THEY say if at first you don’t succeed then try again. And that’s the case with Vintage Clouds in the 2019 Randox Health Grand National. The horse agonisingly missed out on a place in last year’s race when he was 41st in the list of runners. Only 40 can run. But this year he is guaranteed a run in the world’s greatest steeplechase – and he has an outstanding chance.
Trained near Bingley, West Yorkshire, by Sue Smith, Vintage Clouds looks tailor-made for the Grand National. He has stamina in abundance, which is the biggest single quality that runners must possess since the fences were modified.
Vintage Clouds is also in terrific form following an excellent second in the Ultima Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. That day he raced up with the pace and stayed on up the hill, just failing to reel in Beware The Bear. The likely good ground will suit and in Danny Cook he has one of the most under-rated jockeys on his back.
His trainer also knows what it takes to prepare a Grand National winner. Smith trained Auroras Encore to win the Grand National in 2013 at 66-1. Auroras Encore was rated 137 in the official handicap and Vintage Clouds is rated 144 – a better horse on ratings although the race has increased in quality in the last six years. Also, Vintage Clouds is officially 5lb “well in” as his run at Cheltenham catapulted his handicap mark up to 149. However, with the weights published in February for the National, he is running off 144.
Then there is the owner. Trevor Hemmings has won the National three times – with Hedgehunter, Ballabriggs and Many Clouds. He also has Lake View Lad in the race, who also has an excellent chance but would prefer soft ground. If you’re looking for professional horse racing tips for the 2019 Grand National then others to consider include Rathvinden, who has been trained for the race, and the 2017 winner One For Arthur, who knows his way around the course.
Of course, they all have to beat the market leader Tiger Roll, who could go off the shortest priced favourite in the history of the race. He is generally a 7-2 shot – a ridiculously short price but if he reproduces the form of his last two races then he will be hard to beat.