Grand National 2015: Last year’s runner-up Balthazar King set to go one better at Aintree

Ballabriggs and Jason Maguire jumping the chair (yellow and green and white) winning The John Smith's Grand National  Pic: Dan Abraham -

Ballabriggs and Jason Maguire jumping the chair (yellow and green and white) winning The John Smith’s Grand National Pic: Dan Abraham –

By Simon Jackson.

Horse Talk: Top horse-racing tips and the latest news

Two horses that have not raced since last year may provide the key to the Crabbie’s Grand National when Balthazar King and Shutthefrontdoor line up at Aintree on Saturday.

There will be fewer more popular winners than Shutthefrontdoor, who remains 7-1 clear favourite with bookmakers after the first day of the three-day meeting at Aintree on Thursday.

Shutthefrontdoor, winner of the 2014 Boylesports Irish Grand National will be the last Grand National ride for AP McCoy who retires this season. Saturday’s race has long been the target for the eight-year-old who won his sole start of the season at Carlisle in November.

“Shutthefrontdoor is a clean-winded horse, who is not hard to get ready,” trainer Jonjo O’Neill said at a recent stable visit. “He was ready to run and win first time out at Carlisle. He is going to Aintree fresh and well.”

Similarly, Balthazar King – last year’s Crabbie’s Grand National runner-up – has not raced since winning at Cheltenham in November and has specifically been kept fresh for Saturday’s £1million contest.

“His best form has always been after a layoff so it is as well to go to the National as fresh as can be,” trainer Philip Hobbs said.

The now 11-year-old avoided trouble last year when racing prominently and Balthazar King is taken to prevail in this year’s renewal at odds of 10-1 (Paddy Power) from Shutthefrontdoor who can fill the runner-up spot.

Rocky Creek boosted his credentials for the National when storming to a six-length victory in the Grade 3 BetBright Chase at Kempton in February.

The Paul Nicholls-trained gelding tired into fifth place in last year’s National after leading three fences from home and looks a sound each way bet at odds of 9-1.

However the value for each-way punters may lie with the Oliver Sherwood-trained 25-1 shot Many Clouds who continues his partnership with last year’s Grand National winning jockey Leighton Aspell.

The winner of the 2014 Hennessy Gold Cup and BetBright Cup Chase was confirmed for the National after finishing sixth in this year’s Cheltenham Gold Cup and should finish in the first five.

The in-form Soll, winner of his two starts this season, is another who looks a sound each way bet at odds of 20-1.

For those looking for a longshot, the best outsider may be Monbeg Dude. He has won a Welsh National and ran well when seventh in the 2014 Grand National and can belie his odds of 33-1.

Simon Jackson’s Grand National tips: 1st Balthazar King; 2nd Shutthefrontdoor; 3rd Rocky Creek; 4th Many Clouds; 5th Soll. Best outsider: Monbeg Dude.


The 2015 Crabbie’s Grand National – final field of 40 plus the 4 reserves

Grade 3, £1,000,000 Total Prize Fund. 4.15pm, Aintree, Saturday, April 11, 2015. Four miles, three and a half furlongs. Final declaration stage 10.00am, April 9. MAXIMUM 40 RUNNERS plus four reserves 

If there are any non-runners from the 40 declared runners before 9.00am tomorrow, Friday, April 10 reserves can be utilised. If any non-runners are announced after that time, reserves cannot be utilised.

  Horse Age Wgt Owner Trainer/Probable Jockey
1) LORD WINDERMERE (IRE) 9 11-10 Dr Ronan Lambe Jim Culloty IRE/Robbie McNamara
2) MANY CLOUDS (IRE) 8 11-09 Trevor Hemmings Oliver Sherwood/Leighton Aspell
3) UNIONISTE (FR) 7 11-06 John Hales Paul Nicholls/Noel Fehily
4) ROCKY CREEK (IRE) 9 11-03 The Johnson & Stewart Families Paul Nicholls/Sam Twiston-Davies
5) FIRST LIEUTENANT (IRE) 10 11-03 Gigginstown House Stud Mouse Morris IRE/Miss Nina Carberry
6) BALTHAZAR KING (IRE) 11 11-02 The Brushmakers Philip Hobbs/Richard Johnson
7) SHUTTHEFRONTDOOR (IRE) 8 11-02 J P McManus Jonjo O’Neill/A P McCoy
8) PINEAU DE RE (FR) 12 11-00 John Provan Dr Richard Newland/Daryl Jacob
9) BALLYCASEY (IRE) 8 10-13 Susannah Ricci Willie Mullins IRE/Ruby Walsh
10) SPRING HEELED (IRE) 8 10-12 Dr Ronan Lambe Jim Culloty IRE/Nick Scholfield
11) REBEL REBELLION (IRE) 10 10-12 Woodhouse, Sutton & Dobson Paul Nicholls/Ryan Mahon
12) DOLATULO (FR) 8 10-11 Chasemore Farm Warren Greatrex/Dougie Costello
13) MON PARRAIN (FR) 9 10-11 John & Barbara Cotton Paul Nicholls/Sean Bowen
14) CARLITO BRIGANTE (IRE) 9 10-10 06 Zoo Ltd Karen McLintock/Brian Harding
15) NIGHT IN MILAN (IRE) 9 10-09 Richard Collins Keith Reveley/James Reveley
16) RUBI LIGHT (FR) 10 10-09 Bill Hennessy Robert Hennessy IRE/Andrew Lynch
17) THE DRUIDS NEPHEW (IRE) 8 10-09 The Stonehenge Druids Neil Mulholland/Aidan Coleman
18) CAUSE OF CAUSES (USA) 7 10-09 J P McManus Gordon Elliott IRE/Paul Carberry
19) GODSMEJUDGE (IRE) 9 10-08 Favourites Racing Ltd Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson
20) AL CO (FR) 10 10-08 Frank Lloyd Peter Bowen/Denis O’Regan
21) MONBEG DUDE (IRE) 10 10-07 Oydunow Michael Scudamore/Liam Treadwell
22) CORRIN WOOD (IRE) 8 10-07 Dermot Hanafin Robert Rose Ian Whitfield Donald McCain/David Casey
23) THE RAINBOW HUNTER 11 10-07 May We Never Be Found Out Partnership Kim Bailey/David Bass
24) SAINT ARE (FR) 9 10-06 David Fox Tom George/Paddy Brennan
25) ACROSS THE BAY (IRE) 11 10-06 Scotch Piper Syndicate Donald McCain/Henry Brooke
26) TRANQUIL SEA (IRE) 13 10-05 Jean & Clemmie Shipp Warren Greatrex/Gavin Sheehan
27) OSCAR TIME (IRE) 14 10-05 Robert Waley-Cohen Robert Waley-Cohen/Mr Sam Waley-Cohen
28) BOB FORD (IRE) 8 10-04 The JJ Partnership Rebecca Curtis/Paul Townend
29) SUPER DUTY (IRE) 9 10-04 Brannon, Dick, Hernon & Holden Ian Williams/Will Kennedy
30) WYCK HILL (IRE) 11 10-04 J P McManus David Bridgwater/Tom Cannon
31) GAS LINE BOY (IRE) 9 10-04 Mick Fitzgerald Racing Club Philip Hobbs/James Best
32) CHANCE DU ROY (FR) 11 10-04 Daphne Du Pre Philip Hobbs/Tom O’Brien
33) PORTRAIT KING (IRE) 10 10-03 Marie Davis Maurice Phelan IRE/Davy Condon
34) OWEGA STAR (IRE) 8 10-03 Anthony Callan/Siobhan Callan Peter Fahey IRE/Robbie Power
35) RIVER CHOICE (FR) 12 10-03 Fergus Wilson Richard Chotard FR/David Cottin
36) COURT BY SURPRISE (IRE) 10 10-03 Nick Mustoe Emma Lavelle/Richie McLernon
37) ALVARADO (IRE) 10 10-03 William & Angela  Rucker Fergal O’Brien/Paul Moloney
38) SOLL 10 10-02 Derrick Mossop David Pipe/Tom Scudamore
39) ELY BROWN (IRE) 10 10-02 Countrywide Vehicle Rentals Taxi Hire Charlie Longsdon/Brian Hughes
40) ROYALE KNIGHT 9 10-02 Chris Stedman & Robert Corsan Dr Richard Newland/Brendan Powell
 R1)  BAILEYS CONCERTO (IRE) 9 10-02 United Five Racing & Andrew Sayer Dianne Sayer/Brian Hughes
R2) DUKE OF LUCCA (IRE) 10 10-02 Lesley Field Philip Hobbs/Micheal Nolan
R3) RAZ DE MAREE (FR) 10 10-01 James Swan Sandra Hughes IRE/
R4) THE PACKAGE 12 10-00 The Johnson Family David Pipe/

Crabbie’s Grand National

Paddy Power: 7 Shutthefrontdoor, 9 Rocky Creek, 10 Balthazar King, 14 The Druids Nephew, 16 Cause Of Causes, Godsmejudge, 20 First Lieutenant, Pineau De Re, Royale Knight, Soll, Alvarado, Spring Heeled, Unioniste, 25 Al Co, Ballycasey, Night In Milan,  Many Clouds,33 Monbeg Dude, Mon Parrain, Lord Windermere, Oscar Time, Saint Are, The Package, 40 Chance Du Roy, Court By Surprise, Dolatulo, Rebel Rebellion, 50 Across The Bay, Carlito Brigante, Portrait King, Raz De Maree, The Rainbow Hunter,  Owega Star, Rubi Light, Wyck Hill, 66 Corrin Wood, Duke Of Lucca, Super Duty, 100 Baileys Concerto, Bob Ford, Ely Brown, Gas Line Boy, River Choice, Tranquil Sea

each-way terms 1/4 odds 1,2,3,4,5, Non-Runner No Bet

Read ‘Horse Talk with Simon Jackson’ at London24 for the latest horse racing news.