3 each-way shots that could land you a jackpot in the Grand National

We went looking for value in the big race at Aintree. Here’s what we found.

Source: John Walton

40 RUNNERS, 30 notoriously tricky fences, a gruelling four miles and three furlongs — it’s hardly surprising that the Aintree Grand National is one of the toughest tipping puzzles of the racing year.

But for anyone who can bag a winner, the rewards are often great. Imagine if you’d plumped for last year’s winner Many Clouds at 25/1 or, even better, Auroras Encore at 66/1 in 2013 or 100/1 shock Mon Mome in 2009.

If you’ve clicked in here expecting to find a guaranteed winner, you’ll be disappointed — although we did flag the winner Pineau de Re in 2014, and the second- and fourth-place finishers last year so we’re not completely useless.

Our mission here is to find a few horses at big prices (33/1 or greater) that could give you a serious run for your money when the tape goes up at 5.15pm on Saturday evening.

Here goes…

All odds correct at the time of writing. Check that your bookmaker is offering five places.

Horse Racing - 32Red Day - Sandown Park Racecourse Source: Andrew Matthews

Unioniste 33/1

It’s a numbers game for trainer Paul Nicholls who saddles SIX challengers in the hope of winning the Grand National for a second time. Silviniaco Conti is the classiest horse in the race, bar none, but further down the weights it is Unioniste who catches the eye.

His record over the big Aintree fences is a bit of a concern — he fell as a 16/1 shot early on in last year’s National, and made a bad mistake before tailing off on his season’s debut in the Becher Chase back in December.

But his runs since have been promising and he cruised home in small-field chase at Kelso in February before staying on in second behind Many Clouds at the same track when in receipt of just four pounds (he gets 16lbs from the favourite today).

Nicholls is adamant that the extra trip and the soft ground will both play to his strengths. If he can put in a good round of jumping, 33/1 is too big.

Horse Racing - Halloween Raceday - Ascot Racecourse Source: John Walton

Pendra 40/1

You have to go all the way down the card to find Pendra who is bidding to become Charlie Longsdon’s first finisher in the Grand National — although, in his defence, he has only had two previous runners.

With both Barry Geraghty and Mark Walsh looking elsewhere among the JP McManus string for their rides, Aidan Coleman looks to have bagged himself a lively outsider.

He has only had two runs this season, re-emerging with a brilliant handicap win at Ascot in October, but he hasn’t been on the course since mid-December when a bad mistake at the last cost him his chance in the Silver Cup.

There are question marks about his stamina but it’s worth noting that his sire, Old Vic, has a great record of producing strong stayers who go well in the Grand National. Another appealing option.

Betfred Day - Sandown Park Races Source: Julian Herbert

Le Reve 50/1

Eight-year-old Le Reve is Lucy Wadham’s first runner in the National, with the Newmarket trainer passing on the race in 2015 to give her youngster another year to develop.

The Derek Zoolander of this year’s field, he loves jumping right — but unfortunately for a left-handed track such as Aintree, doesn’t fare so well when he has to go the other way.

That said, there’s plenty to like in his form with wins on both soft and good-to-soft over three miles, and a very strong third in the bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown last year over 3m5f.

His jumping is usually solid, with 13 completions in 16 chase starts since unseating his rider on his debut over the bigger obstacles.

Worth a second look at 50/1.

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About the author:

Niall Kelly

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