Corbiere

Corbiere  Corbiere was one of the great Aintree horses of his day and ran in the Grand National five years in succession between 1983 and 1987, with form figures of 133F0. However, he will always be remembered for his victory, on his first attempt, in 1983, which made Jenny Pitman the first woman to train a Grand National winner.

 

Although only eight years old, and still in his first season over fences, Corbiere had narrowly won the Welsh National, run over 3 miles 5½ furlongs in deep, sticky mud, at Chepstow the previous December and finished second in the Ritz Club Handicap Chase, over 3 miles 1 furlong, at the Cheltenham Festival on his final start prior to the National.

 

A bold, enthusiastic jumper, blessed with an abundance of stamina, if a little one-paced, Corbiere represented Jenny Pitman’s best chance of winning the National since she first took out a training licence in 1975. Despite carrying 11st 4lb, with the soft going in his favour, he was duly sent off fifth favourite, at 13/1, to win the great race at the first time.

 

Ridden by Ben De Haan, Corbiere was always in the front rank and disputed the lead with Hallo Dandy from early on the second circuit. However, two fences from home Hallo Dandy dropped away, leaving Corbiere with a clear lead approaching the final fence. Inside the final hundred yards, Irish challenger Greaspaint, under amateur rider Colin Magnier, reached his quarters, but Corbiere surged away again to win by three-quarters of a length.

Silver Birch

Silver Birch  Silver Birch registered a remarkable victory in the 2007 Grand National, not because he wasn’t entitled to win, nor because his narrow defeat of McKelvey was anything out of the ordinary, but because his fledgling trainer, Gordon Elliot, had only saddled three winners, and none of them in his native Ireland. Elliot, 29, had only taken out his training licence in early 2006 but, nevertheless, became the youngest trainer ever to win the Grand National.

Three seasons earlier, when trained by Paul Nicholls, Silver Birch had won the Becher Chase, over 3 miles 3 furlongs, on the National Course at Aintree and the Welsh National, over 3 miles 5 furlongs, at Chepstow. He had been favourite for the Grand National before injury ruled him out, but when he returned, after an absence of 394 days, he failed to complete the course twice in three starts before falling at the Chair in the 2006 Grand National, won by Numbersixvalverde.

After finishing a one-paced third, of three finishers, in an open point-to-point at Castletown-Geoghegan the following November, Silver Birch was sold out of Nicholls’ yard for £20,000 at Doncaster Sales and joined Gordon Elliot. His new owner, Kildare farmer Brian Walsh described him as “in a right old state” but, gradually nursed back to health, Silver Birch finished second in what is now the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase at the Cheltenham Festival prior to another crack at the National.

Ridden by Robert Power, Silver Birch jumped superbly in the National, bar a slight peck on landing after Becher’s Brook on the second circuit. He led over the final fence and stayed on well on the run-in to hold the strong-finishing McKelvey by three-quarters of a length, with Slim Picking a further 1¼ lengths away in third place.

Can Tiger Roll Complete the Grand National Two-Timer?

Can Tiger Roll Complete the Grand National Two-Timer?  Tiger Roll will bid to become the first horse since the legendary Red Rum to win back-to-back Grand Nationals at Aintree on Saturday. All eyes will be on Gordon Elliott’s star nine-year-old as the runners gather at the start line for the epic 4-mile 514-yard chase. Can he pull it off? Here we assess Tiger Roll’s strengths and weaknesses and analyse whether he can mount a successful defence of his Grand National crown.

The Case for Tiger Roll

Last year Tiger Roll cemented his status as a Cheltenham Festival legend by winning the Cross Country Chase and he headed to the Grand National in fine form. He was the joint second favourite to win the race, but many dismissed his chances of success. He was written off as too small and many thought he could not handle the step up in trip. Yet the smallest horse in the field, dubbed “a little rat of a thing” by owner Michael O’Leary, displayed a lion-sized heart and a great deal of courage as he romped to victory in the biggest race of the year.

This time he has all the momentum once more after he successfully defended the Cross Country Chase at Cheltenham last month. He can never be counted out, as he is a supremely versatile performer and he has secured victories over all manner of distances and in various different conditions. If you check out the horse racing spread betting at Sporting Index you will see that he is the shortest priced Grand National favourite in years and deservedly so.

He was handed 10-11 by the handicapper, leaving him very much in the sweet spot, as nine of the last eleven Nationals have gone to horses carrying between 10-07 and 11-06. He is slightly heavier than he was a year ago, but he has not been lumbered with too much weight. He has bags-of-experience now, and you know he has the stamina and jumping ability to finish a race that sees many fallers. He is blessed with terrific pace, and he could well cruise to victory if he is able to run a clean race, so he can absolutely double up at Aintree this year.

The Case Against Tiger Roll

No horse has successfully defended the Grand National since Red Rum, who won it in 1973 and 1974. He finished second in 1975 and 1976, before winning a third National in 1977 to cement his status as one of the greatest chasers of all time. We have not seen anything like that since, as every defending champion has flopped. Tiger Roll was not exactly an emphatic winner last year, as Pleasant Company came within inches of reeling him in, and far more dominant winners have failed to defend the crown the following year.

It’s an utterly brutal race, featuring horrendous fences such as The Chair and Becher’s Brook. Tiger Roll has completed it before, but there is no guarantee that he will do so again. The hazardous nature of the race means that anything can happen to put him off. A stray horse could clatter into him, or he could fall over another runner in a pile-up. It is an extremely prestigious race and the prize money on offer is huge, so it always attracts a competitive field and Tiger Roll could simply be vanquished by a faster horse with better stamina on the day.

The Challengers

A colossal field of 40 runners will contest the Grand National and danger lurks at every turn for Tiger Roll. Rathvinden, Anibale Fly, Vintage Clouds and Lake View Lad are all vying to be the second favourite. Rathvinden is leading the charge for Irish champion trainer Willie Mullins after a strong win in the Bobbyjo Chase at Fairyhouse. Anibale Fly is always there or thereabouts, having placed in last year’s National and the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2018 and 2019. Vintage Clouds was third in the Scottish Grand National and looks to be steadily improving, while the lightly raced Lake View Lad is a strong stayer.

Pleasant Company is set to have another crack at glory after coming so close last year, giving Mullins another interesting shot at victory. An outright favourite has not won this race since Hedgehunter back in 2005, and punters have typically fared better when looking further down the field for each-way value. Joe Farrell and Jury Duty are beginning to attract a lot of attention, and Ramses De Teillee is also a big mover, while Ballyoptic also looks interesting.

Will Tiger Roll win the Grand National Again?

The shortest-priced winner in Grand National history was 11/4 shot Poethlyn in 1919, and Tiger Roll could match that exactly 100 years later. We have not seen such a heavy favourite in many years for this race, and he justifies the hype due to his pace, stamina and iron constitution. He could well coast to victory in this race, but at such short odds it is risky, as it is always a madcap, frenetic, congested contest and anything could happen to upset his rhythm. You could back him and hope he gets a clean run, but you might be better off choosing a couple of longer shots each-way.