It is difficult enough finding the winner of the Grand National, but here at Racing Tips, we are not settling for simply picking this year’s champion. Here is our 1-2-3-4, in order of preference, for the 2022 Grand National.
1. Any Second Now
Recent history tells us that unless you’re Tiger Roll, it is difficult to win this with past experience in the race.
The Grand National is not the challenge it used to be which is why so many debutants now thrive. However, there is distinct unfinished business with ANY SECOND NOW, who was very unlucky in the race a year ago and is arguably in even better form to make amends.
He is 7lb higher in the handicap 12 months on, but had he won the race, as well he might but for suffering significant interference at the 12th fence. A mistake previously at the 1oth aside, he jumped smoothly and recovered a lot of ground after being hampered.
That effort may have told in the very closing stages, but a smoother passage will surely see him in with a great chance again. His win in the Bobbyjo Chase last time is outstanding in the context of this race.
2. Longhouse Poet
Martin Brassil claimed the race in 2006, but has admitted that LONGHOUSE POET is an infinitely classier horse than Numbersixvalverde was.
Longhouse Poet has only made six chase starts, but two of those have been winning ones. One of those came as a novice last term, where he beat Run Wild Fred, relishing in the extended 3m1f at Punchestown on heavy ground. Of his three starts this term, it is no surprise that his best effort was over that same trip, with both starts at shorter than 3m resulting in defeats.
He clearly possesses a lot of stamina, but is still relatively unexposed at this stage of his career. There is definitely untapped potential there, not least over marathon trips and he has rarely made a blunder over his fences to date.
His mark may prove a bit of a challenge and that is enough to keep him from the top spot, but he should be ground versatile, having won on good in a bumper and run well on yielding over hurdles.
3. Freewheelin Dylan
Last year’s near-impossible Irish National winner has alarming recent letters on his form card, but is overlooked in the current market.
FREEWHEELIN DYLAN had raced regularly over 3m1f before taking that Fairyhouse contest, usually saving his best for the smaller venue of Kilbeggan. However, he clearly took to the Irish National just as successfully, dominating from the front and holding off Run Wild Fred for a remarkable success.
He is 10lb higher than that day, but raced off only 2lb lower in Ireland at Punchestown just a month after his big success and nearly backed it up. He was fourth over 3m7f, only losing out on second late on and it suggests that he has the stamina and mettle for this more extreme test.
You can excuse his unseat over the cross country course, as well as having pulled up over hurdles last time, and if he gets into a rhythm on the front end, he may well give this a really good go.
4. Eclair Surf
The eight-year-old has been a complete revelation over extreme trips the last twice and is 4lb on terms with the handicapper to boot.
After a slow start to the season in which he fell behind Snow Leopardess at Bangor and then finished a distant third at Chepstow, Tom Bellamy gave him an aggressive front-running ride in the Classic Chase at Warwick. He ultimately blitzed the oppositions, staying very well to win by 13 lengths in a race won by One For Arthur before he took the National in 2017.
There was an enormous front-runner bias that day, which possibly exaggerated his success, but he backed it up with an excellent second in the Eider Chase over 4m1½f at Newcastle. He was less than two lengths behind Win My Wings that day, the mare who recently won the Scottish National in a canter.
That was another day in which every winner either chased the leaders or led themselves, so his run style was favoured. Nevertheless, the bare form is too strong for him to be ignored and he should go close.