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Which horses offer value for 2020 Grand National?

The 2020 Grand National is still just under five months away, but which horses may be worth backing now rather than closer to the showcase race at Aintree?

At the start of this year's Grand National, Tiger Roll went off as a 4/1 favourite as he bid to become the first back-to-back winner since Red Rum in 1974. The rest, as they say, is history, as Davy Russell produced another stellar ride on the Gordon Elliott horse to ensure that everyone associated with the then nine-year-old are a permanent part of Aintree folklore. Any talk of a hat-trick being completed was quickly played down in the aftermath of the race, but Elliott revealed in September that an attempt would be made to achieve an unprecedented triple-header. While that remains the case, punters will be assessing when is the moment to pick up the best possible betting odds, and it is difficult to argue that the time is probably now.

You will naturally have numerous Grand National runners available to you which offer value for money, but the 6/1 currently being offered for Tiger Roll will probably not last long. Much is going to depend on how the Irish-bred horse fares in two races during the New Year but regardless of the performances, betting odds have zero chance of skyrocketing as the public place sentiment alongside the form of the last two victories. There is a suggestion that weight could potentially be a detrimental factor, although taking the 6/1 on offer right now is a calculated risk worth taking.

Naturally, you are going to be interested about the nearest challengers to Tiger Roll and given the uncertainty surrounding the eventual 40-horse lineup, bigger odds are on offer than what will likely be available in the build-up to the race. Magic Of Light - the 2019 runner-up - is the obvious pick, especially when as high as 33/1 is still on offer. The mare returned after a 218-day break on November 10 to finish in third place of a five-horse race at Navan, but not too much should be read into that result. An each-way bet right now feels like a no brainer because you are unlikely to get better odds on the eight-year old in the coming months.

Rathvinden falls into a similar bracket having gone off at 8/1 to finish in third place in April. That said, you have to consider that he will be one month shy of being 12 years old come race day, something which is reflected in the betting odds of 33/1. It may be worth keeping Rathvinden on your shortlist in the long run, but leave making a choice on this horse until after any outings during the early part of 2020. Anibale Fly appears to be more likely to perform having been in contention during the last two races with fourth and fifth place respectively being achieved. Judging by the history books, the former Gold Cup runner-up is also at the right age for next year's race and if you can get odds of 33/1, grab it with both hands.

If you are looking for odds well in excess of 33/1, backing Big River could be the way to go. Earlier this year, the nine-year-old followed a fourth place in the Ultima Handicap Chase at Cheltenham with a fifth position in the Scottish Grand National. The Lucinda Russell trained horse has not competed since that run north of the border, but all the signs are there that this stayer can challenge on Merseyside. Betting odds of 66/1 are still available, but that will not last long if he returns with a strong performance over the winter.

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Davy Condon poses at Ascot racecourse on December 22, 2012
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