up 11lbs in three runs and I'm putting a pair of cheek pieces on to help focus his mind. He will like the ground at Aintree and hopefully has a big chance. I think he will be an awesome chaser next season.

Step up in trip fine but this is a hot race

14:25 - Lucky One

He has done well this season, winning easily twice on testing winter ground, before struggling in a decent race at Kelso last time when the trip was a bit sharp and the ground quicker than ideal. While he should be much happier stepping up to two and a half miles he is mixing with the big boys here.

Has the ability to run well for Sir Alex

17:15 - Give Me A Copper

We always said we would run him in a National and this is his chance. He does, though, have two ways of running but if he is in the right mood on a going day he has the ability to run tidily. He will either take to it or not. Copper does prefer the better ground he will get at Aintree, he's a sound jumper and his schooling has been fine. He runs in the colours of his joint owner Sir Alex Ferguson who enjoys nothing more than winning in Liverpool.

Marathon trip is ideal and he goes in under the radar

17:15 - Yala Enki

Yala Enki.jpg

He jumps well, will keep galloping all day and while most of his best form is on testing ground he will be fine given drier conditions. The most important thing for Yala Enki is a long distance to bring out his stamina and four and a half miles is perfect for him. He has enjoyed plenty of schooling over National fences at Lambourn and David Pipe's and has also been over our fences twice this week. I think Yala Enki is very much like my National winner Neptune Collonges. A proper stayer, he is overpriced and under the radar despite very smart form carrying loads of weight against some of the favourites. He is a lively outsider.

Ground and track should be up his street

18:20 - Knappers Hill

I run two in the last race of the meeting which looks a red hot bumper and Knappers Hill might be the better of the pair on the prevailing ground at Aintree but it is hard to be sure as there was only a length between him and Stage Star on soft ground at Ascot. I have a feeling that the track and the ground might well be more in the favour of Knappers Hill who has loads of speed, travels well and is a a sharper horse than his stable companion.

He'll appreciate any softening of the ground

18:20 - Stage Star

He is a lovely prospect who won nicely on his debut at Chepstow and kept on strongly all the way to the line when just outpointed by Knappers Hill at Ascot. He is much more a real staying type who will be doing his best work at the finish. If the ground does come up soft it will be in his favour.


Leading chance in small-runner field

14:45 - Saint de Reve

He's knocking on the door over fences having run very well to finish second in his last two starts at Wincanton and Newbury. His turn is near and it could well come in this race as he will like the drying ground at Chepstow and will appreciate the step up in trip. Leading chance.

Shapes well at home and should run better on second outing

16:35 - Don Alvaro

I am still learning about Don Alvaro who is the first horse I've trained for Diana Whateley and Dominic Burke. He had just one run for Philip Hobbs when he finished down the field in a bumper at Cheltenham in the October and was then sent to me at the start of this year. He shapes nicely at home and I'm hopeful he will fare much better on his second start before he goes hurdling next season.

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