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Aintree Grand National preview: Five value bets to fill Paddy’s FIVE places

by Sean Goff | March 30, 2013

5places_GN2013

Aintree Grand National | Five Place special

It’s the Aintree Grand National next Saturday (4.15pm) and to celebrate Paddy Power are paying 1/4 the odds the first FIVE places on the big race that is also now non-runner money back.

That’s right. We’re not paying three – as in most normal weekday races. We’re not paying four – well, it’s Saturday so we’re feeling a little-more-generous type of thing.

This is FIVE “have we really done this in the most watched race on the planet” places in the Aintree Grand National.

So forget the office sweep, forget your sister’s boyfriend’s well-dodgy tips and get ready to high-FIVE your mates in the pub if one of these little beauties romps home first, second, third, fourth or FIFTH next Saturday in the greatest race in the world.

1. Cappa Bleu 12/1

Fourth here last year when badly hampered by a faller and could easily go a couple of places better with a clear round and normal luck-in-running. Looks a solid each-way shout to keep your heart beating in your chest as they come to the last fence. Placed horses the year before normally get an extra bit of weight for a repeat bid – but Evan Williams’ runner is 2lb lower than last year. Great shout to go close.

2. Across the Bay 33/1

This one’s chances don’t seem obvious at first glance but he was second in a Listed Chase at Aintree in January before winning a decent stayers’ hurdle last time out. Could improve again after a wind operation and if taking to the Aintree fences for the first time will give you a run for your money. From the McCain yard that has produced Red Rum, Amberleigh House and Ballabriggs to win the world’s greatest race. Beat Cappa Bleu by 28l in the mud at Carlisle last November.

HORSE RACING: Grand National 2013

3. Ballabriggs 20/1

The 2011 winner and stablemate of Across the Bay finished sixth last season off a 10lb higher mark. Back to the same rating when winning the year before – he knows his way around this course blind-folded. If the ground doesn’t turn into a bog he could put his course and distance experience to good use and fill one of Paddy’s five places at a fair price.

4. Quel Esprit 33/1

Irish champion trainer Willie Mullins provides the short-price favourite On His Own but is the 2012 Irish Hennessy winner going to Aintree just to keep him company? Made his seasonal debut at Leopardstown just over a month ago when fourth to Cheltenham Gold Cup second Sir Des Champs when not 100 per cent tuned up. Neptune Collognes was the first grey in 50 years to win the National in 2012. If this Grade One winner returns to his 2012 form – could he be the second. Don’t rule out.

5. Lion Na Bearnai 40/1

Numbersixvalverde was the last Irish National winner to win ant Fairyhouse in 2005 and triumph at Aintree a year later but Lion na Bearnai looks to have been kept for this race all season since his 33/1 win on Easter Monday last year. A shock 50/1 winner in a Grade 2 chase at Navan before that – the softer the ground the better his chance of making the places.

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