Check out our analysis of all 19 finishers in the Aintree 2017 Grand National, won by One For Arthur at an SP of 14-1.
|1. One For Arthur||14-1||Derek Fox||Lucinda Russell|
|2. Cause Of Causes||16-1||Mr JJ Codd||Gordon Elliott|
|3. Saint Are||25-1||Davy Russell||Tom George|
|4. Blaklion||8-1F||Noel Fehily||Nigel Twiston-Davies|
|5. Gas Line Boy||50-1||Robert Dunne||Ian Williams|
|6. Vieux Lion Rouge||12-1||Tom Scudamore||David Pipe|
|7. Lord Windermere||33-1||Leighton Aspell||J H Culloty|
|8. Regal Encore||33-1||Robbie Power||Anthony Honeyball|
|9. Pleasant Company||11-1||R Walsh||W P Mullins|
|10. Houblon Des Obeaux||50-1||Charlie Deutsch||Venetia Williams|
|11. Ballynagour||66-1||David Noonan||David Pipe|
|12. Le Mercurey||50-1||Sean Bowen||Paul Nicholls|
|13. Goodtoknow||66-1||Jake Greenall||Kerry Lee|
|14. Just A Par||33-1||Harry Cobden||Paul Nicholls|
|15. La Vaticane||80-1||Richie McLernon||David Pipe|
|16. The Last Samuri||16-1||David Bass||Kim Bailey|
|17. Tenor Nivernais||40-1||Aidan Coleman||Venetia Williams|
|18. Roi Des Francs||50-1||Jack Kennedy||Gordon Elliott|
|19. Wonderful Charm||28-1||Ms K Walsh||Paul Nicholls|
2017 Grand National Review
One For Arthur became the first horse trained in Scotland since Rubstic in 1979 to win the Grand National. He did so in some style under almost cloudless skies at a packed Aintree.
Conditions could not have been more perfect for the 40 runners as they set off to tackle the world’s most famous horse race. As a result, there were 19 finishers. Although, the field was pretty well strung out by the time One For Arthur passed the post and sealed his place in the history books.
The Lucinda Russell trained eight year old had made stealthy progress on the second circuit and could be called the likely winner as early as three out. There was a slight moment of concern when he was bumped into at the second last by the weakening Blaklion, but he stayed on strongly after the last to power clear at the Elbow.
Given how impressive he was in the 2017 Grand National and his relatively tender age, he looks to have as good a chance to emulate Red Rum. He has stamina in abundance and could definitely handle softer ground. He had enough left in the tank to suggest he could cope with the inevitable weights rise too.
2017 Grand National Runners Up
The remarkable Cause Of Causes chased him home and in doing so almost added another big race win to his impressive CV. He would have run out a ready winner but for One For Arthur and lost nothing in defeat, although his exertions when landing another Cheltenham Festival success a few weeks earlier may have just taken the edge of him. He has been an amazing servant to connections and was ridden closer to the pace here than is often the case.
Aintree specialist Saint Are bounced right back to his best to finish third, with conditions to suit. He never really looked like winning the 2017 Grand National, but stayed on. He was hampered at Bechers on the first circuit. Saint Are may never win this race, but he has given his owners some fantastic memories. His jockeys have had some great spins over these fearsome obstacles. Davy Russell was the lucky man this year and he gave the horse a great ride.
Blaklion also ran a brave race to claim fourth. Noel Fehily made a bold break for home after Valentines and he looked to have most of his rivals toiling as he crossed the Melling Road for the last time. However, his stamina started to fail. In the end, he did well to finish less than nine lengths adrift of One For Arthur.
Blaklion was one of four in a line jumping the last. Aside from the first two the other horse to be vying for the lead at that point was Gas Line Boy, who ran a massive race for his supporters. He had nothing left to give in the final run to the line, but ran well above expectations. When he is on a going day he is a very useful staying chaser.
2017 Grand National Rest of the Field
Vieux Lion Rouge (6th) had proved his ability to handle this fences earlier in the season. It was no surprise to see him run another big race in the 2017 Grand National. He was always within sight of the leaders once the race had begun in earnest, but he just wasn’t quite good enough on the day. The slight doubts about his stamina over this extreme trip remain.
Back in seventh was former Gold Cup winner, Lord Windermere, who seemed to relish the decent ground. This was by far the best race he has run since he reached the peak of the sport in 2014. His connections clearly still have a horse to go to war with. He is extremely well handicapped if able to rise to this level again for the 2017 Grand National.
Another outsider, Regal Encore, was eighth. He never threatened to get involved but gave jockey of the moment, Robbie Power, a great ride. He remains talented, but frustrating in equal measure. He’ll probably claim a decent prize again next season, albeit when punters least expect it.
Pleasant Company was well fancied for the Mullins / Walsh combination. But he blew his chance with a bad mistake at Valentines on the second circuit and could only finish ninth. He seemed a bit one paced after that mistake and may have preferred a bit more give in the ground. He looks likely to be aimed at this again next year.
Houblon Des Obeaux was tenth. He had plenty of horses in front of him for most of the way. He did well to pass as many as he did in the latter stages.
Ballynagour (11th) was another to show more sparkle than he has for a long time, although this trip probably stretched his stamina.
2017 Grand National Back of the Field
Goodtoknow was prominent for a long way but faded to finish 13th. Just A Par (14th) did his usual and finished with a rattle to end up a lot closer than had looked likely for a long way.
Last year’s runner up, The Last Samuri, was one of the disappointments of the 2017 Grand National, struggling home in 16th. He was well in contention throughout the first circuit, but started to fade after jumping Bechers for the second time. He had plenty of weight, but was beaten too soon for that to have been the only excuse.
Rois Des Francs finished one place further back, but ran a remarkable race in the circumstances. He was in the leading group for much of the opening lap. Though, he was almost carted off the racecourse by a loose horse going out into the country for the second time. Despite losing many lengths in the process, he somehow managed to work his way back into contention before fading after the third last.
2017 Grand National Non-finishers
There weren’t too many hard luck stories amongst those who failed to complete the 2017 Grand National. The one exception may have been Ucello Conti who still seemed to be cruising when coming down at Bechers second time. He was going right down the brave man’s route on the inside and was slightly impeded by a couple of horses just in front of him. He could be one to look out for next season.
It was too early to say how one of the favourites, Definitely Red, might have fared. His rider pulled him up after his saddle slipped following a mistake at Valentines first time.
In terms of the other fancied runner who didn’t finish, Saphir Du Rheu fell at the 11th, The Young Master got no further than Bechers first time. More Of That ran okay to a point, but weakened four out and was pulled up before the last.
Below is our 2017 Grand National race preview and selections:
2017 Grand National Preview and Tips
Our in-depth analysis of the 2017 Grand National can be found below. Or you can scroll to the bottom of the page to go directly to our 2017 Grand National tips.
We have selected 6 of the last 13 winners Grand National, including last year’s winner Rule The World at odds of 50-1. In 2014 we tipped Pineau De Re at 33-1 and, back in 2012, Neptune Collonges at 40-1.
Incredibly, our first five predictions (from six tips) in 2012 included the first four home. They were available at 40-1, 20-1, 22-1 and 18-1 on the morning of the race.
2017 Grand National Preview
The Last Samurai
Last year’s runner up, The Last Samurai, bids to go one better in the 2017 Grand National. He has 12lbs more to carry, which won’t make the task any easier. However, he has continued to progress this season and has run three rock solid trials for this race. Each time, he’s showed that this marathon trip is just what he needs. He was third behind Vieux Lion Rouge in the Becher Chase in December, demonstrating his liking for these fences. There are few chinks in his armour.
More Of That
Although not carrying top weight, More Of That is arguably the class horse of the race. He won the World Hurdle as a novice three seasons ago. He hasn’t quite scaled those heights since, although a number of health and fitness problems haven’t helped. Since, he has shown signs of a revival on his last two starts. Though he unseated when bang in contention at the last in the Irish Gold Cup. Then, he finished a credible sixth in the Gold Cup last month. Jonjo O’Neill is the master when it comes to training staying chasers, but will this horse’s issues resurface when facing the 2017 Grand National?
Shantou Flyer was a decent novice in Ireland last season when his wins included a 3m chase at Cheltenham on good ground. He seems to have improved again since moving to Rebecca Curtis. He took a valuable handicap at the Gloucestershire track on New Year’s day, on very soft ground. Shantou Flyer has run well in two starts since, looking like a step up in trip would suit on both occasions. However, he will have to overcome a career high mark to win the 2017 Grand National.
Another horse who looks high in the weights is Perfect Candidate. When you consider he will only be receiving 1lb from More Of That. He is a consistent sort, however, who should be suited by this stamina test. He has form on good ground.
Saphir Du Rheu
Like More Of That, Saphir Du Rheu ran in the Gold Cup recently and he put up a really bold show there to finish fifth. Also like Jonjo’s horse, he had very good form as a staying hurdler. Though, has struggled a bit to reach the same level over fences. He seems to have got his confidence back. If his Cheltenham efforts haven’t left a mark he must have a big chance here. Don’t forget, he looked like a Gold Cup winner in waiting when sluicing home in the Mildmay Novices’ Chase at this meeting two years ago.
Roi Des Francs
Fresh off a Cheltenham Festival to remember, Gordon Elliott is sending another strong raiding party from his Irish base. Roi Des Francs is the highest rated of his National runners. He is lightly raced enough to still be improving and won nicely over 3m 2f last time out. He became a bit disappointing for Willie Mullins last season so perhaps Elliott is starting to find the key to him. If he enjoys the ground he could outrun his price in the 2017 Grand National.
Like Roi Des France, Wounded Warrior represents last year’s winning owners, Gigginstown House Stud. He has been running in decent races all season, but really hasn’t shown very much. These fences will have to bring about a major revival for him to figure here.
Wonderful Charm seems to have relished the switch to hunter chasing this season. He finished with a real rattle to nearly catch stablemate Pacha Du Polder in the Foxhunters. This is a much tougher test altogether and he looks to have plenty of weight on his back. He was also pulled up here last year.
There aren’t many more consistent horses running in top class handicap chases than Tenor Nivernais. He could show up well for a long way here too. However, he has never raced over anything like this far and is a doubtful stayer.
Many people expected Blaklion to develop into a Gold Cup horse this year after his RSA Chase win last season. But things haven’t quite gone to plan. Blacklion hasn’t been running too badly, though, and bypassed Cheltenham to come here a fresh horse. He seems to stay well and has the big race jockey of the moment, Noel Fehily, on board. He deserves his place near the head of the market in the 2017 Grand National.
Drop Out Joe
Good ground is absolutely crucial to Drop Out Joe’s chances. He loves to hear his hooves rattling and won the Summer Cup last time out. He hasn’t run since. It would be some training feat to bring him back to win this race after such a long absence.
A model of consistency, Le Mercurey has kept some decent company this season. He was probably flattered by his proximity to Native River in the Denman Chase though and has yet to win beyond 2m 5f.
The Young Master
Few professional jockeys ride this course as well as Sam Waley-Cohen. The top amateur is back for another crack at this race with The Young Master. His mount here looks likely to see out the trip well and has been trained for the race. He had the perfect prep running a big handicap at the Festival, where he stayed on nicely into sixth. The slight worry is that he disappointed in the Becher Chase, falling two out. He looks on a reasonable mark, so if he can put that effort behind him he could go close.
Cause Of Causes
Cause Of Causes is fast becoming a Festival legend, having won three different chases at the big meeting. Those races included the National Hunt Chase and the Cross Country, so jumping and stamina shouldn’t be issues. He also loves spring ground. He ran okay when eighth here behind the late Many Clouds in 2015 and has to go on any shortlist. As with a number of these, the unknown is how well he will have recovered from his Cheltenham exertions.
Like Cause of Causes, Regal Encore represents JP McManus, but this horse is arguably the least fancied of the great Irish owner’s runners. That is not to say this horse is without talent, it is just that he often fails to deliver. Sometimes these fences can be just the cure for an inconsistent type and that makes him one of the more interesting long shots. His yard is flying at the moment.
Vieux Lion Rouge
Vieux Lion Rouge has been ante post favourite for this race for a while now and it is easy to see why. He ran well when seventh last year and appears a stronger horse this season. He is two from two since his effort behind Rule The World, including a win over these fences in the Becher Chase. Vieux Lion Rouge beat Blaklion in the Grand National Trial at Haydock last time out over 3m 4f. The only slight question mark is whether he will see out the extra half mile here.
Definitely Red shot to the fore in this market by running away with the Grimthorpe last time out. He had The Last Samuri 14l back in second that day and runs off the same mark here. That means he is 9lbs well in based on his new rating so his chance is there for all to see. That means his price has gone, but he has to go on the shortlist.
Last year’s sixth, Ucello Conti, was fourth in the Becher Chase in December to prove his love of the track. He is on the same mark as last season and may see out the trip better on this faster ground. He’s better off at the weights with a number of the rivals he met in the Becher. He could have the best chance of those that contested that race despite being a bigger price than the likes of Vieux Lion Rouge.
7 year olds don’t have a great record in this famous race so Double Shuffle has some unfavourable statistics to overcome. He is usually a solid jumper and has shown his best form on this ground, but it is hard to overlook his lack of experience.
Houblon Des Obeaux
Houblon Des Obeaux has run a number of big races in staying chases down the years. However, they have mainly been on soft ground. He could well run respectably here too, but is likely to find a number of these too good for, or better handicapped than, him.
It has been a rollercoaster season for Willie Mullins. It would be no surprise to see this fickle sport serve him up the ultimate high courtesy of Pleasant Company. He is his only representative in the race and he definitely has a good chance on form. He is peaking at the right time and is lightly raced enough to still have improvement in him. Being by Presenting the ground might actually suit him.
One For Arthur
One For Arthur bids to be the first Scottish trained winner since Rubstic and he has a good chance of pulling it off. He was very impressive in the Betfred Classic Chase at Warwick on his last start, proving himself a real stayer. Before that he had jumped these fences successfully when fifth in the Becher Chase. The ground is a worry as most of his winning has been done on soft going. He also tends to finish his races well, but he can’t afford to give the leaders too much rope.
Ballynagour seems to have fallen out of love with the game, pulled up on his last three starts. It will take the combination of good ground, the spring and these fences to stir him into action. Ballynagour is a talented horse and was running well here last season when unseating rider at the 19th. He then continued in good form when sent summer jumping. He tends to run well fresh as he has a history of bursting blood vessels. This is the lowest mark he has run off since winning at the 2014 Cheltenham Festival.
O’Faolains Boy looked a possible future Gold Cup winner when taking the RSA Chase in 2014. He beat Smad Place and a number of other big names in the process. He has shown flashes of brilliance since and ran well for a long way in last year’s Gold Cup. O’Faolains Boy has shown nothing on two starts this year, however, but may be sparked into life by the better ground and sunshine. He is dangerously well handicapped based on his best form and has a top pilot on board.
Former National winning owner Mrs David Thompson (Party Politics) has recently purchased Highland Lodge. He’ll represent one of the smaller trainers, Jimmy Moffatt. He was a decent horse in his younger days for Emma Lavelle, now revitalised by Moffatt and these fences. Highland Lodge won the Becher Chase last season and was runner up this. He comes alive here, but may need a drop of rain. His front running style should keep him out of trouble.
Bishops Road has looked a Grand National contender in the making for a couple of seasons now. Though he tends to run his best races on soft ground. He unseated his rider in last year’s Topham and hasn’t been at his best so far. His yard has a good record with staying chasers.
It is amazing to see a former Gold Cup winner so far down the list of runners and with only 10st 10lbs on his back. But little has gone right for Jim Culloty’s charge since those heady days in 2014. In fact, he has only run eight times since then and one of those efforts saw him pull up here last year. The ground will be in his favour, and he could outrun his odds. But it is hard to see him winning. To have any chance he needs to be ridden closer to the pace than is often the case.
Aintree is second home to Saint Are now and if anyone deserves a big race win it is probably him. He will have his ground and is only 4lbs higher than when second to Many Clouds in 2015. He is 11 now, but veterans have a good recent record in the race and he goes into the contest in good form. His yard has had a fine season too and they have booked one of the best big race pilots around.
Grand National lover Trevor Hemmings has recently bought Vicente for a chance at another Aintree success. This horse already has a Scottish National win under his belt. Good ground is crucial to him, but it may also be that he is best in the Spring too. That will be what his connections will be hoping as his recent form has been disappointing. He is dropping down the weights and is another to have a top jockey on board.
Just A Par
Just A Par is another contender from Paul Nicholls’ yard. The Somerset trainer needs a win here to retain his trainers’ title. Like Vicente, this horse has already won a big handicap over a staying trip, The 2015 Bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown. He also bounced back to form last time out and the ground has come in his favour. He was well beaten here last year, but that was on ground that wouldn’t have suited him. The worry is that he likes to come fast and late, and they are hard tactics to pull off here.
Last year’s National Hunt Chase has proven to be some renewal. The subsequent efforts of the likes of Minella Rocco, Native River, Vicente and Vieux Lion Rouge were substantial. Measureofmydreams was third for Willie Mullins and has since moved to Noel Meade. He pulled up on his first start for his new yard and then finished 13th at the Festival in the Ultima Chase. He would have finished a bit closer, but was hampered two out. If Meade has found the key to him he could be a decent longshot based on his efforts last season.
Raz De Maree
Raz De Maree is now entering veteran stage but has run well here before. He has also been in good form again this season as a second in the Welsh National shows. However, he tends to run his best races on soft ground and they may go too quick for him here.
Stellar Notion is one of a number of horses owner Roger Brookhouse has moved to Ireland. This lightly raced 9 year old has got his career back on track under the care of Henry De Bromhead. He will like the ground here, but has yet to prove he has the stamina for this sort of assignment.
Last year’s Irish National winner bids to add the big one to his CV. He isn’t the most consistent of sorts and has yet to make the frame in six starts this campaign. One of those starts was over these fences when he was well beaten in the Becher Chase. He has probably been trained for this, but there look to be better long shots.
Cocktails At Dawn
Cocktails At Dawn can be a flamboyant jumper and so is likely to be a spectacular sight over these fences. However, he does make mistakes and one of those errors cost him in last year’s Topham. With stamina to prove as well, it isn’t easy to make a case for this horse giving Nicky Henderson a first win in the race.
Thunder And Roses
Like Rogue Angel, Thunder And Roses represents last year’s winning connections. Repeat success isn’t totally impossible given that this horse has already won an Irish National. He lost his form a bit after that and moved from Sandra Hughes to Mouse Morris. He has yet to win for his new yard but went down narrowly to Pleasant Company on his penultimate start.
Gas Line Boy
Gas Line Boy often likes to go from the front. So he could show up well for a long way here if he can get into a decent jumping rhythm. However, he is likely to get out gunned in the closing stages, as he did at Haydock behind Vieux Lion Rouge last time out.
Goodtoknow was pulled up in the Grand National Trial last time out which hardly bodes well for his chances here. He stays well, but is likely to be outclassed.
La Vaticane ran poorly at Cheltenham last time out and that was the second disappointing effort in a row. He also looked a non-stayer when fading to fifth in the Sefton Chase here in December.
Doctor Harper is another inconsistent performer whose connections will be hoping bounces back to form when faced with this unique challenge. The going has come right for him, but he could get too far out of his ground early on and looks opposable.
This looks the most competitive Grand National for years and it would be no real surprise were any of about 25 of these to claim our sports’ most high profile race.
Given the depth of their success at the Cheltenham Festival recently it would be foolish to ignore the Irish raiding party. We think their strongest challengers could be horses representing their strongest trainers – UCELLO CONTI (16-1) for Gordon Elliott and PLEASANT COMPANY (14-1) for Willie Mullins.
More Of That is arguably the class horse in the race, but there isn’t much on that score between him and SAPHIR DU RHEU (22-1). Preference is for the Nicholls runner on the basis that More Of That has had issues in the past. He and THE YOUNG MASTER (20-1) look the pick of the home contingent.
The Young Master has been laid out for this and ran a really encouraging race at the Festival recently. He couldn’t have a better pilot aboard and loves these conditions.
It would be no surprise to see another very big price winner and of the long shots we like SHANTOU FLYER (66-1) on ground that could see him improve again.
Measureofmydreams (50-1), Regal Encore (66-1) and Thunder And Roses (33-1) are other big outsiders to consider.
Ladbrokes are offering FIVE PLACES for each way bets on the Grand National.
Grand National 2017 Tips
|1st – UCELLO CONTI|
|2nd – PLEASANT COMPANY|
|3rd – SAPHIR DU RHEU|
|4th – THE YOUNG MASTER|
|5th – SHANTOU FLYER|