Four to follow in the 2018 Grand National Steeplechase

Profile Picture: Vance Hanson

April 13th, 2018

As is my annual custom, a big April Saturday involving Triple Crown preps will be preceded with an action play in the Grand National Steeplechase, a 4 1/2-mile spectacle at Aintree in Liverpool, England, that is widely considered the most wagered on horse race in the world.

My general practice is to find four contenders among the 23 individual betting interests and back them in equal amounts. That worked for me in 2015 when Many Clouds prevailed at around 25-1 in the U.S. pools, and last year a four-horse box on my selections would have given readers a solid Exacta payoff as One For Arthur and Cause of Causes ran one-two at UK odds of 14-1 and 16-1, respectively.

Betting in U.S. pools on the Grand National isn't perfect as the 17 lowest-weighted horses are combined into a gigantic MUTUEL FIELD (#24). Seventeen for the price of one can be nice if, say, you can get 6-1 or higher. Keep in mind, though, that being low-weighted is a general reflection on those horses' relative talents.

Here are the four individual entries I'll be focusing my attention on:

#9 SHANTOU FLYER (20-1) has twice as many seconds as wins, including four straight this year. Nonetheless, he's more than capable on heavy ground and only pulled up four fences from home in last year's renewal when hampered. Relatively young at age eight, he might have more room for improvement.

#14 REGAL ENCORE (20-1) is generally hard to get a read on, but prepped well for this at Ascot in mid-February and was a respectable eighth in this event 12 months ago.

#21 PLEASANT COMPANY (20-1) was ninth as one of the more well-supported entries last year (11-1), but form this year has not been as good coming into this edition. Was esponsible for his own mistake at the Valentine's jump, and with a cleaner run can perhaps fare better. Handles testing ground and hails from the dangerous Willie Mullins yard.

#23 SAINT ARE (30-1) is another with shaky current form, but have to give him credit for placing in two of the last three Grand Nationals. Obviously in his element when faced with such a demanding ask, though lack of success on heavy ground is significant knock.

Post time for the Grand National is 12:15 p.m. (EDT) and can be watched and wagered on at Click here for FREE Aintree past performances.

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