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Early contenders for the Grand National

The 2020 Grand National takes place on April 4, and it could well be a historic one. Only Red Rum has won this great race three times but not even he could do it three times in a row.

Tiger Roll is the current favourite as he attempts to achieve the treble this year but is just one of several contenders who could be successful at Aintree in a few months.

Let’s look at the most fancied runners and their latest odds. With the prices bound to change between now and the off, it might just be possible to get some great odds now.

 

This Tiger is on a Roll

Tiger Roll isn’t just trying to win the Grand National for the third year in a row. A win this April will see him winning the race in two different decades. Trained by Gordon Elliott, Tiger Roll won the 2019 Grand National by two-and three-quarter lengths, despite carrying six pounds more than when victorious in the previous year.

Tiger Roll hasn’t been seen on a racecourse since his 2019 victory. Last year, he had two races in February and March before heading for Aintree. Whether that’ll be the case this season isn’t known at present. Tiger Roll is certain to be carrying more weight this year. He’ll be hoping for some rain, having won this race on heavy and good to soft ground but did get a couple of wins on good ground four years ago. The favourite is ten years old now, and 13% of Grand National winners have been that age. Between 2012 and 2014, the winner was 11-years old, so there’s no reason why Tiger Roll shouldn’t put up a bold bid in April.

The bookies clearly think Tiger Roll is capable of the historic win. He is favourite in the ante-post betting at sites like SportNation with odds of 11/2, well ahead of the three joint second favourites, all at 18/1 - Walk in the Mill, Native River and Burrows Saint. You can visit their horse racing betting page for the complete list.

Search for a Saint

Burrows Saint is a fancy after winning the Irish Grand National last year. Trained by Willie Mullins, he’ll be bidding to become the first seven-year-old to win this race since Bogskar in 1940.

Winner of three races last year, Burrows Saint has already raced twice this season. His most recent appearance was when winning a hurdles race at Punchestown on New Year’s Eve. There should be more improvement to come, but he’s untested over the Aintree fences and the distance. An interesting contender and if he doesn’t win this year, then a win sometime in the future is distinctly possible.

Aintree specialist

Another ten-year-old and one that loves Aintree. Experience over this course is so important and Walk in the Mill has won at Aintree twice already. That includes his most recent outing when winning the Grade 3 Becher Handicap Chase for the second year in a row. Trained by Robert Walford, he finished fourth in last year’s Grand National, 16 lengths behind Tiger Roll and receiving a stone in weight. Soft ground would be an advantage and at 18/1 with SportNation is a good each-way bet, and those odds could well shorten.

Native River chasing a double

Native River has won nine of his 17 races over fences. 2018 saw him win the Cheltenham Gold Cup, but he won none of his next three races. Then Native River headed to Aintree last month and won the Grade 2 Mildmay Chase by 33 lengths. He was helped by Might Bite falling at the fourth and only had two opponents left to beat but a win is a win. That was his first race since finishing fourth in the 2019 Cheltenham Gold Cup.

He’s only had two races at Aintree, the other being another win in the Mildmay Chase four years ago. Still a class horse at the age of ten and used to carrying 11 stone, this Colin Tizzard contender is also 18/1 and could complete the Gold Cup/Grand National double, especially if there’s soft ground.

Magic of Light aims to go one better

At 25/1, last year’s runner-up is worth giving a chance to win this time around. Magic of Light is trained by Mrs John Harrington and showed his good health when winning in Class 1 at Newbury last month. He finished two and three-quarters lengths behind Tiger Roll last year. But for a mistake at the last, it could have been a lot closer, so take that 25/1 now before it disappears.

Another great race looks on the cards in April. Will history be made, or a new star created? Only time and a punishing four-mile and two and a quarter furlong race will tell.