Grand National: Pinstickers' guide to Aintree runners & riders

By Frank KeoghBBC Sport
Crabbie's Grand National 2016
Venue: Aintree Date: Saturday, 9 April, 17:15 BST
BBC coverage: Commentary and updates on Radio 5 live; live text commentary, pinstickers' guide, sweepstake kit on BBC Sport website

BBC Sport's Frank Keogh's verdict: "It's a big ask to follow Red Rum by winning back-to-back Grand Nationals, but Many Clouds fits the bill. Holywell is quirky but talented, while Goonyella should be staying on at the finish."

1 Many Clouds, 2 Holywell, 3 Saint Are, 4 Morning Assembly, 5 Goonyella

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(Racecard number, horse, trainer, jockey, recent form, age, weight carried ie 11st 10lb is top weight)


Trainer: Oliver Sherwood Jockey: Leighton Aspell

Form: 1-6221 Age: 9 Weight: 11-10

Last year's winner attempting to become the first back-to-back victor since the legendary Red Rum in the 1970s. Jockey, who also won on Pineau De Re in 2014, seeking to make history with third consecutive victory. Enjoyed clearer preparation this time and looked impressive on Kelso warm-up. Potentially improving, classy, and could prove a tough nut to crack.

Rating: 9/10 Odds: 8-1


Trainer: Paul Nicholls Jockey: Noel Fehily

Form: 1-22P1 Age: 10 Weight: 11-08

Main contender for champion trainer. Seven Grade One wins at top level, including two in mid-season showpiece King George VI Chase, though failed to make the frame in three Cheltenham Gold Cup runs. Two from two in another big race over other fences at Aintree and scored a 20-length success in latest run, at Ascot in February. Bags of talent, has to answer question of whether stamina is there for gruelling trip of nearly four and a half miles.

Rating: 8/10 Odds: 12-1


Trainer: Mouse Morris IRE Jockey: Bryan Cooper

Form: 8432P Age: 11 Weight: 11-04

Consistent performer at the top level for several years, including a win and two second places at the Cheltenham Festival. Enjoys good ground, though toiled when finishing a distant 16th last year. Veteran trainer, whose son Tiffer died of suspected carbon monoxide poisoning in Argentina last year, one of the best around and scored emotional Irish Grand National success with Rogue Angel on Easter Monday.

Rating: 7/10 Odds: 33-1


Trainer: Paul Nicholls Jockey: Sam Twiston-Davies

Form: 783P-2 Age: 8 Weight: 11-03

Has never fallen despite making the odd blunder and was runner-up at Cheltenham on last outing in December. Trainer Paul Nicholls won the race, by the shortest distance of a nose, with Neptune Collonges in 2012. Victory this time could help him seal a 10th trainers' championship, in the face of opposition from Ireland's Willie Mullins, but Silviniaco Conti is rated the stable's leading contender.

Rating: 6/10 Odds: 50-1


Trainer: David Pipe Jockey: Tom Scudamore

Form: 535PP7 Age: 10 Weight: 11-02

Boasts some decent form including a narrow defeat by Silviniaco Conti in the Betfred Bowl at Aintree a year ago. Pipe family love the National - trainer won the race eight years ago with Comply Or Die and his father Martin famously triumphed 14 years earlier with Miinnehoma, owned by comic Freddie Starr. One of the more likely long shots to run well at a big price, and the choice of stable jockey.

Rating: 6/10 Odds: 66-1

6 O'FAOLAINS BOY (non-runner*)

Trainer: Rebecca Curtis Jockey: Brian Hughes

Form: P1P87 Age: 9 Weight: 11-01

Travelled well for a long way in last month's Cheltenham Gold Cup, then faded to finish seventh. Throws in the odd indifferent run, but beat some smart rivals when landing the 2014 RSA Chase at Cheltenham, before 18 months out injured. Welsh trainer looking to join Jenny Pitman, Venetia Williams and Sue Smith as the only women to saddle a Grand National winner.

Rating: 7/10 Odds: 33-1

* O'Faolains Boy was found to be lame on Saturday morning and withdrawn from the race.


Trainer: Enda Bolger IRE Jockey: Robbie Power

Form: 1-3455 Age: 8 Weight: 11-01

Part of the contingent for owner JP McManus, whose horses run in the green and gold colours of his local Limerick hurling club. Tricky one to be sure about. Won the Grade One Ryanair Gold Cup for novices at Fairyhouse last April. Hasn't scored since, though stayed on when fifth to Vautour at the Cheltenham Festival. Trainer renowned for producing winners of cross-country chases. Jockey won on Silver Birch in 2007.

Rating: 6/10 Odds: 50-1


Trainer: Willie Mullins IRE Jockey: Patrick Mullins

Form: 7U4828 Age: 12 Weight: 11-01

Entering the twilight of a distinguished career which featured an unlucky second in the 2014 Cheltenham Gold Cup. Drying ground would help his cause but has fallen twice in the National, and needs a leap of faith that he takes to the place this time around. Talented amateur jockey rides for his father, the Irish champion trainer.

Rating: 7/10 Odds: 40-1


Trainer: Neil Mulholland Jockey: Denis O'Regan

Form: 1F-662 Age: 9 Weight: 11-00

Looked a potential winner in last year's race for Northern Irish trainer, now based near Bath, but fell when leading five fences from home. Carries 5lb more this time. Second to The Last Samuri on most recent run, at Doncaster last month. Owned by a syndicate called the Stonehenge Druids. Jockey was second on Black Apalachi in 2010, the race won by AP McCoy on Don't Push It.

Rating: 8/10 Odds: 14-1


Trainer: Nicky Henderson Jockey: Jeremiah McGrath

Form: P3-15 Age: 9 Weight: 11-00

Enjoyed a sparkling 2013, winning the Topham Chase over the National fences at Aintree, and landing the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury. Nothing quite as grand since and was pulled up in the 2014 National. Trainer leads the all-time standings at Cheltenham Festival but still seeking first win in the National, where he has suffered seven first-race fallers. Debut ride for jockey.

Rating: 6/10 Odds: 33-1


Trainer: Paul Nicholls Jockey: Andrew Thornton

Form: P-2P40 Age: 10 Weight: 10-13

Hasn't really delivered on early promise and had a variety of issues, including a bout of piles at one stage. Runner-up to Triolo D'Alene in 2013 Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury, and was fifth in the National later in the season. Sent off a leading contender at 8-1 last year, he could only finish 17th. Still a nice ride for veteran jockey, who is just a few winners away from reaching the landmark of 1,000 career victories.

Rating: 6/10 Odds: 40-1


Trainer: Willie Mullins IRE Jockey: Nina Carberry

Form: F4/157 Age: 10 Weight: 10-13

High flyer before injury interrupted career, finishing second in the 2013 Cheltenham Gold Cup having won at the two previous Festivals. Successful return at Thurles but subsequently defeated twice in better company. One of the contenders, along with First Lieutenant and Rule The World, owned by the Gigginstown House Stud headed by Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary. Was due to be ridden by Ruby Walsh, but the two-time winner was ruled out with a broken wrist after two falls on Friday. Walsh was replaced by sister-in-law Nina Carberry, four times a finisher in five Grand National starts.

Rating: 7/10 Odds: 40-1


Trainer: Jonjo O'Neill Jockey: Richie McLernon

Form: 3-54P2 Age: 9 Weight: 10-12

Fourth in last year's Cheltenham Gold Cup, his 2014 Aintree novice chase win stands out - well-beaten second Don Cossack won last month's Gold Cup, fourth-placed Many Clouds is defending National champion. Seems to thrive at this time of year. Trainer, who triumphed six years ago with Don't Push It ridden by AP McCoy, told me of slight preference for this one to stablemate Shutthefrontdoor. Compares him to narrow 2012 runner-up Sunnyhillboy.

Rating: 8/10 Odds: 14-1


Trainer: Jonjo O'Neill Jockey: Barry Geraghty

Form: 15-3P Age: 9 Weight: 10-11

The final Grand National ride for 20-time champion jockey AP McCoy before his retirement last year, was favourite and looked a potential fairytale winner as the race unfolded before running out of steam and finishing fifth. Winner of the 2014 Irish Grand National and likely to be nearer the front than back at the finish, though stamina has to be a concern when you reflect on 12 months ago.

Rating: 7/10 Odds: 20-1


Trainer: David Pipe Jockey: Conor O'Farrell

Form: 9-0413 Age: 11 Weight: 10-11

The selection of this pinstickers' guide last year, looked a leading player, travelling nicely before tiring and finishing ninth. Was seventh two years earlier, finished 11th in the 2014 Topham Chase and fourth in this season's Becher Chase, so knows how to negotiate the fences, but suspicion that his best chance may have gone and stable jockey Tom Scudamore has opted for Ballynagour.

Rating: 6/10 Odds: 50-1


Trainer: Evan Williams Jockey: Paul Moloney

Form: 5-3243 Age: 9 Weight: 10-10

Quirky. Jumping can be questionable though hasn't fallen since April 2013. Narrow second in the Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham earlier in the season. Owned by pharmacist Hywel Jones - he and his Welsh trainer had the first winner, Plunkett, at the new Ffos Las racecourse in 2009. Jockey Paul Moloney has finished in the National first four seven years running aboard Alvarado, Cappa Bleu and State Of Play.

Rating: 7/10 Odds: 66-1


Trainer: Willie Mullins IRE Jockey: Paul Townend

Form: 0-50P1 Age: 11 Weight: 10-10

High class on his day, the winner of four Grade One races. When trainer revealed, in a phone interview at a pre-National lunch, that Ruby Walsh would probably ride, a cock crowed in the background. But Ruby is now on Sir Des Champs. Was it some kind of sign? Anyway…my father-in-law has a mate from Boston, called Bob. So maybe worth a few bob.

Rating: 7/10 Odds: 33-1


Trainer: Venetia Williams Jockey: Henry Brooke

Form: 411209 Age: 12 Weight: 10-10

Trainer became only the second woman to triumph when winning the race in 2009 with 100-1 shot Mon Mome, and this horse is given a similar chance. Owned by Brighton and Hove Albion chairman Tony Bloom, he'll be looking for the same sort of form the promotion-chasing Seagulls have been showing. Aachen did notch up a decent victory off a low weight at Cheltenham in December, and would benefit from rain-softened ground.

Rating: 6/10 Odds: 100-1


Trainer: Pat Fahy IRE Jockey: Davy Russell

Form: 33-224 Age: 9 Weight: 10-09

Has a few of the Irish shrewdies looking in this direction. Must have schooled well. Will need a textbook round, but could be capable judged on third-placed finish in the RSA Chase at the Cheltenham Festival two years ago. Also ran really well back at Cheltenham last month, and fits the age profile for winners. Could the story be Morning glory?

Rating: 8/10 Odds: 25-1


Trainer: Nigel Twiston-Davies Jockey: Ryan Hatch

Form: -24599 Age: 10 Weight: 10-09

One for the followers of TV show Friends perhaps, although has been pretty friendless in the betting. Last win came 15 runs ago, and it would be a major surprise if he doubled up here. Fifth in Grand Sefton Chase over National fences earlier in the season. Trainer has won the race twice - with Earth Summit in 1998 and Bindaree four years later.

Rating: 6/10 Odds: 66-1


Trainer: Jim Dreaper IRE Jockey: Jonathan Burke

Form: 2-3942 Age: 10 Weight: 10-09

Marathon trip should suit horse who won 2015 Midlands National on soft ground and was Scottish Grand National runner-up in better conditions. Last of nine in the Becher Chase over the National fences this term. Missed the cut in both 2014 and 2015, could it be third time lucky? Trainer, son of Tom who oversaw legendary chaser Arkle's career, has lots of big-race wins to his name. Rode Black Secret to second 45 years ago and trained him to finish third 12 months later.

Rating: 8/10 Odds: 20-1


Trainer: Gordon Elliott Jockey: Daryl Jacob

Form: 1P-623 Age: 8 Weight: 10-08

Switched to current stable in Ireland from France, where he won eight of 21 races, to be prepared for the National by man who triumphed with Silver Birch in 2007 and celebrated Cheltenham Gold Cup success with Don Cossack last month. Half-brother to fellow National runner Silviniaco Conti, has showed up well in Irish races. Daryl Jacob, who won on Neptune Collonges in 2012, replaces Jacques Ricou, who took the horse on a wide route last time out.

Rating: 7/10 Odds: 33-1


Trainer: Paul Nicholls Jockey: Nick Scholfield

Form: 80312 Age: 8 Weight: 10-08

A half-brother to My Will, who was third in 2009, Unioniste started as a 16-1 shot for the 2015 race, but fell at the fifth fence. Second on last run, at Kelso, to National winner Many Clouds. Trainer and owner John Hales - a toy tycoon who made a fortune selling Teletubbies dolls - combined with another grey, Neptune Collonges, to win four years ago. You have to go back a tinky-winky bit longer for the last grey to triumph before that - Nicolaus Silver in 1961.

Rating: 7/10 Odds: 33-1


Trainer: Lucy Wadham Jockey: Harry Skelton

Form: P02615 Age: 8 Weight: 10-08

Seeking to become the first winner trained at Newmarket, famed for its flat racing runners rather than those over jumps, since Gregalach in 1929. Steady jumper, booked ticket to ride at Liverpool with Sandown victory in February. Trainer lists Silviniaco Conti and Holywell as stand-out horses in the race.

Rating: 6/10 Odds: 40-1


Trainer: Tony Martin IRE Jockey: Mark Walsh

Form: 3-1U75 Age: 10 Weight: 10-08

Owned by millionaire JP McManus, famed for his betting prowess, and Gallant Oscar was the subject of significant support in the week before the race. Bought by McManus just before the 2015 Scottish Grand National for which he was a late withdrawal due to drying ground when favourite. Went on to win well at Punchestown Festival for shrewd trainer, although the owner's retained jockey Barry Geraghty has sided with Shutthefrontdoor.

Rating: 7/10 Odds: 20-1


Trainer: Philip Hobbs Jockey: Tom O'Brien

Form: 1-1225 Age: 7 Weight: 10-08

Novice who is bidding to become the first seven-year-old to win the race since Bogskar in 1940. Running for Judith Luff, the widow of 1986 winner West Tip's owner Peter. Just three runs over fences but could be improving. Jockey, the nephew of top flat racing trainer Aidan O'Brien, finished second on McKelvey in 2007.

Rating: 6/10 Odds: 40-1


Trainer: Kim Bailey Jockey: David Bass

Form: 12-311 Age: 8 Weight: 10-08

Won eight of his 14 races and rated 12lb 'well-in' at the weights by official handicapper after 10-length Doncaster victory. Trainer one of few to win the Champion Hurdle, Cheltenham Gold Cup and Grand National. Triumphed at Aintree with Mr Frisk in 1990 but had some lean spells before bouncing back at his current Gloucestershire base. Owners Paul and Clare Rooney also have Kruzhlinin.

Rating: 8/10 Odds: 10-1


Trainer: Philip Hobbs Jockey: Richard Johnson

Form: 72-15 Age: 9 Weight: 10-07

German-bred finished 10th in the National when trained by Donald McCain. Switched to Philip Hobbs (second twice with What's Up Boys in 2002 and Balthazar King 2014) at start of season. Won well when beating Le Reve at Kempton in January before fifth at Cheltenham last month behind Aintree rivals Holywell and Morning Assembly. Champion jockey-elect seeks first Grand National win at 20th attempt.

Rating: 6/10 Odds: 25-1


Trainer: Mouse Morris IRE Jockey: David Mullins

Form: S32254 Age: 9 Weight: 10-07

Like a bit of Take That? Expect to hear their popular ditty Rule The World if this triumphs. Trained, like First Lieutenant by the enigmatic Mouse Morris, who is an odds-on shot to be chain smoking his way through proceedings. Second in last season's Irish Grand National but owners' retained jockey has plumped for First Lieutenant.

Rating: 7/10 Odds: 40-1


Trainer: Paul Nicholls Jockey: Sean Bowen

Form: 31-092 Age: 9 Weight: 10-06

One of six contenders for nine-times champion trainer who is seeking a 10th title in the face of opposition from Ireland's Willie Mullins. This is not the main hope on paper, though worth consideration based on his victory in the Bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown in April 2015. Jockey, now 18, was only three years older than one of the runners, Oscar Time, last year. Second ride in the National after finishing 11th on Mon Parrain. Just A Par might be just one for the golf fans in Masters week.

Rating: 6/10 Odds: 50-1


Trainer: Venetia Williams Jockey: Will Kennedy

Form: 0/P-P0 Age: 10 Weight: 10-06

Two good wins on soft and heavy ground three years ago but little to show since. Rain could theoretically help the cause and trainer did win with 100-1 shot Mon Mome seven years ago but surely a similar shock couldn't happen again? Pulled up in two of last three starts suggests not.

Rating: 5/10 Odds: 66-1


Trainer: Dermot McLoughlin IRE Jockey: Robert Dunne

Form: 2-85P6 Age: 13 Weight: 10-06

Racing presenter and commentator Gary O'Brien will find the National a test on two fronts this year. The At The Races frontman is part of BBC Radio 5 live's commentary team, and also has a share in Vics Canvas. Will hope for a clear round, though is realistic about chances of victory. The horse is 13 and no teenager has won for more than 90 years.

Rating: 6/10 Odds: 66-1


Trainer: Paul Nicholls Jockey: Sam Waley-Cohen

Form: 57-0U6 Age: 9 Weight: 10-06

Twelfth at Cheltenham and unseated rider in this season's Welsh National. Beat favourite Many Clouds in a novice chase at Haydock back in 2013 but sixth of eight runners on last outing, and champion trainer appears to have better chances elsewhere of a second National triumph. Late booking for jockey, who has won six times over the National fences in other races, after horse was sold to new owners on Thursday.

Rating: 5/10 Odds: 66-1


Trainer: Willlie Mullins IRE Jockey: Katie Walsh

Form: B-4935 Age: 9 Weight: 10-06

"A fabulous jumper with a nice weight," - so says trainer Willie Mullins. The grey was going OK when brought down early on by Balthazar King in 2015. Beat this year's Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Don Cossack as a novice, but yet to succeed beyond two miles and six furlongs, and this is much further. Runs in the name of Susannah Ricci, wife of shades-wearing American banker Rich Ricci - his actual name. They have top horses including Vautour and Annie Power.

Rating: 7/10 Odds: 66-1


Trainer: Nicky Henderson Jockey: Nico de Boinville

Form: 1/6P-7 Age: 9 Weight: 10-06

Well thought of early in career, and was third in the RSA Chase won by subsequent Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Lord Windermere. Claimed the season's big chasing finale at Sandown over three miles and five furlongs in April 2014 but plagued by injury since and has raced just once since January 2015. Jockey won Champion Chase last month on Sprinter Sacre and rode Coneygree to victory in the Cheltenham Gold Cup last year.

Rating: 5/10 Odds: 50-1


Trainer: David Pipe Jockey: James Reveley

Form: 111U26 Age: 7 Weight: 10-05

I'm sure you don't need me to tell you the name of this French-bred translates into English as Old Red Lion, so could be the toast of pubs bearing the same name. Clocked up a hat-trick earlier in the season, before form tailed off. The stats are also against a seven-year-old winning,

Rating: 5/10 Odds: 66-1


Trainer: Charlie Longsdon Jockey: Aidan Coleman

Form: 45-15 Age: 8 Weight: 10-05

Lightly raced since finishing 10th in the Irish Grand National two years ago, and won at Ascot in October. Interesting jockey booking - he normally rides for Venetia Williams, who runs Aachen and Katenko. Having said all of that, the lack of a victory beyond two miles and seven furlongs is an issue. This is the best part of two miles further.

Rating: 5/10 Odds: 66-1


Trainer: Tom George Jockey: Paddy Brennan

Form: 12-671 Age: 10 Weight: 10-05

Runner-up last year, beaten less than two lengths. Is now 2lb better off at the weights with the winner. Trained by Tom George in Laurie Lee country in the Cotswolds, the stable has been firing in plenty of winners lately. With a bit of equine intervention, there's plenty who think the Saint could go marching in too, though soft ground might temper enthusiasm slightly.

Rating: 8/10 Odds: 16-1


Trainer: Henry de Bromhead IRE Jockey: Andrew Lynch

Form: 7P8-46 Age: 9 Weight: 10-04

Irish handicapper told me he was the best-weighted horse - but that was for the 2014 race - and ended up running in the Irish version where he was pulled up. Did finish third in the Irish Grand National three years ago, and trainer did send out Sizing Europe to many big-race successes. However, despite low weight, there appear to be more logical candidates.

Rating: 6/10 Odds: 100-1


Trainer: Rebeccca Curtis Jockey: Trevor Whelan

Form: 77F38 Age: 9 Weight: 10-04

Named in honour of the former Arsenal midfielder Ray Parlour. The ex-midfielder has no connection with the horse but says he will be backing it. Trained in Wales for stable that came close with the third-placed Teaforthree three years ago. You never know but the Gunners are a much shorter price to lift the Premier League than The Romford Pele is for the big race.

Rating: 6/10 Odds: 50-1

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