THE GRAND National has become a benefit for leading owner Trevor Hemmings. He has enjoyed three successes in the famous race and he has another serious contender in 2019 as he bids for an unprecedented fourth Aintree victory. The Horse is Lake View Lad.
Hemmings’ three Randox Health Grand National victories have come courtesy of Hedgehunter (2005), Ballabriggs (2011) and Many Clouds (2015). If he wins again in April, he would become the most successful owner of all time in the Aintree spectacular. He currently shares the honour with James Machell, Sir Charles Assheton-Smith (previously Charles Duff) and Noel Le Mare, who famously had three victories with the legendary Red Rum in the 1970s.
Staged over four miles, two furlongs and 74 yards, with 30 fences jumped, on Saturday, April 6, the Randox Health Grand National is the world’s greatest chase and the most valuable jumps race anywhere in the world. Entries for the 2019 race, the 172nd running, close on January 29 and will be revealed 24 hours later on January 30.
Weights for the famous Grade Three handicap are unveiled at the iconic Cunard Building in Liverpool on Tuesday, February 12, for the first time – the weights ceremony has previously been held in London. The Randox Health Grand National is the only race for which senior BHA Jump handicapper Martin Greenwood is able to deviate from official ratings in allotting weights. Greenwood is handicapping the Randox Health Grand National for the first time in 2019 after Phil Smith’s retirement.
Nine-year-old Lake View Lad is trained near Leslie in Fife, Scotland, by Nick Alexander and was purchased by Hemmings ahead of a winning on his seasonal reappearance in the Listed Rehearsal Chase over just short of three miles at Newcastle on December 1.
He coped ably with the step-up in class on his latest outing at Wetherby on December 26, when he was the four-length winner of the Grade Three Rowland Meyrick Handicap Chase over three miles.
Alexander said: “Lake View Lad is in good form and we would like to run him soon, but we have been waiting for the wet weather to arrive.
“It was brilliant to win the Rowland Meyrick and the Rehearsal Chase – a wonderful month – and I was delighted with both of his performances. He is a horse who enjoys soft ground, and heavy is also ideal for him.
“Lake View Lad is owned by Trevor Hemmings and will be entered in the Grand National. He is a very good jumper. We won’t know if he stays four and a quarter miles for the National until he tries it, I don’t suppose.”
Once the entries are made and the weights are published, bookmakers will begin to really shape their markets for the race. Expect a deluge of Grand National 2019 betting offers and make sure you shop around for the best deals. Punters will be able to place ante-post bets online and in retail betting shops and there will be plenty of choice. Look out for bookies offering “non runner no bet” odds a bit nearer the race. This is a no brainer if you’re going to have an ante-post punt.
Two Randox Health Grand National winners have been trained in Scotland – Rubstic (1979) and One For Arthur (2017). The 2018 hero Tiger Roll (Gordon Elliott IRE) jointly heads the ante-post market for the 2019 Randox Health Grand National at 20-1 with Betway, official betting partner of the Randox Health Grand National Festival.
If successful again on April 6, Tiger Roll would become the first horse to register back-to-back victories since Red Rum in 1973 and 1974.
Betway’s other 20-1 joint-favourite is Invitation Only (Willie Mullins IRE), successful in last week’s valuable Thyestes Chase at Gowran Park. Lake View Lad is a 33-1 chance.
Last year Blaklion was the favourite for the race but only got as far as the first fence. He is being aimed at the race again and has been compared to Red Rum in the way that he jumps.
The Randox Health Grand National Festival gets underway with Grand National Thursday on April 4, continues with Ladies Day (Friday, April 5) and finishes on Grand National Day (Saturday, April 6).