We all know that Grey runners don’t have the greatest record when it comes to winning the Grand National. So much so that only three Grey runners have won the great race four times.
The first was called The Lamb and you have to go a long way back in history for that. He was victorious twice, in 1868 and 1871. It was then nearly one hundred years before the next Grey crossed the finishing line first. That was Nicolaus Silver in 1961.
In more recent times, we all remember Neptune Collonges doing the business for trainer Paul Nicholls in 2012. But who are the grey’s entered into the 2019 Grand National and could one of them actually win it?
There are six greys’ still on the list as Bristol De Mai has been withdrawn. However, only two have definitely secured their spot in the starting 40. They are Lake View Lad and Ramses De Teillee. Vintage Clouds is almost there and needs just five to get withdrawn to get in.
Baie Des Iles, Katie Walsh’s ride last year, is further down the list at number 55, so will be playing the waiting game. Unfortunately, Ziga Boy (72) and Scoir Mear (81) are really unlikely to make the cut.
Lake View Lad – No.15 – 14/1
A really terrific chaser from trainer Nick Alexander. He is also owned by Trevor Hemmings who has previously won the Grand National on three separate occasions. This is Lake View Lad’s first trip to the Grand National. In fact, it will be his first run at Aintree as he tends to favour courses such as Newcastle and Ayr.
Very proud of Lake View Lad yesterday, a brave 3rd off top weight in an ultra competitive 24 runner handicap @CheltenhamRaces – home 1am, ate up, sound and bright this morning- a tough and brave horse pic.twitter.com/wlsfcPGPwk
— Nick Alexander (@kinneston) March 13, 2019
There is a lot to like about Lake View Lad. He has never unseated his jockey or pulled-up. And other than a couple of falls very early on in his career, he has been consistent in his jumping for more than three years.
He ran a blinder at Cheltenham in the Ultima Chase to finish third behind Beware The Bear and Vintage Clouds and statistically ticks a lot of boxes. However, before you rush out and put the house on him, there are two small downsides.
He doesn’t have a huge amount of experience over the longer distances so his stamina for a race like the Grand National has never really been tested. And, he does perform much better when the ground is softer – almost heavy. So if there’s no rain, it might scupper his chances a small bit.
Ramses De Teillee – No.31 – 25/1
Has been really talked up by his trainer David Pipe. The improving chaser looks set to definitely run in the 2019 Grand National and is looking like a serious contender. He goes into the race with back-to-back second-place finishes but in really long distance races.
He was second in the Welsh National in December (3m5f) and then second in the Grand National Trial at Haydock in February (3m4f). So his stamina is unquestionable.
He has never fallen, unseated his jockey or pulled-up so his record is impeccable. And he has won or placed seven times from 10 chase starts. So what’s the problem?
The problem is that he is only 7 years old. No seven year old has won the Grand National since Bogskar in 1940. And no seven-year-old grey has ever won it. Though when The Lamb won it in 1868 he was six – but that was over 140 years ago so that doesn’t really count!
But at some point, all statistics go out the window. This year it might be Ramses De Teillee that tears up the rule book.
Vintage Clouds – No.45 – 12/1
While he has quite secured his spot yet, there is nothing to suggest that Vintage Clouds won’t make it into the 2019 Grand National with more declarations still to come. Another runner owned by Trevor Hemmings, Vintage Clouds is trained by Grand National winning trainer Sue Smith. So there’s plenty of pedigree with this horse.
He’s a real favourite with a lot of punters which is reflected in his short odds. And that was only spurred on with his second place finish in the Ultima Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. In reality, had that race been a touch longer, he would have won it. His ability to kick into gear is incredible and he never looked like he was fading which bodes well for a race as long as the National.
He was also third in the Scottish National last season and notched up a win at Haydock in November. But more than all that, other than when he pulled up at Chepstow in December, he hasn’t finished out of the top 4 since April 2017. That’s across different courses, different going, different distances. He is always there or thereabouts. And 12/1 is very good value for a horse of this quality.
If the other greys make the cut, I will keep you updated!