With the Cheltenham Festival 2020 taking place this week, all eyes will be turned to Prestbury Park. But savvy Grand National punters will also be keeping a close watch on those that have entries into both festivals.
A good run, a solid win or place and almost instantly the Grand National 2020 odds will change. Imagine if Tiger Roll wins the Glenfarclas Chase again? Imagine if he doesn’t! Of course he’s not the only dual entry and there are plenty of great chasers who are also intending to head to Aintree next month.
High Profile Dual Festival Entries
Starting with the highest rated Grand National runners after Tiger Roll is Bristol De Mai. The Nigel Twiston-Davies trained 9yo is entered into the Gold Cup, the same race that he finished third in last season. As part of his prep he ran in the Cotswold Chase to finish second in January. However, despite five runs at Cheltenham, he has never won there. Will 2020 change that?
Another Gold Cup runner, Elegant Escape, is looking for his first Cheltenham win. This will be his fourth consecutive festival with his best finish coming in 2018 when he placed third in the RSA Chase.
The Pertemps Network Hurdle is proving popular for a number of potential runners with dual entries. Though not yet finally declared, the likes of The Storyteller, Dingo Dollar and Tout Est Permis could line up on Thursday for the 3m race run on the new course. With quite long odds for the National, a good win at Cheltenham could boost the horse racing event for any of them and shorten their odds accordingly.
Ultima & Grand National Runners
With a decent distance of 3m1f, it is the Ultima that attracts quite a few potential National runners. Also a handicapped chase, this is a solid prep race for the Aintree spectacular and this year there are six entries that cross over both races.
Vintage Clouds is the highest profile of the group and until recently wasn’t even going to be aimed at the 2020 Grand National. His past performances at the course had led trainer Sue Smith to aim him elsewhere. However, on speaking to owner Trevor Hemmings, the plan was revised and depending on the outcome of the Ultima, the grey looks set to head back to Aintree.
Kildisart from trainer Ben Pauling is a short-priced favourite for the Ultima on general odds of 8/1. Primed for the race, he was fourth in the JLT last season and followed that up with a win at Aintree in the Betway Handicap Chase. Though he hasn’t won a race this season, Pauling is very happy with him and relishing the trip to Cheltenham.
— Ben Pauling Racing (@benpauling1) February 11, 2020
Atlanta Ablaze is one of the few mares entered in both races this year. Trained by Henry Daly, she is around 20/1 for the Ultima but a spot in the National is not yet guaranteed. But with another couple of scratching stages yet to come she could very well line-up in both. Expect her odds of 66/1 to drop significantly if she has a good run in the Ultima.
Likely to go in the Ultima but less likely to run in the Grand National 2020 are Cogry, Townshend and Soupy Soups all of which are currently too far down the list of entries so realistically make the cut.
Other Notable Entries
Shattered Love and Death Duty from Gordon Elliott and Pleasant Company from Willie Mullins could be going head-to-head in the Brown Advisory and Merriebelle Stable Plate on Day 3. A much shorter Handicap Chase, it is a good opportunity to give a horse a run without too much exertion ahead of the National.
Ramses De Teillee, one of our tips for the 2020 Grand National, looks set to run in the Albert Barlett Novices Hurdle on the last day of the Festival. With great form over the smaller obstacles this season, he has won three of his four hurdle starts. Already 20/1 for the National, expect those odds to plummet if he can win at Cheltenham.