Auroras Encore may have been regarded as a relative no hoper in the 2013 Grand National betting at 66/1, but in hindsight, a number of factors highlighted that a big run could be expected at Aintree.
In the previous year’s Scottish Grand National, Auroras Encore took second off a 6lb higher mark to Aintree, was relatively lightly raced over fences and was in the optimum age group of being nine, 10 or 11.
A top-three finish in either of the English, Irish, Welsh or Scottish Nationals in the previous 18 months is a good starting point to indicate whether a horse has the desired stamina to see out the 4m4f marathon.
A solid hurdles rating goes some way to proving if a horse has that extra touch of class to win a Grand National, while those to have had few starts over fences could still find improvement.
Tidal Bay fits the first two of these points, but his age of 13 is a concern and his price of 14/1 doesn’t offer a great deal of value.
Instead, Hawkes Point is the one that stands out and could well prove overpriced at 33/1 in the Grand National betting.
Hawkes Point finished second by a head in the Welsh National over Christmas to Mountainous, but will meet the same rival at Aintree on 2lb better terms.
All Hawkes Point does is stay and he can be forgiven for a below-par effort in the Haydock Grand National Trial, where a couple of early lethargic mistakes prevented him from ever really getting into contention.
The good news from this though is that Hawkes Point would probably be around 16/1 to win the Grand National had he finished in the first three at Haydock.
Also on his side is that he is one of the safest jumpers in the field, as he has never fallen over or unseated his rider, is trained by Paul Nicholls and has experience of the specialist demands of Aintree, having raced at the course before.
Having competed in Grade 1 company over hurdles, finished second in a Welsh National and never fallen, Hawkes Point has to make the Grand National shortlist at 33/1.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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