Grand National 2018: Early thoughts

One For Arthur was an impressive winner of the 2017 Grand National but will have to overcome a likely hefty rise in the weights if he is to become the first horse since Red Rum to defend his crown in 2018.

Do you think he can do it? Or can one of the beaten horses comeback and take next year’s race? Cause Of Causes would almost certainly be campaigned with Aintree in mind next year and the third horse, Saint Are, looks set to be running in hunter chases next year so could he finally win the Grand National. Could Blaklion find the extra stamina he seems to need with another year on his back?

Some of the horses that failed to get round this such as The Young Master, Vicente, Saphir Du Rheu and Ucello Conti could also train again in 2018. Could any of them have a say in next year’s finish?

The bookies are putting forward the likes of Minella Rocco, Don Poli, Noble Endeavour and Our Duke as the horses likely to be involved for the first time in 2018.

Please add your early thoughts and selections for 2018 to this thread.

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1,405 Responses to Grand National 2018: Early thoughts

  1. Seven Towers says:

    I see a horse I was following a lot last summer won again today in HEIST. He is a very interesting horse because he stays on in most of his races and looks to be crying out for a trip. I wonder if they are going to give the Summer Plate a pop this season or the Uttoxeter Summer Cup with a view to Aintree in the Spring. Griffin isn’t backward in having a raid at some of the bigger races.

  2. Lucky Vane says:

    What are people’s views about SHANEHILL having pretension for the National?

    This is a name I associated with hurdles rather than chasing with good performances at Liverpool, Punchestown & Cheltenham Festivals but I see that he’s currently entered for the Kerry National on 13th September (Source : Racing Post ). He does currently fall down on a few stats.

    Aged 8 which has seen 2 recently : One For Arthur & Many Clouds. Before them it was Bindaree 2002.
    Chases only 6 but with possibly a full season of racing yet to happen could quite easily make at least 10 without over excerting himself.

    Hasn’t ran more than 3 miles yet, but his record over hurdles suggest extreme distances should be no problem and his run in the Galway plate finishing second from 22 runners suggest that he could cope with busy traffic in racing.

    I know he’s Mullins and Mullins is not my favourite trainer because he keeps everyone in the dark about his plans.

  3. Mike N says:

    I’ve had an early dabble for the race and chucked it on Mall Dini at 66-1.

    Things didn’t go according to plan at Cheltenham where he missed some work beforehand, and was co-favourite for the Irish National before being balloted out as I understand it.

    No chase wins yet so that will have to change.

    Don’t know 100% if they will go for it but will take the chance at that price. When he won over hurdles at the Festival trainer was saying he was going to be a National horse. So some hope they will go. And trainer a bit shrewd when it comes to competitive handicaps.

  4. Mike N says:

    LV Shaneshill won’t be 8 he’ll be 9. Not a negative stat anyway but wanted to correct you.
    I never thought of him being a National horse myself but stranger things have happened. Don’t like his handicap mark right now either. Good back class he used to be one of my favourite hurdles.

  5. Mike N says:

    Hurdlers even.

  6. Kevski111 says:

    I’m not one for looking too early but will be keeping an eye on Abolitionist if entered, just had a spin over hurdles.

  7. Mike N says:

    Yes Kev that’s one on my radar later in the season if they decide its the target.

  8. ESB says:

    Shaneshill is entered for the Munster National at Limerick on October 8th.

  9. red flash says:

    see One For Arthur will not be defending his crown as ruled out for entire season

  10. kj says:

    Yeah, bugger! god it takes too much this race.
    You just can’t tell who will be able to keep coming back can you.

  11. kj says:

    maybe all winners of the GN should be retired on the spot! discuss…

  12. Mike N says:

    No kj. Terrible idea. ;)

  13. Kevski111 says:

    What do people think of Warrantor? Problem is it seems to like soft going? anything else??

  14. Mike N says:

    Only 133 OR Kev. Would need to be winning races sharpish.

  15. kj says:

    Haha Mike so short!
    I don’t know its so unpredictable who will come back well from injury, who is toughest, who should be retired for their service. I thought DPI was coming back to form when retired for his service and quite the opposite happened with one of his other horses,… I thought Kauto should be retired many many times, Denman and Sprinter Sacre running was enough to give me a heartattack, moving off the national there, I thought Many Clouds had comeback stronger, 8yr old winners can they really take it. I thought old Reve de Sivola had given more than enough and the signs to retire were there old thing,… the list goes on regarding getting it completely right or completely wrong, minefield! ;)

    Warranator from memory/ initial thought… cart horse and not in a One for Arthur sense.

  16. Seven Towers says:

    As I said in my post in June, Abolitionist is being aimed at the race, which can only be a good thing. Still think Singlefarmpayment looks tailor made to at least place in the race. Lovely traveller.

  17. Lucky Vane says:

    Warrantor was one I’d looked at early last season. Has solid form in large fields (Betvictor Gold Cup & Midlands National) but the rating of 133 would see him struggle to get into the final forty.

  18. mandie says:

    my early thought’s lead me to TIGER ROLL.

  19. Mike N says:

    Not convinced at this stage that Tiger Roll will enjoy the Aintree experience. Might get up to his sulky antics. ;)

  20. galileo says:

    Hi gang,
    What did people make of TOTAL RECALL’S performance in the MUNSTER NATIONAL,took a bit of the 40’s on offer,seem to win it with a double handful…..

  21. Mike N says:

    I was impressed galileo but whether he will be stepped up to 4 and a half miles I dunno.

  22. galileo says:

    MIKE N,
    Willie Mullins hasn’t really got a stand-out GN contender,but could this be it,he won with so much in hand,his rating will have gone up and he’ll have no problem getting in GN,interesting to see we’re he goes next,could the BECHER CHASE be on the menu…..

  23. Mike N says:

    Might be an idea to ask ‘a breeding expert’ on whether horses sired by Westerner, which Total Recall is from, have any form over extreme distances.

  24. ESB says:

    Handicapper has put Total Recall up 18 lbs to 147 for Sunday’s win. It saves Phil Smith from having to do the job!

    It would be a lovely mark for Aintree.

  25. Mike N says:

    It would be ESB but he might win again ;)

  26. ESB says:


    I think that my game plan would be a slow finishing 4th or 5th in the Becher, followed by 1 or 2 hurdle races and then take the wraps off after publication of the weights!

  27. galileo says:

    Hi gang,
    You could be a trainer,
    I think that’s exactly what WILLIE MULLIN’S will do,147 is a competitive weight and he wouldn’t want it going up to much,so maybe a couple of spins of hurdles until the weights come out,then a chase run to sharpen him up,MULLIN’S does know how to plot a horse,even though he hasn’t had much luck in recent years……in the GN

  28. Mike N says:

    Ruby Walsh said after the race about the horse ‘he definitely got 3 miles’. If this implies there was a question mark about his stamina (previously pulled up over the distance), then another mile and a half looks doubtful.
    We will see.

  29. kj says:

    Anyone who calls their horse Total Recall is a friend of mine, goddam it! and ofcourse Blade Runner was out for the weekend, what a pointer! (the film< don't know if theres a horse ;) )

    Not terribly exited about many looking at the GN, injured or too old list too long! time ey…
    hope of some extending distance is weak….
    currently clinging to the idea something aged 7 can come through an early introduction to the race aged 9 .. or maybe this yr aged 8 ;) Lots don't have the speed it seems. Have to assume Samuri and COC weighted out of winning, but not writing them off, esp Causes, just watched his most excellent cross country win, after Spot and JT 2005 ;) does someone not have a better quality video to put on utube!?. can't beat a bit of Spot! love a horse who knows how to finish!
    May the form be with you!

  30. kj says:

    I only have access to pedigreequery but Total Recall seems to have War Admiral big heart coming through female line. Westerner as sire is a bit of a nearly horse in some ways I think, sturdy and not free runners category, over distance not many is there Seven?? Gilgamboa did well in the national!. Best of Westerners do seem to have excellent dam sires Total has Dr. Massini, so I think I have to be signed up to the fanclub!

  31. galileo says:

    Hi gang,
    Got to agree,not terribly excited myself at the moment,just feel there is a little bit of value to be had with TOTAL RECALL,that’s why I took the 40’s on offer,PP are taking no chances only offering 25’s……….I’m also interested to see if NATIVE RIVER goes down the GN route,could be a big player,think you would need to take the price now to get any sort of value……

  32. Mike N says:

    Native River will be given an entry according to Tizzard. He also said that last year’s Gold Cup took a lot out of him and took him a while to get over it so risky bet I would say right now.

    What about my early pick Mall Dini kj.? I bet you remember the Italian footy team. ;)

  33. galileo says:

    Hi gang,
    MIKE N,
    If the horse is half as good as paulo Maldini then we should start backing it…….what a player…..

  34. kj says:

    Hey Guys waves….
    usual low TS issue both chase and hurdle for Total Recall…. grumble (like Harrison Ford,.. someone take that guys flying license away please!)
    Massive Native fan tick, looking forward to his development regardless…yes massive Maldini fan, the horse looks interesting too.

    TS worries all over this from a quick look ..I really don’t see horses with under 100 being worth a second look unless they are a Vics or Bless type e/w bankers. These races TS notes are if I remember someone looked into not accurate, but has anyone kept a tally of some recent winners and placers, to see their early record, how much it matters a yr or 2 before?

  35. Lucky Vane says:

    Total Recall did the job in hand (Munster National) well, first time at 24 furlongs. Ridden by Ruby at the back and nicely came into the race on the final circuit. Sidestepped a few fallers so looks intelligent and can handle himself in large fields. He was on a mark of 129 and the Irish Handicapper moved him to 147 a rise of 18 pounds. He’s never gone further than 3 miles in chasing or hurdling so question mark of 4 1/2 miles (or best part since they reduced the distance by furlong and half :P ), but he settled well so in my view really good chance. His DP is 2-2-11-2-1 (18) DI = 1.12 CD = 0.11 and his CMP is 0-7-5-10-9 Speed = 7 Stamina = 19 Index = 0.36 Triads = 12-22-24.

    P.S Total Recall was an Arnie Film or Colin Farrell, personally I’d prefer Arnie’s version!

    Alpha Des Obeaux trained by Mouse Morris (Rule The World) also ran a very good race, his DP and CMP are 3-1-6-4-0 (14) DI = 1.00 CD = 0.21/ 1-2-11-4-7 Speed = 3 Stamina = 11 Index = 0.52 Triads = 14-17-22 . His form beyond 3 miles looks a bit poor.

    Both might develop into National contenders but personally at this moment I think something else will show itself when the jumping season steps up a notch.

  36. Kevski111 says:

    Hi Mike N, Timeform has tipped Mall Dini since 11th April (3 days after the last national) along with Premier Bond as early long shots.

  37. Lucky Vane says:

    What a coincident Kev, was looking at Premier Bond after my last post, and while not ideal candidate I think the are possibilities. Others I’m excited by are Minella Rocco and Native River. NR looks every inch a natural (IMO) but would connections risk it. :?

  38. kj says:

    Oops I didn’t post this last night…
    Thanks for the Native update Mike, not surprised really, he had a tough season, won the Henessey, then WN (which was an interesting foray) I wonder has any horse won the WN and won the GC same season? I imaging you have to go a long way back. Synchronised not same season, but he did WN then MN 3rd with 11-12! credit where credits due.
    Native didn’t look in tip top form in the Gold Cup to me, only 7, if he has a relatively quiet season this yr l wouldn’t be surprised, having said that stable are a bit full steam ahead. Maybe 2019 will be more his thing, equally if he does have a slow start he could be peaking for spring! which way will he go then!? GC/ GN?
    I think Sizing John is a big, class jumper and could be there a while, he won 3 Gold Cups last season ending with Punchestown one being a bit of a classic battle. Minella Rocco is another exciting horse, finishes like a train wondering which way to go (GC/ GN) . With potentially Coneygree and Thistlecrack back (I hope) as potential GC scarecrows ;) we got a few to fight over in the GC v GN stakes and if they all turn up, we will get more decent leftovers. Obviously being sidelined or indeed spent is part of the game and I imagine we won’t know some of these big dangers well being til cheltenham, haha!
    I found some interests pretty quick afterall, so here we go again, being a horse thats able to extend while having atleast some Gold Cup class is fascinating, or indeed the other way round with jumping problems and a major engine, as is being a 3m or indeed 4m utter relentless stag… onward!

  39. kj says:

    LV Totall Recall / Blade Runner connection is they are both class films adapted from Philip K Dick novels …and neither features Tom Cruise who bought loads of his work years ago. Actually I like some recent Cruise films, he is less ‘can you get a close up of my face’ these days, anyway yes Arnie and Harrison origin leads the best! special mention Rutger ‘in the rain’ Hauer unbeatable, but I hear the new Blade Runner which was coincidentally out last weekend, is worth seeing and I imagine the soundtrack is probably worth the surround sound fee alone.

    The americas are actually remaking more classic films that made my jaw drop when I heard a few names recently, I was going to say its Gone with the Wind classics and other more recent successful capers, but then I looked up the endless list! christ is nothing sacred…. nobody has new ideas? prepare yourself…. I mean should you really be allowed to remake Scarace!!? Akira!?? Time Bandits ??? Dirty Dancing!? My Fair lady! Rebecca, The Birds! Jacobs Ladder, American Psycho, Flatliners, Escape from New York and Big Trouble in little China! to name a few

    My top 3 GN ‘known and currently remembered quantities’
    Minella Rocco
    Native River
    and one that you hope will atleast definitely run :D Cause of Causes!

  40. galileo says:

    Hi gang,
    Your sounding like BARRY NORMAN…………..hahaha……
    I’m off to see BLADE RUNNER tonight……

  41. galileo says:

    Hi gang,
    Your sounding like BARRY NORMAN……….hahaha…..
    I’m off to see BLADE RUNNER tonight

  42. Mike N says:

    Cheers Kev. But having Timeform endorse a selection doesn’t fill me with glee. ;)

  43. Mike N says:

    Kj in your gold cup preview you forgot to mention a posdible key ingredient. His name is Might Bite. ;)

  44. Mike N says:


  45. kj says:

    Ok, I might have forgotten about some mighty novices while I’ve been out in the pasture ;)
    I think there is the bigger gap between GC and GN this yr too right?
    Just saw Sizing John positively gleaming coming back to work, so thats good. I think he is under rated and imagine that might be reflected in future markets.
    Certainly got my fill of good looking champion horses today :D

  46. Mike N says:

    Latest on Native River from the trainer…

    “He shook himself up a bit in the Gold Cup and he is back cantering now and will run around Christmas time. He had a hard season last year so will be a bit careful and what I want to do now is give him his second run in the Gold Cup. He could then end up in the Grand National.”

  47. Mike N says:

    Added Native River 33s to my Mall Dini 66s bet.
    After a successful flat punting campaign I’ve gone a bit Grand National crazy. ;)

  48. kj says:

    Nice numbers tho! are you gonna leave Vicente to Ayr? I imagine in those silks they may try getting him to jump at Aintree again.

    Is Double Seven the first one out of the GN blocks at Chepstow tomorrow?
    He might need a head start! I thought he was going well early on last yr, he jumps, he liked it,.. probably even stays dare I say, but maybe just won’t ever have the pace to stay with the pack!? it does make me wonder how to take these low TS figures, esp regarding GN and alot of the horses people are talking about chase or hurdles. Vics Canvas looks positively speedy compared to some figures wise, even if he were 2yrs younger it was unlikely his style would win, a 117 grinder with no finishing speed.

    Sure they can build on these figures as up and coming horses but it would be unusual to have a hurdle TS under ??? unless your strength is not just staying, but your finish!
    One for Arthur hurdles TS 84! but still strike rate 6/7 top3, 3 the most recent= 3 wins, he came from a lowly place it seems he had steep improvement since hurdling! another one difficult to pin down.

    The Blaklion/ Lion Rouges of this world, with ‘seeing out the trip’ worries AND low hurdle figures (110 and 107) it seems not a winning combination, but I can see Blaklion placing again… no doubt a big group that.
    Native River is a bit of a grinder, 111 hurdles speed, not the speediest finisher, but the class and spirit to keep trying at the end and possibly winning. Certainly his WN was a good exercise. Relative Mini Sensation won a few 4milers. I think his credentials at 4m lead us to other major contenders Minella Rocco and maybe less so Caroles Destrier to name 2. Native has the well rounded assets to hold on, barring a train! I would take 33s if I could right now. Train spotters you know the score ;)

  49. Mike N says:

    Jonjo REALLY wants to win the Gold Cup with Rocco. I have my doubts about his inconsistent jumping at present fof Aimtree despite his talent.
    Vicente I can’t have after last year.

  50. Irish Raider says:

    MANDIE re. TIGER ROLL a horse I also think has a great chance for next April. Backed him for 2018 after he won at Cheltenham.
    Was at the Galway races earlier this year with friend of a friend who works looking after Michael O’Learys retired horses at home in Gigginstown. Basically has Rule The World, War Of Attrition, Roi Du Mee and Don Cossack in the front garden!
    Away he said Tiger Roll was going to be aimed for the National but he reckoned he wasn’t na great jumper and the fences would catch him out!

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