The jumps season may have only been going for a few months, but already the attention will begin to switch the showpiece event on the calendar. The Grand National on the first Saturday of April is one of the most-watched sporting events of the year and can be an incredibly lucrative betting opportunity for punters.
The race has seen some of the most iconic moments in racing, and it takes a high-quality horse and skilled jockey to make it round the four-mile track and 30 jumps. The unpredictability makes it a day where even people that don’t usually bet will lay down their wager. But, which runners will be the ones to keep an eye on this year?
There isn’t anywhere else to start except for the Gordon Elliot-trained superstar. The little horse with a heart of a tiger is a back-to-back winner of this race and achieved the unprecedented success of matching that record set by Red Rum last year. He was set off as the shortest price favourite for nearly a century, and it delivered big time. Davy Russell was on board the ten-year-old and picked his moment to pounce. He eventually took the lead three from the finish before roaring clear to win by two and three-quarter lengths from Magic Of Light.
Another success in this race would be the stuff of legend. Only Red Rum has managed to win the Grand National on three occasions, but Tiger Roll’s success, if he could do it, would surpass that, as he would have done it in consecutive Nationals. He is already priced at single digits, and that will only shorten after success at its likely destination of the Cross Country at Cheltenham in March.
The Welsh, Midlands and Scottish Nationals can give an insight into the horses that are looking like a good chance for the big event at Aintree, and Potters Corner showcased its style wonderfully at Chepstow in December. He was backed in at 8/1 for the Welsh National, and the Christian Williams trained horse never looked in danger of losing once it hit the front.
Potters Corner eventually won by a length and three quarters from Truckers Lodge, and in doing so made history. By winning he became the first Welsh trained horse to win their home national since 1965. His reappearance will be crucial now, as Williams will likely try and keep him as fresh as possible for the Grand National, but he will have a chance.
There has never been a winning woman jockey in the Grand National, but 2020 could be the year that the record is finally broken. Bryony Frost’s ride isn’t yet known, but she will have an incredible chance in following in her dad’s footsteps as he won the National back in 1989. However, another leading chance for the women is Rachel Blackmore, who will likely be on board Burrows Saint.
The seven-year-old is currently the second favourite for the Grand National, and the Willie Mullins trained horse showcased all its quality on New Year’s Eve at Punchestown. Borrows Saint raced clear of Saglawy to win by three and a quarter lengths in the Bet With Tote Hurdle. It will have some way to go to persuade punters that it is ready for the National fences, but it definitely has the pedigree to ensure punters keep an eye out for him.