The 2019 Cheltenham Festival may be over but that doesn’t mean the fun of National Hunt racing is. With the Aintree Grand National only days away, the betting market is constantly changing. And as we draw closer to the event, the odds will keep changing, almost up until the minute that the race starts.
Savvy backers will already be familiar with a lot of the odds and will have seen them go up or down over the last few days. More bookmakers are no offering Non Runner No Bet so that accounts for a few that have shortened. The likes of Jury Duty have dropped from a general 40/1 to 25/1 so if you get any Grand National bonus offers, you would do well to snap them up and use them to back some of the better value runners.
Interestingly there are a few potential runners that are running on very high odds. The Henry De Bromhead trained Valseur Lido is 100/1 with some bookies. Which is quite something given that he ran in the race last year and finished in 8th place. It is quite conceivable, given that he has stamina and can get around the course, that he could go a few places better this year.
That would definitely be great for anybody who decides to back him each-way. However, he is also entered into the Irish Grand National and connections have not yet made a decision about which race he will run in. So odds of 100/1 are great, but only if he actually goes to Aintree.
Mala Beach is another lively outsider on odds between 50/1 and 66/1, depending on the bookmaker. But, and it is a significant ‘but’, only if there’s rain at Aintree and the ground is looking a bit on the soft side. He likes to plod around and can definitely give the best of them a run for their money but only when the going is soft or heavy.
Yala Enki from Grand National winning trainer Venetia Williams, is another potential runner that could make it into the places. Some bookmakers have dropped his odds to 33/1 but if you look around you can still get him at 50/1 and he’s worth a small punt.
In the last two years, he has run 14 times and only twice at a weight lower than the 10-12 he has been handed by the BHA Handicapper. That means he is in a much better position than normal. In that time he has notched up a few decent wins but most significant was his win at Haydock last February. Run over 3m 4f, on heavy ground, he beat second-place Blaklion by a huge 54L.
He was also third in the Coral Welsh National at Chepstow in December and ran a very worthy race in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, finishing in 7th place. Anibale Fly was second in that race and his odds are as short as 10/1 so for a horse on a par with that, 50/1 is a steal.
On slightly lower odds is Rock The Kasbah. The Philip Hobbs trained runner is a general 20/1 with most bookies but that still represents good value. It has already been confirmed that jockey Richard Johnson will be on board and any racing fan will be happy to see him win the Grand National for the first time. A legendary jockey who largely remained in the shadow of AP McCoy until he retired, he has been Champion Jockey for three years and looks set to retain that title in 2019.
But despite all of that success he has never won the Grand National. He has ridden in it 20 times up to now and has the dubious honour of holding the record for most rides without a win in the event. He has been second twice but can he finally bag the most elusive win of his career in 2019? Fingers crossed.