Grand National Tips & Preview: 50/1 Moon to star

Nicky HendersonThe Grand National is the toughest test ever devised for horse and rider (4.15pm, Aintree, Saturday).  A maximum field of 40 runners makes it a tough test for punters too, but we have found a likely 50/1 Grand National tip that represents a bit of each-way betting value. 

Among those at the head of the market, last year’s third Teaforthree (10/1) is 2lb lower in the weights this time around and appears to have an obvious chance after running creditably in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Rebecca Curtis’ 10-year-old understandably weakened from two out at Cheltenham, but was still upsides with four to jump and eventually finished nine lengths in front of Triolo D’Alene (20/1), who reopposes on 8lb worse terms but can’t be ruled out.

He’s also well handicapped with Monbeg Dude (12/1) on their running in last year’s Welsh National so, granted luck in running, he looks a live contender again this year.

Long Run (14/1), trained by Nicky Henderson (pictured), must have a chance and his amateur rider Sam Waley-Cohen has an amazing record over these unique fences having won around the Aintree National course four times in the past. That includes on Thursday when he landed the Foxhunters’ Chase in some style. The jockey’s confidence will be high but the question mark is whether Long Run’s jumping is up to this challenge, despite the fact the course is easier to navigate than ever before. It could go one of two ways for Long Run and this different experience might just bring out his best.

The Package (25/1) hasn’t won for over two years, but is capable of smart form on his day, as he demonstrated when fourth in an above-average Hennessy Gold Cup two seasons ago. His latest third, beaten 8¾ lengths, behind Holywell at the Cheltenham Festival was a promising return to action and, although he fell early on the second circuit on his only previous attempt in the National, he appeals as the enigmatic sort that might just be sparked into life by the unique challenges of Aintree.

Mr Moonshine (50/1) finished third in the Becher Chase over the National fences in December and has continued in excellent form since. His rallying second in the Premier Chase, over 2 miles 7½ furlongs, at Kelso last month suggested that he’d be suited by a return to further and, although he has yet to win beyond 3 miles 2 furlongs, he could be an ideal National type.

Admittedly, he was pulled up four out last year, but arrives at Aintree in the form of his life this time around and can prove that running all wrong. Trainer Sue Smith certainly knows what’s required to win the National, having saddled Auroras Encore to win at 66/1 last year.

Double Seven hails from Ireland and is the mount of Tony McCoy. That fact alone has seen a wholesale collapse in his odds however McCoy’s record at picking between horses has been diabolical recently. He got it badly wrong at Cheltenham and missed two huge winners. So his choice could be a pointer to the rejected Colbert Station (33/1), but that one does have a fair few letters rather than numbers against his name suggesting his jumping can not be relied upon. Double Seven looks well handicapped but if you have missed the price then I am happy to pass at a short-looking 14/1 in a very competitive renewal. There has to be a question mark about him getting the marathon trip too.

Although only third of four reserves at the time of writing, Night In Milan (40/1) is definitely worth a mention. The Milan gelding had Monbeg Dude (only 1lb better off) 26 lengths behind in fifth when winning the valuable Grimthorpe Chase, over 3 miles 2 furlongs, at Doncaster last month and, although he has his stamina to prove, ran well in the North Yorkshire Grand National, over 3 miles 6 furlongs, last season. If he gets into the race, his sound jumping could make him a potent threat off the minimum weight.

Obviously, much depends on luck in running but, from our shortlist of Grand National betting tips we like the look of MR MOONSHINE, who can be backed each-way, a quarter the odds the first five, at 50/1 with Ladbrokes or Boylesports. He should go well from the front with underfoot conditions to suit and can land a notable Aintree double for last year’s winning jockey Ryan Mania.

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