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The John Smith's Grand National preview

And it all comes down to this, the Grand National. The race that stops the nation. Well, to a degree, it doesn't quite have the instilled tradition of placing a bet like the Melbourne Cup, but it does have the added publicity of a nationwide campaign from do-gooders with nothing better to do than protest about horses, who are treated like kings all year round, taking part in the sport's toughest sport. Spare me the sob story.... if you want to support a real organisation which works tirelessly to prevent the suffering of horses and donkeys, donate money to The Brooke. But that's not trendy is it?

Anyway, enough of the rant, time for an expert preview. None of my regulars chose to risk embarrassing themselves on the biggest day of the year (but the one the serious punters want to run away from), so I've found another expert from the GallopsLive website, Dean Ryan. Great format, running through the field runner-by-runner. Follow them on Twitter, @gallopslive.


Everything You Need To Know About The Grand National 2013

GallopsLive have asked Dean Ryan to spin through the runners of the 2013 Grand National at Aintree tomorrow.

A punter first, tipster second and no punches are pulled here!

1. Imperial Commander
Given a chance by the tinkering Phil Smith at the weights and a Gold Cup winner in the National is great for the race. Still has top weight, a new jockey and set backs to overcome since a return to the track in January. Best fresh but has been poor on second run back a few times, connections will hope he has had enough time to be fresh once more and that this place lights him up for a last hurrah. 16/1 and not for me. - Outside Place Chance **

2. What A Friend
Back again and seemingly only had eyes for the race this season with one prep outing. Touch of class but also a touch of the “woofs” about him with quirky head carriage and a wandering finish. Sam Thomas has a great record on him, but the weight is an issue once more and can be exuberant which makes it harder to get home. Headgear again on, entering the later years of his career and a little forgotten in the run up this year, there are worse 50/1 shots in the race. - Outside Place Chance **

3. Weird Al
The right stable for the race but this horse has been seriously out of form of late. Seems to have one race in him a year but that has been missing this time round and it’s very hard to see him get involved. Timmy Murphy will try to sit out the back and creep into the race late and hope to complete at 50/1. - No Chance *

4. Quel Esprit
Has a bit of class and can be a flashy jumper when on song. Will need everything to fall right for him off his current mark which is very high for the true merit of the form and whilst the price will appeal to some a big field and 11st 7lbs to carry make the 50/1 odds look about right to me. - No Chance *

5. Big Fella Thanks
Been in great form, jumps these fences fantastically well and connections have added a tongue tie to the mix in all four starts this season. That still is not going to be enough once he reaches the business and the petrol will run out once more. Should get round and will be thereabouts with a couple to jump, then close your eyes or hit the lay button, at 40/1 he could reach the back of the frame. - Outside Place Chance **

6. Seabass
Has another 8lbs on his back from last year so may not improve on the 3rd place in 2012. Katie is a super rider and likes to be positive which is no bad thing in this race avoiding trouble in behind so should get the adrenaline following again for supporters. Would be a fairytale story but with the punters hat on the 10/1 is a bad price and not on my radar to win. - Place Chance ***

7. Roberto Goldback
Blew his handicap mark skywards at Ascot in November but poor form since has now got it back to within a couple of pounds. Three miles looks the very limit to his stamina and even more concerning is the 11st 6lbs to lump round. Barry Geraghty and Nicky Henderson will have some people reaching for the wallets but this looks a bad wager even at 33/1. - No Chance *

8. Sunnyhillboy
Had his chance last year and but for a couple more shoves and a head down he would have prevailed. Hard to see him repeat the trick this year with plenty more weight and in poor recent form. Not jumped a fence since 2012 and looks a poor price at 16/1 -Outside Place Chance**

9. Ballabriggs
Hero in 2011 and ran another big race over the fences in 2012 to finish just outside the places. Had a good prep and the stable are happy with him once more so no reason to think he is a back number at 12 years old. Built for Aintree and 11st 4lb is a fair weight to carry so expect him to go well again at 20/1 - Place Chance***

10. Teaforthree
Looks tailor made for the race but had his heart broken at Chepstow by one of the greatest rides you will ever see from Paul Carberry on Monbeg Dude. Ground shouldn’t be an issue but hard to be enthusiastic after two hard races in heavy ground in the build up and will more likely struggle than prosper. If they had come with a quieter prep and off a lower weight he’d be winner material. Happy to swerve at 16/1 now though. - Outside Place Chance**

For the rest of the preview, you'd better visit GallopsLive


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Villiers Stakes preview

The highlight of summer racing in Sydney is the Villiers Stakes. Tasked with the preview is Mitch Fenton.


Villiers StakesRandwick, G2, 1600m
1615 local time, 0515 GMT

Form link

Twitter: @weekndkngracing
Facebook: /weekendking

The most reliable guide to the Gr2 Villiers has always been the Festival Stakes.

I’m going to stick with that form line; here’s the horses who ran in the Festival, running today.

1 I'm Imposing (55.5) 20-1
2 [0.1] Estonian Princess (54) 7-1
3 [0.3] Strawberry Boy (57.5) 6-1
5 [1.7] Sir Moments (56) 11-2
6 [2.5] Multilateral (54) 60-1
7 [3.8] Scream Machine (56) 20-1
8 [4.3] Aomen (58.5) 30-1
11 [6.8] Monton (60) 16-1
12 [8.0] Keep Cool (54) 80-1

Out of all those runs in the Festival, Strawberry Boy was a clear top pick for mine.

He worked very hard out in front with his 1500m to 600m times and was 3L quicker than the average. He was entitled to drop out of the race but instead he fought on dogged…