Aintree 2015: Crabbie’s Grand National preview (16:15)
A field of 39 take to post for the feature contest at Aintee, the 2015 Grand National (16:15) and, with Coral paying out on the first five, First Lieutenant and Soll looking decent each-way value in a classy renewal.
First Lieutenant is a three-time Grade 1 winner who has been out of form this season, but could be well-treated if the unique National fences and refitting of the cheek-pieces spark him back to life.
The Mouse Morris trained 10-year-old is on a long losing run having not scored since landing a Grade 1 contest over the Mildmay fences at the track back in 2013.
However, First Lieutenant did run a cracker to finish runner-up to Boston Bob in the Punchestown Gold Cup 12 months ago and, having once been rated as high as 170, is now able to race off 16lb lower.
That gives the gelding a big shout at the weights on the pick of his form, and Morris believes First Lieutenant has a better chance the Lastofthebrownies, who he saddled to finish fourth in the National in 1989.
First Lieutenant also has the services of the highly talented Nina Carberry in the saddle, who was seen to terrific effect earlier in the week when partnering On The Fringe to victory over the National fences in the Fox Hunters’ Chase.
Carberry looks the ideal partner for First Lieutenant, who is a terriffic jumper when on-song, and it would be a fairytale ending to the meeting if she can become the first ever woman to ride the winner of the world’s greatest steeplechase.
Soll already has experience over the National fences, having finished seventh to Auroras Encore in the 2013 running when trained by Jo Hughes and 11th in last year’s Crabbie’s Topham Chase.
The gelding joined David Pipe after pulling up in the Grade 1 Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris in May, and made a winning debut for his new handler when staying on dourly to beat Rebel Rebellion in a 3m veterans’ handicap chase at Exeter.
Soll followed-up in game fashion over 3m 3mf at Newbury, and as that race came after the weights had been unveiled for this is officially 7lb “well-in”.
It gives the 10-year-old an excellent chnace from a handicapping perspective, and Pipe knows what is required to win the race having saddled Compy Or Die to victory in 2008.
Soll also has the services of the in-form Tom Scudamore in the saddle, who is having hist best season ever, and everything looks in place for a big run.