Aintree 2020: Early outsiders to consider
— Declan McAnallen (@DeclanMcAnallen) March 17, 2016
We are creeping ever closer to the 2020 Randox Health Grand National at Aintree.
The weights are due for release on February 11 and from there it will be full-on speculation season as to what has a chance of glory on April 4.
The great Tiger Roll will be the name on everyone’s lips, irrespective, but here are three rank outsiders (all available to back at 50/1* and bigger as of February 4) that might be worth some thought.
A Toi Phil
We’ve not seen anything from A Toi Phil since a win at Listowel in September. There he won a 2m5f chase at the Harvest Festival barely 48 hours after having run in midfield in the Kerry National at the same venue.
The win was to prove his final outing before leaving Gordon Elliott’s yard and he has now raced in the famous maroon and white silks of Gigginstown House Stud.
A Toi Phil is in the care of Gary Moore and will race under new ownership, with his reappearance potentially coming at Newbury in the Game Spirit or Denman Chase this month.
He was a Grade 2 winner over fences in Ireland back in 2016 at just shy of three miles and has won seven times over fences ahead of his debut for new connections.
He had a crack at the Grand National in 2019, finishing 12th, and arguably could have been much closer but for being badly hampered at Becher’s Brook.
He was rated 151 for that outing but could get back into the race from a lower perch this time around.
With a change of scenery under his belt, A Toi Phil strikes as one that might do better on his second spin over this famous course and distance.
Pat Kelly’s Mall Dini is a bit of an enigma over fences. He is 0-15 in his career but has often been heavily touted to land a big prize somewhere.
He was prominent in the betting for the Randox Health Grand National last season but had to be crossed off after the final declarations were made on the Thursday, having sustained a leg injury. He was as short as 20/1 in the betting at the time of his withdrawal.
It was the latest blow to Kelly yard last spring, and indeed last season, with Gold Cup hope Presenting Percy also having a frustrating time of things.
We’ve only seen Mall Dini once since when he was pulled up at Ballinrobe in the Mayo National in May.
He is now 10-years-old and his best effort over fences remains a runner-up finish in the Kim Muir at the 2018 Cheltenham Festival. While yet to fulfil his potential, it remains a fact that Mall Dini is a horse laced with promise and he is still young enough to show it on a big stage somewhere.
The Young Master
I’ve always had a soft spot for The Young Master and there’s no doubt it would be a thrill to see him take his chance in a Grand National.
Neil Mulholland’s charge was number 54 on the list 12 months ago and didn’t make the cut once the final 40 were announced. He has won seven times over fences in his career, all bar one of those successes coming at three miles or more.
He’s now 11-years-old and time is starting to run out for trainer Mulholland who admitted in 2019 that “to run in the National is the plan, we would like it to happen”. He’s rated 144 and will again have to ride his luck to get in.
We’ve seen him just once this season, being pulled up in the Badger Ales at Wincanton back in November, but his form around Sandown over close to 3m5f in the bet365 Gold Cup (winner in 2016, second in 2019 from four runs) makes him an interesting National contender if he gets in, especially given he’s a three-figure price at this stage.
*Odds subject to change.