Grand National 2019: A Former Cheltenham Festival Runner Up And A Gordon Elliott Duo Are Three To Watch At Aintree
We maybe a month away from the Cheltenham Festival, but yesterday saw the Grand National take centre stage as the weights were announced in Liverpool for the Aintree showpiece on April 6.
Over 100 horses were allocated a racing weight for the contest with the Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained Bristol De Mai handed the top weight of 11st 10lb, while last year's winner Tiger Roll was allotted 11-1 as he attempts to emulate the mighty Red Rum by winning back-to-back Grand Nationals.
However, we have now sifted our way through the weights and have picked out THREE contenders that could feature prominently in the Merseyside feature in a couple of months, and there's no surprise to see last year's winning trainer Gordon Elliott having a few attractively handicapped horses.
Dounikos - 10st 10lbs - Trainer: Gordon Elliott
An impressive four-and-a-quarter length winner of a Grand National Trial at Punchestown last month, Dounikos shaped like he has a lot more to give over marathon trips and a 7lb rise in the handicap may not stop his progression.
A 12/1 shot for the RSA Chase last season, Dounikos is held in high regard by his trainer Elliott, who is looking to bag a third National victory after Tiger Roll (2018) and Silver Birch (2007) bagged him the coveted crown, and in Dounikos he could have a horse that is tailor-made for Aintree's unique test and he marks terrific value.
Ms Parfois - 10st 2lbs - Trainer: Anthony Honeyball
Currently 52nd on the list of entries, Ms Parfois will need a fair few runners to come out of the field in order to make it into the 40-strong line-up, but the Anthony Honeyball-trained starlet is another with oodles of stamina and could shape into a lively Grand National contender.
A sound jumper, the mare was a fine runner-up in the four-miler at the Cheltenham Festival to Rathvinden, and she showed that she can perform at shorter distances when finishing second again in the Mildmay Novices' Chase at Aintree last year. Sixth in the Ladbrokes Trophy earlier this season, Ms Parfois looks to have been handed an eye-catching racing weight of 10st 2lbs and with more improvement to come this season the lightly-raced contender should go close.
General Principle - 10st - Trainer: Gordon Elliott
Gordon Elliott has 16 of the top 70 horses in the handicap for the 2019 Grand National, so it's no surprise we have opted for a second contender trained by the Irish handler. Number 63 on the list is General Principle, who already has an Irish Grand National victory on his CV and is capable of running a huge race in the English version on April 6.
Third to the aforementioned Dounikos in the Punchestown National Trial earlier in the season, General Principle has shown that he produces his best displays in the spring time, and while he has put up some decent efforts this season it's the end of the season he can produce the goods, and he will have a monster chance if scraping in at the bottom of the handicap.
Watch General Principle Win The 2018 Irish Grand National Here: