Grand National Weights – Ten To Follow + TWO Antepost Selections
Eyecatchers After the Grand National Weights Announcement
The 2022 Grand National weights were revealed earlier this afternoon. Racing Tips have picked out ten of the most eyecatching runners, alongside their allotted weights and ratings, from within the 104 entries.
Former Winners – Minella Times (11st 4lb, 161) & Tiger Roll (11st 4lb, 161)
The first port of call has to be the two previous winners in the field.
We will start with last year’s hero MINELLA TIMES who is up a whopping 15lb for his success. He has not completed either of his next two starts and that is a concern given that hefty increase. Nevertheless, he took to the course so well that he cannot be totally discounted and there are still four possible runners who would be carrying more weight than him.
Many eyes would have been drawn to where TIGER ROLL was. He has been given the same rating and weight as Minella Times. That mark is 2lb higher off that which he won in 2019, but should either of the current allotted top weights run (those being Conflated & Galvin, both of whom are uncertain to go), he would carry 5lb less in terms of weight, which could be significant for the 12-year-old.
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Fate of the Favourites – Any Second Now (11st 2lb, 159) & Escaria Ten (10st 9lb, 152)
Last year’s third ANY SECOND NOW has been given 7lb extra compared to last year, in which he was very unlucky not to be even more prominent in the finish.
He was virtually brought down at the 12th in the 2021 renewal of the Grand National and a mark of 159 will remain one off which he can be competitive. Both his runs this season have been over hurdles with the aim surely to keep him as lively and ready for Aintree as possible.
ESCARIA TEN has been the big market mover since the weights were announced and has generally moved into a share of favouritism.
He was third in last year’s National Hunt Chase to Galvin and was not beaten far at all. However, since then they have taken very different paths to the extent in which they are now separated by 15lb in this handicap. Escaria ten might have been pulled up in the Irish National last season, but is very feasibly treated on his best form and looks a proper Aintree horse.
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British Battalion – Fiddlerontheroof (10st 2lb, 155) & Caribean Boy (10st 6lb, 149)
Two of the more intriguing runners from a British perspective both have marks off which they will definitely be in the field.
FIDDLERONTHEROOF thoroughly enjoyed himself on his handicap debut, running a stormer to be second to the mercurial Cloudy Glen in the Ladbrokes Trophy. Had that rival had one of his regular off days then Fiddlerontheroof may have won that race very comfortably and so a 5lb rise for a horse who could fall in love with the Grand National challenge is not a harsh one.
Nicky Henderson spoke bullishly about CARIBEAN BOY’s chances recently and seems confident of ending his Grand National hoodoo. He is still available at lofty odds, but regained the winning thread at Kempton last month. He was rated 154 at his best and so a mark of 159 could underestimate him if the ground comes up on the softer side.
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Guaranteed A Run – Mount Ida (10st 13lb, 156) & Coko Beach (10st 7lb, 150)
This pair are well within the top 40 and so are guaranteed a run if they take up this option.
MOUNT IDA was talked of as a future Aintree horse last season and the mare has won twice this season against her own sex already. That possibly has not helped her mark, which is officially a stone higher than when winning the KimMuir at the 2021 Cheltenham Festival, but she stayed on in excellent style that day having been off the bridle early. She is as short as 20/1 in some places for the Gold Cup which suggests the talent many believe she has.
Further down is the grey COKO BEACH, who has run very solid races in many an Irish staying handicap. He won the 2021 Thyestes Chase, but remained at home for the Irish Grand National, finishing seventh. He has been thereabouts in similar races again and a mark of 150 is only 4lb higher than his Irish rating, which seems generous for a horse who is clearly seen as a stayer.
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Outside the 40 – Freewheelin Dylan (10st 4lb, 147) & Mighty Thunder (10st 4lb, 147)
Though these two are outside the top 40 in the weights, it is hard to envisage them missing out should connections opt for Aintree.
FREEWHEELIN DYLAN won the Irish Grand National at 150/1 in 2021, the biggest-priced winner in that race’s history. He has been given a 10lb higher mark by the British handicapper, but he also ran a cracking race at Punchestown off a mark of 145 after his Irish National win and may be underestimated in the market.
MIGHTY THUNDER is an even grander stayer. He proved that to be his speciality by winning both the Edinburgh and Scottish Grand Nationals in 2021, both over further than four miles, as well as finishing second in the Midlands National at Uttoxeter, the longest race in the British calendar apart from the Grand National. His mark has fallen after pulling up on both starts this season, but he needs an extreme test which this is.
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Recommended Bets – Coko Beach & Freewheelin Dylan
At this early stage, though both could opt for other targets, both COKO BEACH and FREEWHEELIN DYLAN look substantially overpriced given their profiles. Many a previous National hope has run in or won the Thyestes Chase as Coko Beach did in 2021, including Hedgehunter and Numbersixvalverde, with his mark of 150 looking very fair on this side of the Irish Sea. Freewheelin Dylan may be 10lb higher than for his unlikely Irish National heroics of last season, but he has shown in subsequent runs that that was not a total fluke and he is a truly ridiculous price if turning up in similar form.