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Grand National: early betting

| 29.03.2017

We check how things are sizing-up at Aintree

The 2017 Grand National is fast approaching and you can jump the gun and secure your share of the early betting value by making your selections at Coral now. Click here to check-in on how the prices are shaping ahead of the 170th running of the Aintree spectacular.

Going on Saturday 8th April, we are now just a fortnight away from highlight of the year for horse racing followers, and it’s time for punters to get their affairs in order. Coral traders want to keep Vieux Lion Rouge close at the minute, and David Pipe’s eye-catching eight-year-old brings a record of 11 wins and two places from 21 career starts.

Vieux Lion Rouge is one of Tom Scudamore's weekend rides at Aintree.

Vieux Lion Rouge and Blaklion fancied

He was an impressive winner of the grade three Becher Handicap Chase over three-miles one-furlong at Aintree in December, grinding out Highland Lodge by a short-head in a bunch-finish. His jumping was a bit iffy that day though, which raises questions marks, although he followed that success with a win in a Grand National Trial Handicap Chase at Haydock in February. Beating race favourite Blaklion in convincing fashion, and did much to settle any nerves. Currently a 10/1 shot.

The Grand National winner will certainly come out of that race, if the odds are to be believed, with Team Twiston-Davies’ rep Blaklion leading the chasing pack at 14/1. The eight-year-old will travel to Liverpool in great form, having finished in the top-five in each of his last nine starts.

In fact, the only time he has finished outside of the first five in his career to date is when pulling up at Cheltenham in the Albert Bartlett in 2015, and falling at the same course later that year. He looked to have every chance of winning when coming down three from home. We can certainly forgive those, but jumping will be all-important on 8th April.

Horse Racing - Leopardstown Racecourse

Foxrock looks an option at a price – if he goes

Backers love a big price upset in the national, it’s what the race is famous for, and that could come in the form of Foxrock this year. Ted Walsh’s ambitious nine-year-old has confidence to burn at the minute, winning each of his last four – at Downpatrick, Thurles, Leopardstown and Gowran.

That run of victories have all come in Hunter Chases, the last by a solid winning distance in the Tetratema Cup over three-miles one-furlong. Nearest rival Maple Mons came home 13-lengths behind that day, but it may be better to wait that one out and see if he goes in the race. Foxrock is still there at the latter confirmation stages, but a go at the Irish National may be seen by connections as a better route. Coral have him priced at 20/1 if he does choose to have a crack at Aintree.

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Frank Monkhouse