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2019 Grand National tips - Five ante-post bets in the world’s most famous handicap

Missed Approach (left) holds off Mall Dini to win the 2018 Kim Muir at Cheltenham.

Five horses to back in the ante-post betting for the Grand National, which takes place at Aintree on Saturday 6th April.

A ripple of excitement and anticipation reverberated around the National Hunt racing world last week, as the initial entries for this year’s Grand National were revealed. Last year’s champion, Tiger Roll heads the list of over 120 entries, with the names of another former champion, One For Arthur, Betfair Chase king, Bristol De Mai and Welsh Grand National hero, Elegant Escape standing out on the long list of entries.

It’s never too early to start planning your bets for the Grand National and the market for Aintree’s main event is already starting to hot up. Here are five entrants for punters to follow over the coming two months, or maybe even back now in the ante-post betting!

2019 Grand National Ante-Post Tips


An obvious place to start, seeing as Sue Smith’s chaser sits so prominently in the betting. Vintage Clouds missed out on entering last year’s Grand National by a single place, but this year, the Trevor Hemmings-owned chaser is bound to take his place in the field and looks primed for a big run at Aintree.

Consistency is a wonderful quality for any staying chaser to possess and Vintage Clouds, although only winning twice over fences, has registered a hatful of impressive results. Smith’s nine-year-old has placed in the Ultima at Cheltenham, as well as the Welsh and Scottish Nationals and the Grand National Trial at Haydock. 

Vintage Clouds powered to victory on his only previous visit to Aintree and, after victory on his reappearance helped him reach a mark of 144, will be dangerously well-handicapped when he returns to Merseyside in the spring.


As the Cheltenham faithful got swept away with the romanticism of Coneygree’s third-place finish in the BetVictor Handicap Chase, Rock The Kasbah’s victory at Cheltenham in November was somewhat overshadowed. Yet, that performance was undoubtedly a career-best effort from Philip Hobbs’ chaser and he ticks plenty of boxes when searching for a Grand National winner.

A four-time winner over fences, Rock The Kasbah’s jumping has steadily improved over the past couple of seasons. The only time the nine-year-old has failed to complete a race was in that attritional renewal of the Peter Marsh last year, where only five of the 13 runners made it past the post. 

Rock The Kasbah has proven his staying ability on several occasions and has registered victories on both good and soft ground. Philip Hobbs’ charge looks a solid ante-post option.

Richard Johnson riding Rock The Kasbah clear to win The BetVictor.com Handicap Chase at Cheltenham/



Winners of the Kim Muir have often performed well in the Grand National. Ballabriggs triumphed at Aintree the year after winning at Cheltenham, with Sunnyhill Boy and Cause Of Causes coming away from the National second best just weeks after winning the Kim Muir. Last year, Warren Greatrex was jumping for joy as Missed Approach saw off two dangerous Irish raiders in the Kim Muir and he could be an excellent bet in this year’s National.

Greatrex decided to give his chaser a sighter of the Grand National fences in the Becher back in December. A poorly-executed standing start saw Missed Approach left behind when the starter dropped his flag, but the nine-year-old dragged himself all the way to the front with a series of fine leaps, before fading in the final half-mile and eventually finishing sixth.

Missed Approach has twice finished second in four-mile races, most notably behind Tiger Roll in the 2017 National Hunt Chase. Greatrex will want to get another run into his legs before Aintree, but Missed Approach sure to enter the National at the peak of his fitness and the experience he gathered in the Becher will stand him in excellent stead. 


Jonjo O’Neill and JP McManus teamed up for a winner in the Grand National back in 2012, as AP McCoy guided Don’t Push It to victory. Auvergnat is the highest placed entrant in the betting baring those famous green and yellow silks, but Minella Rocco has proven himself to be a top-quality operator on his day and looks overpriced sitting on 50/1.

It’s quite surprising to think this classy chaser has only won once since his hurdling days, with that solitary victory over fences coming in the 2016 National Hunt Challenge Cup, where he beat Native River into second. There have been plenty of near-misses since then, including that runner-up finish in the Gold Cup, where Minella Rocco was gaining on Sizing John with every stride before the winning post came a furlong too soon.

Minella Rocco looked extremely rusty on his first start of the season in the Cotswold Chase, but he boasts a terrible reappearance record and will only get better for the run. O’Neill could take in the Gold Cup before heading to the Grand National and it would take a brave punter to write Minella Rocco off, in either of those prestigious races.

Yala Enki (left) tries valiantly to catch Elegant Escape (centre) in this season's Welsh Grand National.



Venetia Williams hit the headlines in 2009, as she saddled 100/1 shot Mon Mome before his miraculous triumph in the Grand National. While Yala Enki may be sitting on a similarly unappealing price, Williams' nine-year-old has been in excellent form this season and has proven his quality in plenty of grueling handicaps.

Yala Enki has twice entered three-and-a-half mile chases, scoring a 50-length victory in last year’s Grand National Trial, before carrying 11-11 to third in the Welsh Grand National in December. Williams’ chaser finished just five lengths behind Elegant Escape, when giving three pounds to the current National favourite, so it’s perfectly reasonable to suggest the gap between the two will be much closer at Aintree, with the swing in the weights now firmly in Yala Enki’s favour.

Williams’ horses have looked in superb nick this season and Charlie Deutsch has been riding at the top of his game since returning from that short stint in prison. He’s highly likely to take the ride on Yala Enki at Aintree and it wouldn’t be a shock to see this hardy stayer give an excellent account of himself.


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2019 Grand National tips - Five ante-post bets in the world’s most famous handicap

Five horses to back in the ante-post betting for the Grand National, which takes place at Aintree on Saturday 6th April.

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