Aintree 2018: Grand National Odds and Betting Preview
Four miles, two furlongs and seventy-five yards: The 2018 renewal of the Aintree showpiece is likely to be one of the most stamina sapping in recent memory, due to the recent inclement weather.
There are 30 fences standing in the way of 40 runners and riders and it’s the English equivalent of ‘the race that stops a nation’. Housewives making their annual trip to the local bookmakers to place their wagers on favourite names, or numbers – it’s epic. It’s the 2018 Grand National.
From a betting perspective, the National is one of the most difficult races in the calendar to make money from. 40 possible winners make it into a very tough race to predict, but most bookmakers now pay six places for each-way bets instead of four in days gone by, to offer more opportunity of a return for the punter.
A piece of sound advice is to get your bets on early in the day, if punting on the Saturday. The bookmakers always shorten up the prices of the leading contenders in the few minutes up to the race beginning, so get on early for the best morning prices on your selections.
One For Arthur claimed victory for Lucinda Russell and her yard from Scotland last year, but unfortunately the improving eight-year-old suffered a life-ending injury, so his participation is sorely missed as One For Arthur’s win twelve months previously was hugely impressive.
In this preview, we will look at some of the contenders for the 2018 crown to try and point our readers in the right direction for a winning bet.
Ladbrokes and Coral price up Tiger Roll as their current 8/1 market favourite for the Grand National, but if you shop around, then better value can be had on the Gordon Elliott inmate. 888Sport go 14/1 for a Tiger Roll win, who looks to have the correct profile to run a big race on Saturday afternoon.
After winning the Cross Country Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, Tiger Roll shot to the head of the betting for the National after his comfortable victory. Racing off a nice weight, Tiger Roll is not the biggest individual, but has the heart of a lion and jumps very well for top jockey, Davy Russell.
JP McManus knows a thing or two about owning Grand National winners, and his Anibale Fly (generally available at 11/1) looks to have solid claims for the Aintree marathon this time around. Another horse who has solid form in the book from the recent Cheltenham meeting, Anibale Fly finished in third place behind Native River and Might Bite in the Gold Cup and that is arguably the best piece of form on offer.
Stable jockey to McManus, is Barry Geraghty and he has already selected to ride Anibale Fly instead of four other potential options. Provided that the Cheltenham race has not left its mark on the eight-year-old gelding, who is effectively nine pounds well-in at the weights following his festival run.
The leading English hope in the race comes from the Nigel Twiston-Davies yard, and his charge, Blaklion, who can be backed at 12/1 with 888Sport and Betfred. Following his fourth-placed effort in last years’ National, Blaklion returned to Aintree last December and claimed the Becher Chase over the National fences with consummate ease, winning by nine lengths.
Blaklion has had the National as his main target all season and a bold bid is virtually assured. His jumping is sound and he will love the testing ground. One note of caution is that he is carrying eight pounds more this season than his previous attempt at National glory, which could temper enthusiasm somewhat.
Seeyouatmidnight was recently sold to the Cheveley Park Stud for an undisclosed fee, as his new owners obviously believe a big run is on the cards. Cheveley Park did a similar transaction leading up to the 1992 Grand National by securing Party Politics, so they will be hoping for a similar result here.
At 16/1 with bet365 and Black Type, Seeyouatmidnight is hardly a back number in the betting and has leading northern jockey, Brian Hughes to offer his urgings. A close-up third in the Scottish Grand National in 2016, Seeyouatmidnight has already proven his stamina at the distance and is definitely rated as an each-way punt.
Another Gordon Elliott hope is Ucello Conti, who could make it third time lucky over the National fences at a generally available 20/1. After finishing sixth in the 2016 race, Ucello Conti met with grief at the 22nd fence last year but has a small weight concession this time around and could go very well under the testing conditions.
The official line-up of forty runners has yet to be published at the time of writing this article but if Vintage Clouds – owned by three-time winner Trevor Hemmings, and trained by Sue Smith, who led Auroras Encore to victory in 2013 – makes the final cut, he should definitely not be underestimated.
Vintage Clouds has all the raw materials to put up a big run in this years’ race – provided the eight-year-old son of Cloudings gets in. The grey horse will be running off a feather weight of 10st 3lbs, he will absolutely love the testing ground and has proven to be a very solid jumper in his chase career so far. SportingBet currently price up Vintage Clouds at 40/1 with a non-runner no bet option, so that bet is definitely one for the shortlist.
It is possible to make cases for several other horses that I failed to mention within this preview, however, these are the horses which I believe are likely to run well in the big race. If I was pushed to offer main selections for the race, I would select Anibale Fly for the win and if he makes the cut, Vintage Clouds for place money.
Do not be fearful of placing smaller bets on several horses in the race. A scattergun approach is more advisable rather than placing one larger bet on a horse that could easily be brought down by a loose horse in the blink of an eye. It is very difficult to pick the winner of the race every year, but hopefully we have pointed you in the right direction on this occasion.
- Anibale Fly to win at 11/1 with 10Bet
- Vintage Clouds each-way at 40/1 with Sporting Bet (non-runner, no bet).