The Grand National at Aintree racecourse is the most famous steeplechase anywhere in the world. It’s the one race that captures the public’s imagination in the UK like no other, as, every year, a large audience tunes into terrestrial television to watch the unique contest unfold.
In order to win the Grand National, the contenders not only need an abundance of stamina to see out the four miles and 514 yards in the contest, they have to jump well too, as the obstacles are much bigger than the average fences used in national hunt racing.
When looking for the winner of the Grand National, don’t be afraid to consider the outsiders, as five of the last six winners have been 25/1 or bigger. In 2009, Mon Mome caused a huge upset in the race when he scored at 100/1 under the hands of jockey Liam Treadwell.
Here is a look at the best longshots in the 2018 contest.
Vicente – 33/1
Vicente has proven how much he enjoys the long distance chases in the UK as he has won the last two renewals of the Scottish Grand National at Ayr. The eight-year-old, who is now five from 15 in chases, has an official rating of 151 but that figure could be set to rise this season, as there may be a lot more to come from the horse.
Former Champion Trainer Paul Nicholls has only once won the Grand National in his career and that was with Neptune Collonges in 2012 when the grey was given the race after a photo-finish with Sunnyhillboy.
By the time the race comes along in April, Vicente will be nine years old and, given 13 of the last 15 winners have been nine or older, it suggests that he is at the right age to put up a strong challenge.
Vicente was given his first shot at the Grand National in 2017, however, unfortunately, he fell at the first fence. That mistake should be forgiven and he is worth siding with in 2018 at 25/1.
Cause of Causes – 33/1
Causes of Causes will be one of the Irish horses set to make the trip across to the UK for the Randox Health Grand National in 2018, where connections will be hoping that he can improve on Ireland’s record in the race, as they have won just one of the last 10 runnings.
Trainer Gordon Elliott went very close to adding his name to the roll of honour at Aintree last April as Cause of Causes finished second behind One For Arthur.
After racing mid-division in the early stages of the contest, the Irish horse made his move after jumping the last fence. The eight-year-old rallied well approaching the elbow but lacked the speed to match the winner, who finished just over four lengths ahead of him.
The race at the end of this season will be Cause of Causes’ third attempt at the world famous steeplechase, therefore, he will be one of the most experienced runners in the field, which is a huge positive in favour of the horse. At 33/1 in the betting, it looks like the bookmakers may have underestimated his chances once again.
Ucello Conti – 40/1
Ucello Conti has run around the Grand National course at Aintree in three of his last eight starts. His best finish over the big fences was fourth place in the 2016 Becher Chase. The nine-year-old has consistently run well since then over longer trips, therefore, there should be no concerns about his stamina ahead of what will be his third shot at the Grand National.
Unfortunately for connections, their horse unseated his jockey Daryl Jacob in the 2017 race but, until that mistake, he was travelling well. With a bit more luck going his way this time around, the Irish horse could be fighting it out at the finish for at least a place, therefore, he should be on your shortlist, especially at 40/1, which looks very big considering he has run some big races over these fences.
The 2018 Grand National takes place on 14th April and it can be seen live on ITV1. Unfortunately, last year’s winner One For Arthur won’t be lining up to defend his crown as an injury has ruled him out for the rest of the season.