Home » Grand National Tip: Hugh Taylor’s outsider selection for Aintree’s big race

Grand National Tip: Hugh Taylor’s outsider selection for Aintree’s big race

Attheraces.com’s resident tipster Hugh Taylor has one selection for tomorrow’s big race at Aintree – a 12/1 shot for Martin Brassil and JJ Slevin…

There isn’t much I like at the prices on day two at Aintree, so I’m going to put up my selection for Saturday’s big race today instead.

PANDA BOY is a progressive staying chaser who looks to have progressed again since being fitted with cheekpieces on his last two starts, and from a light weight he makes plenty of each-way appeal in the Randox Grand National (4.00 Aintree, Saturday).

For an eight-year-old he already has a fair amount of experience in big-field handicaps. He stayed on dourly when third in the Paddy Power Chase at Leopardstown in December 2022, and was one of five that pulled right away from the remainder in the Irish Grand National a year ago, the fact that he wasn’t quite as strong at the finish as those in front of him that day perhaps a reflection of the fact that he had departed early in his prep race the previous month.

After a couple of sighters in Graded races towards the end of 2023, he produced a career-best effort when runner-up in first-time cheekpieces returning to the Paddy Power Chase in December. He didn’t have anything like the pace of the impressive winner, Meetingofthewaters, but he plugged on doggedly to finish second in the manner of a horse who would be well suited by marathon trips.

Meetingofthewaters looked a long way ahead of his mark that day but having travelled best of all in the Ultima Handicap Chase at Cheltenham last time, his run flattened out in the closing stages and his stamina for this trip on tiring ground is questionable. Panda Boy is now 11lb better off with him and might be the better suited of the pair by this sort of trip.

Panda Boy’s only race this year came in a handicap hurdle at Leopardstown in February. Prominently ridden, he lost his pitch after a mistake three out and looked set to drop right away, only 14th rounding the final bend, but his stamina started to come into play, and he finished strongest of all into fourth place, beaten just over two lengths at the line.

If there’s a runner who’s going to improve significantly for a first try at this sort of trip it might be him, and it’s worth noting he was described as “big, weak and unfurnished” in his younger days, so it shouldn’t be surprising if he continues to progress. His trainer has only sent three individual horses to contest this race previously, but he saddled Numbersixvalverde to win this race in 2006, and Double Seven produced a career-best effort when third in 2010, whilst Longhouse Poet ran well for a long way before his earlier exertions paid in the closing stages when sixth two years ago.

It’s with a little reluctance that I’m deserting last year’s winner, the charismatic Corach Rambler, who does look the type who could defy all normal handicapping expectations, but having been available at double-figure odds on the morning of the race last year when carrying 10-05, I’m reluctant to get involved at much shorter odds under 11-06 this year.

Hugh’s Best bet:

Panda Boy – 1pt each-way- 4.00 Aintree