Blogs Coffee House

The Grand National 2014: Could the ‘Royal Dude’ triumph?

5 April 2014

10:49 AM

5 April 2014

10:49 AM

Channel 4 have gone all out with their coverage of today’s Grand National (sponsored, for the first time, by Crabbie’s). As well as the race itself, the channel boasts of having devoted 20 hours of related programming. This included Jockey School – an insight into the Northern Racing College in Doncaster, and what they describe as the ‘troubled teens’ aiming to be the next AP McCoy – and How to win the Grand National, an insight into the breeding and science of race horses. And for those who complain that the National is cruel, it’s worthwhile bearing in mind that it was presented by a vet, Mark Evans.

Peta have already been calling for an end to the race, recommending that instead of calling for people to eat horsemeat, Princess Anne ‘campaign for an end to events such as the Grand National’. But, as Robin Oakley points out, changes to the race have reshaped it; last year’s race saw what he describes as ‘only two actual fallers’.

Robin Oakley also wrote back in February that his ‘three for glory’ would be:

‘Triolo D’Alene, Rebecca Curtis’s Teaforthree, who led approaching the last fence last year, and Monbeg Dude… [who] like Tidal Bay, has a Welsh National under his belt already’.


Teaforthree is, of course, this year’s favourite; here are some other tips, just in case you’re still unsure:

Freddy Gray, who writes our Speculator column:

‘I’m going for Long Run. He’s let me down before, but I’m keeping the faith.’

Polly Portwin, racing editor at Horse and Hound:

‘My heart seems to be overruling my head at the moment and I would just love Hunt Ball or Tidal Bay to win. However, I’m going for Quito De La Roque!’

Alysen Miller, producer of CNN’s Winning Post:

‘Although Long Run is not the force he once was, swashbuckling amateur Sam Waley-Cohen has a great track record around the Grand National course and it could be a case of ‘slow and steady wins the race’. Monbeg Dude, part-owned by the Queen’s wayward grandson-in-law Mike Tindall, would be a popular winner.’

Personally, I wonder whether Zara’s magic touch has managed to sort out Monbeg Dude’s jumping. If so, it would certainly be fun to have a royal winner of sorts. Long Run hasn’t had any star turns recently, but with the last amateur winner being Marcus Armytage in 1990, that would certainly make for headlines as well. I’m going for Shakalakaboomboom, though; he’s run it before… so maybe this time he’ll do it.

Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.

Show comments
  • HookesLaw


  • El_Sid

    Good servants though they’ve been, you can discount Tidal Bay and Long Run straight off – in the last 50 years only Red Rum has won carrying >11st 6, and there’s been some rain, the going is g/s.

    Although I like to see some form in other Nationals, I’m not sure about Monbeg Dude’s Welsh National win – it was a swamp where the horse carrying 10-1 won, and there’s not been much form to write home about since then.

    So FWIW I’ve gone for Balthazar King, with an each-way on Chance du Roy – I do like to see some form around the Aintree fences, and I like to see horses that are winners over 3+ miles.

    • El_Sid

      Hohum – 2nd and 6th is about as close as you’ll get without making any money! Great effort by the Hobbs stable. Pineau De Re was in my final three but just missed the cut – his only trip round Aintree had ended in a fall during the Becher, whereas BK had made it round OK in the last running of the National. I also wasn’t quite sure about the Ulster National as a piece of form.

  • P.chi ki wan

    Last time d’albain