Betting column: Preston North End can put Blades to the sword
32Red’s betting expert Jack Milner takes a look at Saturday’s Grand National at Aintree and PNE’s chances of reviving their bid to reach the play-off places
Preston North End’s long unbeaten run came to a crashing halt last weekend, in a disappointing 2-1 defeat at Reading.
A late goal from January signing Jayden Stockley proved ultimately a consolation for the visitors, who lost valuable ground on those in and amongst the play-off picture.
Wins elsewhere for Derby, Aston Villa and Bristol City saw Alex Neil’s side drop all the way down to t10th in the table, and points needed to make up ground on those with momentum above them in the play-off places. The task couldn’t be stiffer however, with Sheffield United and then Leeds arriving during the next week, but I can see PNE reviving their season, as they have done several times already this year, and think they offer punters plenty of value at 9/4 to win at Deepdale on Saturday; The Blades 11/8 and the draw 9/4.
It will be fascinating to see how the visitors react after last week’s shock home defeat to Bristol City, and 32Red reacted by easing Chris Wilder’s side to 4/6 from 1/2 to achieve promotion this term. PNE are a great price at 8/13 to avoid defeat on Saturday, in a result that should all-but consign the Blades to play-off football at the end of the season.
Back the 1-1 correct score at 13/2 with 32Red, and PNE 12/1 to nick it 2-1.
Tiger Roll heads to Liverpool bidding to become the first horse to win back-to-back renewals of the Grand National since the immortal Red Rum and 32Red make Gordon Elliott’s 10yo the 4/1 favourite to create history at Aintree on Saturday.
‘The Tiger’ is undoubtedly becoming something of a ‘People’s Horse’ and looked better than ever when winning the Cross Country Chase at last month’s Cheltenham Festival.
The gelding is 9lb than when scoring in the corresponding race 12 months ago and, is officially well-in according to the handicapper. However you undoubtedly need a lot of luck to win the National and at 4/1 I’m happy to look elsewhere.
Grand National prices from 32Red: Tiger Roll 4/1; Rathvinden 10/1; Vintage Clouds 12/1; Anibale Fly 14/1; Joe Farrell 14/1; Lake View Lad 14/1; 20/1 Bar; 1/5 1-2-3-4-5-6.
Mall Dini’s late defection means Just a Par is able to sneak in at the foot of the weights and he could cause something of a surprise at around the 80/1 mark.
I was at Aintree on Thursday when the heavens opened over Merseyside, and the extra rain is sure to make this stamina sapping test that much more difficult for those at the head of the weights on ground already described as ‘soft’ and likely to deteriorate further through the week.
David Pipe’s Vieux Lion Rouge has a great record over the National fences; a winner in the Becher 18 months ago and impressive in the same race in December. I expect him to out-run at 50/1, and likewise for stablemate, and Welsh National runner-up, Ramses de Teillee, who is probably too short now at 20s.
The ground appears to have scuppered the chances of both Minella Rocco and Singlefarmpayment, who both appreciate a sounder surface.
However, 2017 winner One For Arthur loves to get his toe in and will love any extra moisture underfoot. Lucinda Russell’s stable star caused brilliant scenes when winning under Derek Fox in the Liverpool sunshine two years ago and has great claims around the 25/1 mark.
My best bet is Lake View Lad (5.15) who has been a revelation this term for trainer Nick Alexander and, given his connections, this has always been the horse’s seasonal objective.
Owner Trever Hemmings just loves the National, winning with Hedgehunter, Ballabriggs and Many Clouds since the turn of the millennium and has long ear-marked Aintree for the progressive chaser.
He followed impressive wins in the Rehearsal and Rowland Meyrick Chases last year with an excellent third at the Cheltenham Festival and, should he stay the marathon trip, boasts excellent claims of making the frame with 32Red paying each-way punters six places.
Lake View Lad at 14/1 with 32Red
One For Arthur at 25/1 with 32Red
Vieux Lion Rouge at 50/1 with 32Red
Each Way 1/5 1-2-3-4-5-6
For all the latest odds head to www.32Red.com.