Grand National 2022 Ante-Post Tips: Any Second Now to Make Amends
With the allocations of weights now confirmed (and the predictable kerfuffle over Tiger Roll’s “ridiculous” rating) it is a good time to take a look at the betting for the Randox Grand National and see which horses look both attractively weighted and priced.
Let’s get the elephant in the room, or the Tiger in the room in fact out of the way first. Owner Michael O’Leary has already ruled the legendary dual winner out of the contest, the race will be lacking some of the sparkle it could have garnered were the hat-trick hunting history maker to take his chance. However, there are still plenty of big names and interesting runners in the field and where better to start than last year’s winner Minella Times. Allocated eleven stone four as he bids to repeat his victory 12 months earlier, the Henry De Bromhead stayer is clearly among the leading challengers and is priced at 25/1 to go back to back at Aintree. His form this season has been concerning, although the yard in general have not been in top nick and De Bromhead can be trusted to have Minella Times cherry ripe for his repeat attempt.
In total, 23 of top 30 in the weights are trainer in Ireland, another indication of the dominance of those from the Emerald Isle in national hunt racing at present. The burden of top weight in the most famous race in the world is shared by Irish Gold Cup winner Conflated for Gordon Elliott and the conqueror of current Cheltenham Gold Cup favourite A Plus Tard, Galvin. Any Second Now, Snow Leopardess and Escaria Ten head the early market for the Grand National on 16-1.
Tipping up favourites rarely gets many plaudits, however when it comes to a race like this with 16/1 the field on offer then it is much more acceptable and the chances of Any Second Now leap off the page. Ted Walsh’s charge performed minor miracles in last year’s renewal to even continue his effort after being severely hampered by the fall of Double Shuffle mid way through the race. This hampering costing him over 10 places in the line up from his prominent position and many backers will have been preparing to throw away their dockets. However, he rallied remarkably and was only beaten 10L eventually into third by Minella Times. Without the unfortunate interference he would surely have gone close to victory and with only seven pounds more to carry and an 8lb swing with last year’s winner in the same ownership, he is worth backing soon as he could easily be half the price he is now (or shorter) on the day of the race.
Snow Leopardess is undoubtedly going to be the horse that catches the casual punter or once a year race watcher's imagination, with her remarkable story of returning to racing after giving birth and not just returning but excelling sure to make her popular. However, she is the same price as Any Second Now and seems much more ground dependent which would make me tread with caution if punting antepost on the Charlie Longsdon mare. Escaria Ten, the other market leader has a leading chance and has been aimed at this race for sometime now by trainer Gordon Elliott. The trainer has an outstanding chance of securing the prestigious prize this year and has declared his army of runners his strongest ever for the showpiece. Death Duty won again for the first time since 2017 recently and always looked destined to be a stayer of some quality. His odds of 33/1 make some appeal, especially if he can sneak in off 10"1 as he is currently allocated, but tread carefully as this horse is notoriously fragile.
The runner that makes most appeal of Elliott's right now is Mount Ida. The mare was the most remarkable winner of the 2021 Cheltenham Festival when landing the Kim Muir and her stamina is beyond question. She should be running off just under 11 stone which would be a lovely racing weight for one so talented and at odds of 20/1 she should be near the head of any calculations.
Of those not mentioned, as is to be expected with a race as notoriously wide-open as the Grand National, there is a plethora of runners with chances. 2019 Gold Cup second Santini has left Seven Barrows and headed to Polly Grundy and since his novice hurdling days has been regarded as a dour stayer by most racing fans. The test of Aintree could be perfect for him if Grundy can bring him back to his best and he is not one to be discounted. Burrows Saint for Willie Mullins was too exuberant in the 2021 renewal of this race and in the end his enthusiasm cost him his winning chance as he tired around four fences out, however prior to this he had jumped impeccably and if Mullins can teach him to conserve his energy more efficiently then expect another bold bid at around 20/1.
The late Trevor Hemmings' silks will be carried into the race by a trio of runners including this season's Ladbrokes Trophy winner Cloudy Glen. He sprung a surprise to win at Newbury and it would be a shock again were he to see out this ultimate stamina test on Merseyside. One of his other runners should be Cloth Cap, and it is easy to forget this year's 33/1 forgotten horse was the ante-post favourite for much of the 2021 season for this race.
After the release of the weights there is certainly a clearer picture for race analysts and punters alike of which horses stand a chance of winning the most watched race on earth, but boring as it may be I keep coming back to Any Second Now's chances of going two places better and giving Ted Walsh a third win in the race.