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Top Tippers Guide To The 2022 Grand National

Steeplechase

Karl Hedley entered the Racing Post ‘Search for A Tipster’ competition in 2006 and beat 6000 others to win the title of Top Tipper. Below he gives us his thoughts on this year’s Grand National runners.

The Grand National is our annual horse race that stops the nation. It’s set apart from all other races because of the unique nature of the fences that the forty warriors and their brave jockeys encounter.

Becher’s Brook, Foinavon, The Canal Turn, Valentine’s Brook, and The Chair are just some of the well-known fences that require the focus and attention of horse and jockey for the best part of four-and-a-quarter miles.

The race has seen a lot of changes throughout its history. In previous years you would look for course specialists and stamina-laden runners who would ultimately see out the trip.

Nowadays though, younger and younger types are lining up to contest the world’s greatest steeplechase and may even improve for their experience of tackling the challenge.

What To Look For In A Runner

No seven-year-old has won since Bogskar landed the prize in 1940 and since 2004, every winner has been aged between eight and eleven years of age.

You certainly want a horse that can jump and is generally consistent. Any runner with more than three falls is usually one to avoid.

There are other races that tend to give a good guide to this contest and they include the; Scottish Grand National, Becher Chase, Premier Kelso Chase, Ladbrokes Trophy, Betfred Classic, Irish Grand National and the Cheltenham Cross Country Chase.

Five of the last ten winners of the Grand National had used Cheltenham as a stepping stone to glory. Eight of the last eleven winners had prior experience around Aintree to call upon.

The last three winners have all won last time out. Ideally, you want a horse that has built experience over the larger obstacles with seven of the last twelve winners having run between ten and fourteen times over fences.

Like last year the Irish dominated so many of the races at Cheltenham. The scores will be a bit closer at this meeting, but there is so much strength in depth to the Irish form that I fully expect the Irish to continue their domination.

Ireland have won four of the last five renewals of the race and it wouldn’t be the most earth-shattering news were if they were to do so once again.

Previous Winners of the Grand National

Below are selected runners who hold entries for the Grand National 2022. Karl Hedley will provide some recent form notes to help point you in the right direction of identifying the winner.

MINELLA TIMES

HENRY DE BROMHEAD – RATED 161 – FORM 221-FP

Only lightly raced since winning this race by six-and-a-half lengths in 2021.

He was an unconsidered 66/1 shot in the John Durkan at Punchestown back in December and was then pulled up in a good handicap at Leopardstown that was eventually won by Birchdale.

His only saving grace could be that a return to this track revitalises him. He is carrying a stone-and-a-half more this year and that could cost him his winning chance.

Probably best to avoid until showing a revival in fortunes.

DELTA WORK

GORDON ELLIOTT – RATED 160 – FORM 3-4661

He was very impressive against lesser types in the Cross Country Chase at Cheltenham and broke a million hearts when denying Tiger Roll, his stablemate, a winning swansong.

Tiger Roll used that same race as a prep for this prior to his wins and given that he hardly broke a sweat; this former Grade 1 winner has to command serious respect here as he is back to form.

Many Clouds carried this weight to victory back in 2015 so not an impossible task.

He has no previous experience over these fences but that could work to his advantage. A leading contender.

ANY SECOND NOW

TED WALSH – RATED 159 – FORM 13-961

Any Second Now has been the plunge horse for this race in recent weeks having been gambled from 12s into 8/1.

Ted Walsh’s ten-year-old has been placed in thirteen of his twenty chase starts including when third to Minella Times in this race last year.

Mark Walsh rides again and with the ground somewhat similar to last season, he has to be shortlist material for this.

He certainly knows how to win races having won three of his last five starts and Ted Walsh won this race with Papillon back in 2000.

A Grade 2 winner in his own right, he usually runs his heart out and is likely to do so again.

RUN WILD FRED

GORDON ELLIOTT – RATED 158 – FORM 2-2122

Run Wild Fred did have an extremely tough race at Cheltenham in the Amateur Jockeys’ Novices’ Chase when beaten eight lengths by Stattler.

He has been relatively lightly campaigned this year and Davy Russell has been booked for the ride.

He seems to go on any ground which is always the sign of a good horse and he has not finished outside the first two places in any race since running at Punchestown in December 2020.

There have been market jitters over whether he will actually run, but if making the final cut, he ought to give an excellent account and can make the frame.

LOSTINTRANSLATION

COLIN TIZZARD – RATED 157 – FORM P-15P8

Lostintranslation made a winning return to action this season when beating the ill-fated Master Tommytucker at Ascot back in November.

He was subsequently beaten a long way in the King George at Kempton. He then pulled up behind Fakir D’Oudairies at Ascot in the Betfair Chase, before running fairly well in the Ultima at Cheltenham finishing eighth to Corach Rambler.

It is a huge ask for him as he seems to be struggling for any sort of form at the moment but he has the ability to finish the race, it just may be in his own time now.

BRAHMA BULL

WILLIE MULLINS – RATED 157 – FORM 2333PU

The way Brahma Bull jumps would give anyone bad nerves. He is without a win since June 2021 and would need a career best in order to land this prize despite being trained by Willie Mullins.

He made a horlicks at one of the fences in the Cross Country Chase at Cheltenham giving Brian Hayes absolutely no chance of staying on board.

Fortune needs to be on his side but it often abandons him and that looks sure to be the case here again today.

BURROWS SAINT

WILLIE MULLINS – RATED 156 – FORM 24-323

Was well fancied to win this last year and was sent off at odds of 9/1.

He ran a perfectly respectable race in fourth despite probably using up too much energy far too early in the race.

He made a challenge in the closing stages but ultimately weakened where it mattered most and was beaten twenty-seven lengths by Minella Times.

Is carting an extra half stone this year which will not be easy to do, but he is a former Irish Grand National winner so he has strength, guts and determination in abundance.

He looks to have a solid each way chance and it would be foolish to discount him.

MOUNT IDA

GORDON ELLIOTT – RATED 156 – FORM 13-117

Mount Ida has made the frame in six out of her eight chase starts but was ultimately disappointing when beaten twenty-eight lengths by Elimay in the Paddy Power Mares’ Chase at Cheltenham last month.

She made all of the right headlines when winning the Kim Muir the year before and has won in listed and Grade 3 company since.

She hails from a yard that does ever so well in this race that it would be a mistake to give up on her after just one bad run and she has a squeak with Denis O’Regan likely to ride.

LONGHOUSE POET

MARTIN BRASSIL – RATED 155 – FORM 31-717

Longhouse Poet comes into this race relatively fresh having missed the Cheltenham Festival. His form this season has been fairly in and out.

He has been beaten over thirty lengths in two of his last three races but sandwiched a win in the middle when winning a €50,000 handicap at Gowran Park back in January.

If the ground turns into a quagmire, he would certainly have a chance as all of his best runs have come with plenty of give underfoot.

Impossible to know what you are going to get from him but he usually stays on his feet and will either be brilliant or a blowout. Recent times suggest the latter is most likely.

FIDDLERONTHEROOF

COLIN TIZZARD – RATED 155 – FORM 23-122

Colin Tizzard has campaigned him sparingly this season and he looks to be one of the home runners with a serious chance.

Beaten only a little over a length at Ascot in February by Fortescue, the eight-year-old is a model of consistency.

He was placed in a Grade 1 at this meeting last year when third to Chantry House in the Mildmay Novices’ Chase.

Flat tracks are ideal for him so Aintree ought to suit him well once more and this looks to have been his intended target all year.

A serious horse with a good engine and has to be considered a contender.

TWO FOR GOLD

KIM BAILEY – RATED 154 – FORM 3U-112

Connections of Two For Gold are hoping that he certainly does better in this race this year than he did last year.

Despite being taken to post early, he never seemed to be travelling in the race and unseated David Bass just after the Canal Turn.

Since then there has been no looking back for him as won a decent handicap on his seasonal reappearance and then denied the game Dashel Drasher to win the Fleur Du Lys Chase at Lingfield.

Second only to Fakir D’Oudaries in the Betfair Chase at Ascot he again went down on his sword beaten a little over a length.

There is every chance he is getting better with age and anyone can have an off day. Foolish to write him off.

SANTINI

POLLY GUNDRY – RATED 153 – FORM 3P-428

Santini has not won any race since January 2020 when he won the Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham.

Since then it has all been downhill and even a change of yard didn’t yield any positivity.

He was last seen in the Gold Cup where he finished a well beaten eighth to A Plus Tard. He has finished second at this track before when beaten a length by Lake View Lad in the Many Clouds Chase so that offers a hint of hope.

He does take a while to get going but has never fallen in any race, so this four-and-a-quarter-miles could be right up his street.

It would be a shock if he did win but there have been bigger shocks.

SAMCRO

GORDON ELLIOTT – RATED 152 – FORM 602803

He had a prep for this when third at Down Royal on St Patrick’s Day but he is not the force that he always promised that he could be.

He has had far easier assignments than this and has failed to fire so hard to expect anything different here.

Is tumbling down the weights at a rate of knots, but even that is a stretch at this point. Look elsewhere.

ESCARIA TEN

GORDON ELLIOTT – RATED 152 – FORM 23P-82

Seems to be getting better with each run this year. He ran Any Second Now to a nose when last seen out at Fairyhouse in February.

Needs soft ground to be seen at his very best as all four of his previous wins have indicated.

Has stamina in abundance having been placed behind Galvin in the National Hunt Chase at Cheltenham last season.

Has been the subject of sustained support and has halved in price in the run up to the race.

The McNeill’s are avid supporters of the sport and they would love nothing more than to own the Grand National winner.

GOOD BOY BOBBY

NIGEL TWISTON-DAVIES – RATED 150 – FORM 31217

Made a recent comeback in February following a two-month break from the track.

He was hardly disgraced in the Grade 3 Coral Trophy at Kempton, but you would have liked to have seen him finish closer than thirty lengths behind Cap Du Nord.

He may well benefit for the run and he is a locally based runner. He just hasn’t had that much experience over the larger obstacles and that is somewhat off-putting.

Has a nice weight and if staying on his feet can play a small role.

COKO BEACH

GORDON ELLIOTT – RATED 150 – FORM 46P644

Finished a bitterly disappointing fourth of four to Any Second Now in the Bobbyjo Chase at Fairyhouse back in February.

He does have oodles of experience in these big handicaps, however he has shown more often than not that he likes to make things more difficult for himself and he has just sulked on most of his starts this year.

Having been beaten forty and sixty lengths in two of his races this year suggests that he is completely off the boil and best avoided.

DE RASHER COUNTER

EMMA LAVELLE – RATED 149 – FORM 4P/2-4

De Rasher Counter has made the frame in five out of his ten starts over fences.

He was clearly in need of the run back following almost eighteen months off the track where he finished fourth of five in the Denman Chase to Eldorado Allen.

He likes a flat track having picked up three of his four wins at tracks like Newbury and Fontwell, so Aintree should suit.

A return to handicaps will be in his favour, but he is very fragile though and any mistake could prove to be his undoing.

KILDISART

BEN PAULING – RATED 148 – FORM 2/37-4

Kildisart has not won a race of any kind since April 2019 where he won a handicap chase at this very meeting.

Since then he has been running in loftier company and was then off the track injured for well over a year.

He made a decent enough reappearance at Newbury last month and that should have left him pretty much spot on fitness wise for this.

He is on an attractive looking mark and if putting his best foot forward, he could go well for a long way.

DISCORAMA

PAUL NOLAN – RATED – 148 – FORM 257-52

He has had this race on his agenda since finishing seventh in the race last year, very much in his own time.

He has been lightly campaigned this year and displayed his well-being with a fine second at Fairyhouse back in February in a rated chase.

He has come in for some light support and with a little more experience on his side this time around he should go well.

Does have an extra five-pounds to carry this time, but no surprise if he were to go well.

TOP VILLE BEN

PHILIP KIRBY – RATED 148 – FORM P5F312

Top Ville Ben loves to get his toe in and his last two wins have come on soft or heavy ground.

He led for a while here in the Becher Chase back in December but fell heavily at the twelfth fence.

He has come out of that race in decent shape though and ran a good third behind Good Boy Bobby in the Rowland Meyrick at Wetherby a few weeks later and then won the Cazoo Hurdle at Lingfield next time out.

A return to handicap company should suit but whether the return to the hurly-burly of these fences will is another matter entirely.

ENJOY D’ALLEN

CIARAN MURPHY – RATED 148 – FORM 23-735

Has only had a handful of starts over fences and recorded two wins. He was a decent third in the Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse last year and has hinted at a return to form of late.

He seemed to find the hurdles coming at him a bit too quick last time, but prior to that he managed a good third behind School Boy Hours in a €100,000 Handicap Chase at Leopardstown in December.

A return to fences is certainly in his favour and he bids to give JP McManus back to back Grand National winners as an owner.

An interesting profile and considered.

ANIBALE FLY

TONY MARTIN – RATED 148 – FORM 39098

Anibale Fly has run well in this race previously finishing fourth, fifth and then pulling up last year.

Now a twelve-year-old it seems his best days are well and truly behind him.

Has been beaten twenty-seven and thirty-four lengths in two of his three races this season and needs a miracle to win here having had much easier opportunities in the past.

DINGO DOLLAR

SANDY THOMPSON – RATED 148 – FORM 12-435

Was well enough fancied for the Becher Chase in 2020 over these fences and ended up pulling up.

He has subsequently won a handicap chase at Newcastle and finished runner-up in the Scottish National in 2021.

Any further drying out of the ground is in his favour and is one of a few in this race who has proven he lasts home over four miles.

If he doesn’t remember this place, he may well have a small squeak and could sneak a minor place. However that is a big “if”.

FREEWHEELIN’ DYLAN

DERMOT MCLOUGHLIN – RATED 147 – FORM 1-46UP

Freewheelin Dylan made all in the Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse last year defying his odds of 150/1 to do so.

He was given an outing over hurdles at Fairyhouse back in January but it all went very wrong as he pulled up before three from home.

He has been very disappointing since that National win and others look to have stronger chances.

CLASS CONTI

WILLIE MULLINS – RATED 147 – FORM 40-P90

One of the most disappointing runners to have ever run in these colours.

His future looked bright when winning at Tramore three years ago but there has been nothing like a repeat since.

He managed to fill fifteenth spot in this race last season and that probably sums up just how good he is. Avoid.

NOBLE YEATS

EMMET MULLINS – RATED 147 – FORM 469P29

Noble Yeats is a novice chaser who has hinted at ability of over the larger fences.

He has endured a long hard season and asides from his seasonal reappearance there has been nothing much to shout about.

He changed ownership ahead of a run at Cheltenham where he finished twenty lengths behind Corach Rambler in the Ultima.

Needs to take a giant leap forward to be involved here.

MIGHTY THUNDER

LUCINDA RUSSELL – RATED 147 – FORM 21-4PP

Mighty Thunder seems to have regressed this season and for no apparent reason.

Last years’ Scottish National hero stays in excess of four miles and has proven that on multiple occasions.

His two starts since returning from a two-month break have offered no encouragement as he was pulled up on both occasions.

Lucinda Russell has given him another two-month break coming into this.

He would have a chance if he can overcome his obvious problems. On present form though, he just can’t be trusted.

CLOTH CAP

JONJO O’NEILL – RATED 147 – FORM P-46R3

Cloth Cap showed a bit more sparkle following a two-month break at Doncaster last time out.

The former LadbrokeS Trophy winner had looked a pale imitation of himself in several previous outings.

The handicapper has started to relent a little and he comes here on the same mark as his last run.

He was pulled up in this race last season when sent off as the outright favourite.

He seems to have a lot more on his plate this time around and whilst he could run a big race, the likelier chances are he may not.

SNOW LEOPARDESS

CHARLIE LONGSDON – RATED 146 – FORM 46-111

This ten-year-old mare has had the season of her life started off her season by winning a competitive handicap at Bangor.

She followed that with a hard fought victory in the Becher Chase and following a short break, she then asserted her superiority over six other mares in a listed race at Exeter winning by a dozen lengths.

She has captured the imagination of the racing public and there has been plenty of support for her in the lead up to this race.

This grey is a special talent and the more rain that falls, the more her chances increase.

She is well within herself, has winning course experience and looks the best of the home team. A serious contender.

AGUSTA GOLD

WILLIE MULLINS – RATED 146 – FORM 0-8PP2

Agusta Gold is without a win since January last year and was a well-supported favourite on her last start at Down Royal.

She fluffed his lines though and could muster only second place behind Roi Mage.

This kind of race looks completely beyond her and you couldn’t back her with any degree of confidence.

COMMODORE

VENETIA WILLIAMS – RATED 142 – FORM 2U9P-1

There is no denying that Venetia Williams has her yard in excellent shape and this ten-year-old grey showed he goes well fresh when coming back from a four month break to win a decent handicap chase at Cheltenham back in December.

He destroyed his rivals by at least fifteen lengths and if allowed a soft lead here, he could prove dangerous.

He just needs to establish a rhythm for himself and keep going.

Undoubtedly we have not seen the best of him and there could well be more to come.

DEISE ABA

PHILIP HOBBS – RATED 145 – FORM P-22P2

Deise Aba is one of the unluckiest horses in training at the moment.

The Philip Hobbs trained nine-year-old has been beaten a neck or less in three of his last four starts including at Sandown most recently.

He ran well at this track back in November when beaten a neck by Koshari over an extended three miles.

This trip is an unknown for him but you just get a feeling he has a big race in him somewhere.

Whether that is here remains to be seen, but there are horses with worse chances ahead of him in the betting.

BLAKLION

DAN SKELTON – RATED 145 – FORM 6-511P

A teenager now but seemingly rolled back the years on a couple of starts this year most notably when winning the Last Fling Chase at Haydock by twenty-eight lengths.

He has won over these fences previously, although that was a little over four years ago when landing the Becher Chase.

He has competed in this race a few times since and finished a creditable sixth last year.

It would be a massive surprise if there weren’t a few younger ones in here that beat him again but he ought to get round in his own time.

POKER PARTY

HENRY DE BROMHEAD – RATED 145 – FORM 43/00P

Poker Party suffered an injury after running at Leopardstown in 2020 and just hasn’t been the same horse since.

Even a change of scenery was little to no use in the Cross Country at Cheltenham last time as he pulled up in that.

A very difficult ride for some poor soul and would be better staying at home.

DEATH DUTY

GORDON ELLIOTT – RATED 144 – FORM 6-5716

Death Duty hinted at a revival when landing the Grand National Trial Chase at Punchestown back in February.

He finished a solid sixth behind Corach Rambler in the Ultima and he is starting to look attractive from a handicapping point of view.

That was a fair enough effort for an eleven-year-old last time against horses much spritelier.

He needs rain to be seen at his best though but could run a huge race if it arrives.

DOMAINE DE L’ISLE

SEAN CURRAN – RATED 144 – FORM 1-P420

He has only been lightly raced since winning a handicap at Cheltenham around this time last year.

He was a fair fourth over these fences back in December when chasing home Snow Leopardess.

He was then rather disappointing when contesting a run of the mill handicap at Southwell where he could muster only a third placed finish.

This looks above and beyond him and extremely hard to recommend.

ECLAIR SURF

EMMA LAVELLE – RATED 143 – FORM 8-F312

Was far from disgraced when chasing home the impressive Win My Wings in the Eider Chase at Newcastle back in February.

The winner has come out and won the Scottish National subsequently and in quite breath-taking fashion so the form has received a massive boost.

This eight-year-old is progressive and has made the frame in six out of nine starts over fences.

Wins at Sandown and Warwick prove he’s more than capable of handling a flat track and he cannot be discounted.

FORTESCUE

HENRY DALY – RATED 143 – FORM 37231

Fortescue has improved with each start this season and was last seen beating the re-opposing Fiddlerontheroof at Ascot back in February.

The eight-year-old needs a couple to drop out in order to guarantee a run but there are no issues with the ground and he has a featherweight to carry here.

Whether he has the stamina to see out the four-and-a-quarter mile trip is open to interpretation but he is the sort that could run a decent race.

Hard to knock his chances on what we have seen so far and respected.

SCHOOL BOY HOURS

NOEL MEADE – RATED 142 – FORM 43-61P

Working in School Boy Hours’ favour is the fact that he won the Paddy Power Chase at Leopardstown in fine style back in December.

That was also his first win since March 2019 (over hurdles) and his first chase win ever.

He then went to Cheltenham and pulled up so a very mixed bag this season. Unlikely to mount a challenge on Saturday but stranger things have happened.

ROMAIN DE SENAM

DAVID PIPE – RATED 142 – FORM B143-P

Normally partnered with Harry Skelton, for the Grand National 2022 it will be jockey Philip Armson, making his National debut, taking the reins.

Despite running in 32 chases in his career, he has only started at three miles in just three of them. His biggest step up was at Uttoxeter in the Midlands Grand National in March.

Run over 4m2f, it is the closest to the Aintree National in distance and Romain De Senam was pulled up.

Does not bode well for his chances on Saturday.

Ticks The Boxes


Summary

The race that stops the nation looks like it will be another fascinating contest this time around.

There are a lot of horses on recovery missions and others who are in the form of their lives.

ANY SECOND NOW was a gallant third in this race last year and can make amends here. Ted Walsh won this race with Papillon back in 2000 and this consistent JP McManus owned runner can make that previous experience count.

Likely to be partnered by Mark Walsh, the pair can defy their hefty weight and make their move just at the right time.

Delta Work is taking the Tiger Roll route and commands respect, whilst Snow Leopardess enjoyed her previous win in the Becher Chase here back in November and has won again since.

There are several outsiders likely to go well none moreso than Deise Aba, Commodore and Two For Gold.

Death Duty has shown that despite being an eleven-year-old that he is no back number and could outrun his odds.

PREDICTIONS FROM TOP TIPPER KARL HEDLEY

1. Any Second Now

2. Delta Work

3. Two For Gold

4. Death Duty

5. Burrows Saint


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