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Grand National 2018 Hopeful Plans Put On Ice

08 March 2018

Grand National 2018 Hopeful Plans Put On Ice

Last week’s big freeze has disrupted preparations for a number of Randox Health Grand National hopefuls’ as jumps meetings up and down the country came to a standstill.

The first weekend in March typically sees several Grand National entries taking their final stepping stones to Aintree but connections are being forced to rearrange plans or consider going to Merseyside without the benefit of a recent racecourse outing.

Key Grand National prep races lost to freeze

Doncaster, Kelso and Newbury were all set to host important prep races en route to Aintree but all fell victim to the Beast of the East, meaning new arrangements will have to be made. Doncaster’s At The Races Grimthorpe Handicap Chase was used by 2016 Grand National runner up Last Sumarai and like the cancellation of the Listed Premier Chase at Kelso and Greatwood Gold Cup Handicap Chase at Newbury, left an number of trainers looking for alternative options.

It’s a widely known horse racing tip that Grand National winners usually have their final run within 56 days of the race. Although, One For Arthur became the first horse in 25 years to buck the trend when winning last year, it’s generally considered important to get a prep run within two months of the National.

One option could be to consider a run on the all-weather or, with four weeks between Cheltenham and the Aintree Grand National meeting, a run at the Festival is an option for some handlers.  Brian Ellison has already mapped out a Cheltenham Gold Cup bid for Defintly Red and potentially letting the 9 year-old take another chance in the Grand National.

Festival option to impact on Grand National betting

Definitly Red at 20/1 is one of the market leaders in the 2018 Grand National betting and like those re-routed to Cheltenham, his performance there could have a big impact on National odds.  Punters can decide to risk going into the Grand National ante-post market early or waiting to see how Aintree entries fare at the Festival.

Either way, shopping around for the best odds is a must as well as checking out this Grand National free bet guide. Bookies can claim free bets offered by many Bookmakers here. Blaklion, likened to the great Red Rum by trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies, top priced at 14/1 and Willie Mullins’ Total Recall at 12/1 vie for favourtism is this year’s big race. Cause Of Causes (20/1), Gold Present (25/1) and the Last Sumurai (20/1) are also prominent in the market.  Punters can take advantage of bookmaker offers to get free bets on the Grand National and improve the chances of winning some cash.

Kelso may reschedule Premier Chase

Stuart Coltherd’s Captain Redbeard and Sandie Thomson-trained Seeyouatmidnight had both been aimed at Keslo’s Premier Chase, used successfully by previous winners Ballabriggs and Auroras Encore. Thomson is desperate to give Seeyouatmidnight an outing as the 10 year-old has not been seen on racecourse for over 11 months. The Berwick-based handler is hoping the border track can reschedule the fixture or he may have to consider travelling to Cheltenham.

He said: “I need to get a run into him so hopefully the meeting is rescheduled, because he has to run in a chase before Monday, April 9 to qualify for the Grand National.

“I’d be very hopeful that Kelso would be able to rearrange for the following Sunday, which they did two years ago.

“Obviously I’m biased because I’m desperate to get a run into Midnight but, from a northern perspective, we cannot afford these fixtures.”

Seeyouatmidnight is entered for the G3 Ultima Handicap Chase on March 13 where the gelding gets in off 11st 3lb and is most likely to be the next best option for Thomson.

He added: “We obviously have to consider Cheltenham and he’ll be left in at the five-day stage. It wouldn’t be the ideal preparation taking him all the way there but the only other option is the veterans’ chase at Carlisle the next weekend.”