Grand National Trainers – Who to follow

Last Updated 14 Aug 2018 | Commercial content | 18+

The build-up towards the 2019 Aintree Grand National is pretty much all-year-round. At this stage, how are you selecting your best bet? Which Grand National trainers should you look out for? With that in mind, we take a look at five leading Grand National trainers heading up the betting before Saturday, April 16th 2019.

GORDON ELLIOTT

  • Grand National Wins: 2, 2007 & 2018

The Gordon Elliott yard is a powerhouse stable that has a fine record in the Grand National. Their first win in the race came in 2007 with a horse called Silver Birch. This 10-year-old landed the race with 10st 6lbs and had jockey Robbie Power doing the steering.

The yard had to wait 11 years for their next winner – but that came in 2018 with Tiger Roll. Owned by the powerful Gigginstown House Stud, this 8-year-old held on by just a head at the line to reward his backers and also gave jockey – Davy Russell – his first win in the race. If lining-up again in 2019, then Tiger Roll will be looking to become the first back-to-back Grand National winner since Red Rum in the seventies.

Elliott is a veteran of Grand National Trainers, also trained the third in the race in 2018 – Bless The Wings – plus Ucello Conti, who was a close-up seventh until unseating it’s rider four fences from home. We can expect another strong hand from the County Meath-based Irish trainer in 2019 but all eyes will be on his current champion – Tiger Roll – to see if he can back-up that success of 12 months ago.

WILLIE MULLINS

  • Grand National Wins: 1, 2005

Hedgehunter, in 2005, has provided Willie Mullins with his sole Grand National winner to date, but he’s another of the big yards that is sure to be well represented in 2019. His Pleasant Company finished 9th in 2017 under Ruby Walsh and could easily be targeted at the race again after also running second in 2019. However, his most interesting potential Grand National runner in 2019 could be Total Recall, who was sent off as the 7/1 favourite in 2018. This improving 10-year-old ticks a lot of the main trends and despite being pulled-up in 2018 never really recovered from making a few early blunders in the race. He was a top winner of the 2017 Ladbrokes Gold Cup Trophy (Hennessy Gold Cup) at Newbury though and was in the process of running well in the 2018 Cheltenham Gold Cup until falling late on. Despite his, age – he’ll be 10 for the 2019 running – he’s still relatively lightly-raced over fences.

NIGEL TWISTON-DAVIES

  • Grand National Wins: 2, 1998 & 2002

With wins in 1998 and 2002, trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies has one of the best Grand National records in recent times. His Blaklion was a leading player in 2018 but was brought down at the first fence. His 9-year-old was fourth in the 2017 race though and does have a fine record over these fences, having also won the Becher Chase here in December 2017. With that experience under his belt will be popular with punters again in 2019 and at 10 years-old still has time on his side. Despite last year’s early exit in the race, he’s a safe jumper, so providing he can stay out of trouble, he could give Twiston-Davies a famous third win in the Grand National.

DONALD McCAIN

  • Grand National Wins: 1, 2011

The McCain name has been long associated with Grand National trainers after Ginger McCain (Donald’s father) trained the mighty Red Rum to three victories in the 1970’s, plus added another win in 2004 with Amberleigh House. Since the reins got handed over to Donald he’s managed to follow in his father’s footsteps too when landing the race in 2011 with Ballabriggs. At this stage, it’s hard to know if he’ll have any runners in 2019. But if he does, be sure to give them a second glance.

NICKY HENDERSON

  • Grand National Wins: None

The five-time champion trainer is yet to add the Grand National to his haul of big race winners, but he’s sure to have some live chances of putting that right in 2019. His first runner in the Grand National came in 1979 with a horse called Zongalero, which ironically is still the best he’s done in the contest after the horse was runner-up by just one and a half lengths that year.

Some leading horses to run under his name in the race have been Long Run, Triolo D’Alene and Hunt Ball, who all ran in the 2014 renewal.

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