The Grand National is the world’s most famous and spectacular horse race. Horse racing fans look forward to the Aintree showpiece for months, and rightly so.
Making Grand National tips and predictions is challenging enough on the day of the race. But as we count down to the 2022 renewal, it’s already possible to pick out horses in contention to add their names to the roll of honour.
Many owners and trainers will have the 2022 Grand National as their target all season, so it will be fascinating to see which horses emerge as most fancied in the Grand National odds as the great race draws near.
Amid all the justifiable excitement around Rachael Blackmore’s historic achievement in becoming the first woman to ride the Grand National winner, the performance of her equine partner was a little bit overlooked. MINELLA TIMES ran an absolute stormer to land the 2021 Grand National odds. At no point in the final half-mile of the gruelling test did any other horse look remotely like beating JP McManus’s eight-year-old to the line. The fact that Tiger Roll recorded back-to-back victories in 2018 and 2019 also proves that it can be done in the modern era. Minella Times will still be only nine in April, the prime age for Grand National winners down the years, and will surely attract more than his fair share of Aintree tips.
He carried only 10st 3lb to victory, and can expect a hefty hike in the weights, but he fully deserves his place at the head of the Grand National odds at this stage. McManus loves this race and, should Minella Times not make it to Aintree, it’s a safe bet he will have plenty of other contenders – such as ANY SECOND NOW. This nine-year-old put up a terrific show to finish third in 2021, having been badly hampered early in the race, and will be one of the Grand National top tips if he turns up again.
SECRET REPRIEVE was a popular Grand National prediction after his extremely impressive victory in the Welsh National. He was just too low in the weights to make the 2021 line-up – and would have had to overcome the fact that no seven-year-old has won the Grand National since 1940. But he will surely be one of the most popular Grand National tips if he gets there in 2022. So will TIME TO GET UP, yet another McManus horse, who showed an excellent attitude to win the Midlands Grand National at Uttoxeter and looks sure to be one of the most popular Aintree tips.
The National Hunt Challenge Cup at Cheltenham could turn out to be one of the most significant pointers to the best Grand National betting tips for 2022. The way GALVIN stormed to the front and powered up the hill that day reinforced the point that this was a seven-year-old staying chaser of exceptional promise.
Victory in the Cotswolds rounded off a perfect season of five wins from five outings, and trainer Ian Ferguson will be plotting a course through the next campaign that leads to Aintree. The owners’ Rathvinden was a good third to Tiger Roll in 2019 and there is every chance that Galvin will be one of the Grand National top tips to extend Irish trainers’ recent domination of the race.
The horse who finished second to Galvin at Cheltenham, NEXT DESTINATION, could also be one of the main contenders for Aintree glory. The nine-year-old, who was off the track for two-and-a-half years, during which he moved from Willie Mullins’s yard to Paul Nicholls, put up several good performances through the winter. It will be intriguing to see if he builds on that promise and becomes one of the leading Aintree tips for 2022. It will also be interesting to see if TIGER ROLL returns for one last tilt at the race, having earned immortality by being the first dual winner since Red Rum. He was robbed of his chance to make it three in a row in 2021 by his owners’ ridiculous hissy fit over the weight he was allocated. He since showed with his amazing victory in the Cross-Country Chase at Cheltenham that he retains much of his old fire and, if he turns up at Aintree as a 12-year-old in 2022 and wins, he’ll bring the house down.
CLOTH CAP came to the 2021 race with everything in his favour and topped the Grand National odds on the day. He put up a good show until stopping quickly on the second circuit and, if his wind is sorted out, must be a contender to set the record straight in 2022.
Three Irish horses who trailed home in the wake of Minella Times and Rachael Blackmore are among those who deserve to be Grand National outsider tips for the 2022 renewal. BALKO DES FLOS finished runner-up despite being, at 100/1, the longest priced of the 10 Irish horses who finished in the first 11 at Aintree that day. Henry De Bromhead, who also trained the winner after dominating proceedings at Cheltenham, clearly had the Midas touch at the time because Balko Des Flos had showed little during the season. Having excelled at Aintree once, however, he will attract his fair share of Grand National tips should he return in 2022.
Two places behind him in 2021 was BURROWS SAINT. He won the 2019 Irish Grand National in great style, a victory that was one of Ruby Walsh’s last before he retired, and attracted many a Grand National prediction in the countdown to Aintree. Burrows Saint put up a mighty performance and looked like he might challenge Minella Times turning for home. But as jockey Patrick Mullins vividly put it, his stamina evaporated “like air out of a balloon”. He will be nine in 2022 and it’s arguable that, given a more conservative ride, he might be able to see out the full trip this time.
The horse he beat home by two lengths on that occasion was FARCLAS, who put up a performance of huge promise for a seven-year-old. This was Farclas’s first run at more than three miles, and he showed by the way he stayed on up the run-in to finish fifth that the distance clearly suited him. It will be fascinating to see how he is campaigned during the winter, but it will be disappointing if Aintree is not the grey’s final destination.
Another horse who deserves his share of Grand National outsider tips at massive odds is FREEWHEELIN DYLAN, who pulled off an extraordinary victory in the 2021 Irish Grand National. The nine-year-old, trained by Dermot McLoughlin, went off a 150/1 shot at Fairyhouse. Having led most of the way, looked likely to be swamped as a huge bunch of challengers amassed as they turned for home. But Freewheelin Dylan had other ideas and stayed on gamely to pull off an enormous shock. Could he do the same at massive Grand National odds at Aintree?
The options at JP McManus’s disposal dominate the thoughts of experts looking to make some very early Grand National tips and predictions for 2022. As the Tote point out, it is likely that MINELLA TIMES will be lightly campaigned on the road to a bid to repeat his 2021 victory. However, while he can expect a thumping increase in the weight he’ll have to carry at Aintree, ANY SECOND NOW might escape the same punishment after finishing third in 2021. TIME TO GET UP, who also wears the famous green and gold hoops, is “clearly laden with stamina and could be an Aintree candidate”, adds the Tote.
GALVIN, who shone so brightly at Cheltenham, also gets a favourable mention, as does Kim Bailey’s highly progressive HAPPYGOLUCKY, who won on so impressively over the conventional fences at the Aintree meeting in 2021.
grand-national.me.uk also flags up the chance of Happygolucky, advising readers to keep a close eye on the horse as the season progresses – and saying he could be carrying a fair weight of about 11 stone in the big race.
Reece Charlton at aintree.co.uk has a positive mention for Galvin and highlights the chance of SECRET REPRIEVE, such an emphatic winner of the Welsh Grand National. As Charlton points out, his current price could in hindsight look like extremely generous Grand National odds if Secret Reprieve continues to show progress in the countdown to Aintree 2022. Look out too for RUN WILD FRED, like Secret Reprieve a seven-year-old with an awful lot of promise for the future. He was runner-up in both the Thyestes Chase and the Irish Grand National and might have won the latter if he hadn’t made a mess of the last two fences.
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