2013 Grand National Form Guide
All 40 horses that line up for the 2013 Grand National will aim to bag the coveted title on April 6, but many horses will simply struggle to manufacture their way round the unique National course, whilst some will struggle to see out the extreme distance of 4m 4f.
So, we take a look at some of the horses to follow who we believe shouldn't struggle with the idiosyncrasies of the course and have also proven form when it comes to not only tackling the Grand National, but have performed admirably in long distance handicap chases.
2013 Grand National Form
On His Own
Willie Mullins's On His Own was fully expected to put up a good show in the 2012 Grand National, but the Irish raider failed to complete the course as he fell at Becher's Brook on the second circuit, but the Co. Carlow inmate will return to Aintree on April 6 and he is one of the leading principles in the 2013 Grand National Betting.
Having already bagged the Thyestes Chase last year, he showed on his solitary start this year that he oozes class and he duly stormed to a two-and-a-quarter length in the Grade Two Boyne Hurdle at Navan and that should work as a superb catalyst for another tilt at the Aintree challenge.
When winning the 2009 Foxhunters' Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, Cappa Bleu was touted as a future Grand National hope and he showed his ability over the National fences last year when finishing a gallant fourth to Neptune Collonges in what was a memorable renewal of the event.
Building on that fine effort, he was a decent second to Across The Bay in a graduation chase at Carlisle, before finishing second to the progressive Vino Griego in a Listed race at Ascot in February. Heading to Aintree in good form, Evan Williams' raider could well relish the step back up in trip and warrants significant respect.
Another placed horse in the 2012 Grand National, Seabass ran an absolute cracker under Katie Walsh for her father, Ted, and the exciting Irish star is set to line up again, as he looks to see out the marathon distance a little better after being able to quicken in the closing stages last year.
Kept over hurdles on his first start this season, the ten-year-old was not disgraced when finishing second to the speedy Dermot Weld-trained charge Rock Critic. Walsh then handed him the Bobbyjo Chase as his next assignment and he could only finish third behind Roi Du Mee and Prince De Beauchene, so he has some form to find if he is to bag the coveted trophy on April 6.
Gordon Elliott has already bagged one Grand National, when winning it with Silver Birch in 2007, but the Irish handler will fancy his chances of landing another prize with the exciting Chicago Grey, who will take his second attempt at the Aintree spectacle having been brought down at the fifth fence last year.
Having disappointed on several occasions this season with some mediocre efforts, Chicago Grey showed his true ability when causing a 25/1 shock in the Grade Two Red Mills Chase at Navan and following that impressive victory in February he was cut in the 2013 Grand National betting. A winner over four miles, he showed that he should have no problem with the distance and he has to be a contender if repeating that Navan win.
Ted Walsh's Colbert Station will head into the 2013 Grand National in sensational form and could well be a horse still on the upgrade as he aims to hand his Irish trainer another win in the race, after he saddled Papillon to victory in 2000.
Second in a competitive hurdle race at Navan, the nine-year-old was then an emphatic five-and-a-half length winner of the Paddy Power Chase at Leopardstown over the Christmas period, before a return to the hurdling sphere saw him notch up back-to-back wins at Punchestown.
This will be another step up as he returns to the chasing game, but he is obviously in magnificent order and if he takes to the uniqueness of the challenge then has to have a chance and is another leading Irish raider.
When winning the 2012 Cheltenham Festival four-miler Teaforthree propelled into the Grand National reckoining, but Rebecca Curtis has gradually progressed the nine-year-old and he showed when finishing a decent sixth behind Bobs Worth in the Hennessy Gold Cup that he could be a major player in the Aintree event.
He improved on that Newbury performance and was just touched off by Monbeg Dude in the Welsh National over the festive period, but he then disappointed when 10th of 14 in the Betfred Grand National Trial at Haydock Park and Curtis will be hoping that a trip to Aintree can galvanise him and he can challenge for honours.
One of the unluckiest losers in the history of the Grand National, Sunnyhillboy was caught by Neptune Collonges in the shadow of the post and will now return to Aintree on April 6 aiming to go one better and finally win the coveted marathon crown.
Sent over hurdles on his first start of the season, Jonjo O'Neill's raider could only finishing fixth of 16 in the competitive Haydock event, whilst he was pulled up next time out at Warwick, before being declared a non-runner from the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
However, he showed last year that he relishes the Grand National and if he can recapture last season's form then he has to be a lively player off a 10lb higher mark in the 2013 renewal.
Paul Nicholls will hope that he can notch back-to-back wins in the Grand National and Join Together could spearhead the Ditcheat charge and if he can build on his fine second behind Hello Bud in the Becher Chase then he will have to come into calculations.
Unable to get the better of Nigel Twiston-Davies' veteran, Join Together showed he enjoyed tackling the Aintree fences and even though he was pulled up in the Grimthorpe Chase last time out he could be a layer if relishing the unique task again and is a leading homegrown player.
One of the class acts of the 2013 Grand National, Imperial Commander has a glittering CV that has seen him not only win the Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, but also the Cheltenham Gold Cup, but at the age of 12 can he recapture that old form to land a blow in this tough assignment.
Plagues by injuries over the last couple of years, Nigel Twiston-Davies' raider ran a cracker behing Cape Tribulation in the Argento Chase a feew months ago, but was forced to miss the 2013 Gold Cup, so this could well be plan B, but if he is at his best then even with top weight he will be a tough nut to crack.
There's not one horse in the 40-strong National field that has blossomed over the Aintree fences as much as Always Waining, as the Peter Bowen-trained veteran has won the Topham Chase for the last three years over the unique obstacles and he is now aiming to etch his name in the big time.
He may struggle to land a blow at other tracks, but he has shown as soon as he smells the Merseyside air then he comes to light and with proven form over the course then has to be one of the potential outsiders who could feature prominently up the elbow.
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