Horse Racing

2.25 Aintree Tips: Can they catch the Outlaw?

The second race on Grand National day is the Village Hotels Handicap Hurdle. 22 runners are set to go to post and its competitive, make no mistake about that.

Grand National Tips
Photo by Icon Sport

Big outsiders don’t thrive in this race

Perhaps a good place to start is the fact that outsiders have a poor recent record in this race. Big-field handicap hurdles such as this one often provide punters with the opportunity to uncover one at a large price, though recent history tells us that the winner of this race usually comes from near the top of the betting.

Last year, Party Business won at 11/2, while the 2021 winner came home at an SP of 6/1. In 2019, Aux Ptits Soins got the job done at 11/1, which in a race of this nature is by no means a big price. In fact, only two of the last ten winners of this contest have returned at odds greater than 11/1, with Cape Tribulation winning at 14/1 in 2012 and Ubak emerging victorious at 16/1 in 2016.

Which horses stand out?

If we are to focus mainly on those towards the top of the market, then there are plenty to choose from as this is a typically competitive betting heat.

Good Time Jonny rates as the early favourite having won at the Pertemps Cheltenham, but he’s been slapped with a 5lb rise for that victory and now must give weight away all round. For me, that makes him vulnerable.

West Balboa should not be discounted for the Skelton’s, so much so that it would be anything but surprising if that one was sent off as favourite for this. The mare is highly unexposed, while she kept on well to win the ultra competitive Lanzarote Hurdle at Kempton in January. That’s arguably the best form on offer. Kept for this since, she’s a big player for connections who simply love a handicap of this nature.

An Tailliur was a big eye-catcher at Cheltenham. He finished sixth behind Good Time Jonny, staying on well up the run in after being denied a clear route when it mattered most. If he can get a proper passage through here, do not be surprised if the Jonjo O’Neill runner lays down a big challenge.

Another who really catches the eye, and one who can be backed at a slightly bigger price is Outlaw Peter. Trained by Paul Nicholls, the seven-year-old looked a decent sort when winning a novice event at Wincanton in early March, while he made quite a sizable leap forward when scoring readily at Kempton in Class 2 company three weeks later. The form of that race hasn’t been full franked by any means, though it’s quite promising that the horse who finished in fourth went on to place in yesterday’s William Hill Handicap Hurdle at this venue.

Best Bet: Outlaw Peter (each-way) @ 12/1

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