MELISSA JONES: Your Grand National guide

South Wales Argus: Silviniaco Conti (right) lit up Aintree this week with victory in the Betfred Bowl Silviniaco Conti (right) lit up Aintree this week with victory in the Betfred Bowl

ARGUS racing pundit Melissa Jones gives you a pinstickers' guide to the 2014 Crabbie's Grand National.

1) Tidal Bay

Went down fighting in the Welsh National and has disposed of his playboy ways, which blighted his early career. Tough and a strong stayer, but he's no spring chicken and this could be one race too many for the 13-year-old

2) Long Run

2011 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner who has fallen from grace. Still has plenty of ability however and gained a confidence boosting win last time, but prone to the odd blunder and jockey might find it tricky staying in the saddle over the fearsome fences

3) Hunt Ball

Was a lowly rated chaser before taking all before him a few years ago, then was sent to race in America for new owners. Back on home shores he should find this too hot a test and fade when the pace hots up

4) Triolo D'Alene

Won the Topham over nearly two miles shorter at this meeting last year and the Hennessy Gold Cup. Unlikely to last out but could get round

5) Rocky Creek

Useful on his day though has not reached the heights one thought he may have over fences. Won't lack stamina, however a touch too far up the handicap for my liking

6) Quito De La Roque

Likes Aintree, won the Grade two Mildmay novices chase here in 2011. Capable of raising a few eyebrows granted a clear round

7) Colbert Station

Out of sorts and this unusual test needs to spark a big revival

8) Walkon

Everyone loves a grey horse so this one could be the pick for the pound each way punter. Could finish in the first half dozen if his mind's up to it

9) Balthazar King

Has a love affair with Cheltenham's Cross Country Course and was given a poor ride when coming 15th in this last year. If he isn't asked to do much too soon, could be in the mix

10) Wayward Prince

Never truly fulfilled his potential, always looked a horse that would be suited by a marathon. Big outsider

11) Mr Moonshine

In cracking form of late and should be up with the pace early on, for last year's winning trainer/ jockey combination

12) Teaforthree

Ante-post favourite, third last year and looks solid. Been brought to the boil for this race and should be right in contention with several fences to go

13) Across the Bay

Bold front running type who should give supporters a brave run; realistically not good enough

14) Double Seven

Ran up a bit of a sequence last year and the choice of the champion A P McCoy. Risen up the weights and probably too high now. Needs decent ground

15) Battle Group

Quirky warrior who won twice at this meeting last year. If taking to this has the ability to finish in the first 8. Another who would not want to see too much rain around

16) Buckers Bridge

Won a 3 mile point, since campaigned over shorter. The trip is unknown but could go well for a long way, if inexperience doesn't find him out

17) Lion Na Bearnai

Won his fair share of prize money but unlikely to be adding to that here. Doesn't seem to travel well away from his native Ireland, disappointed in the UK so far

18) Prince de Beauchene

Won over 3m 1f taking the conventional fences in 2011 so likes the place. Ability in spades and can see him reaching the frame

19) Monbeg Dude

Been schooled by Zara Phillips who is married to Mike Tindall, one of the horse's owners. Would be a fairytale if he could win and shouldn't be too far away with stamina assured

20) Big Shu

Trained for this all year, better off with Balthazar King than when they met over the Cross Country course at Cheltenham. Stays, jumps and travels - just what you need in a race of this nature. The Argus selection.

21) Burton Port

Out of sorts before an improved effort in second last time out. Looked the winner for a long way there and if going with the same zest, he'll be on the premises

22) Our Father

Formerly useful but looks a shadow of his former self. Seems to be running here to keep the numbers up. However stable in great form

23) Mountainous

Brave winner of the 2013 Welsh National. Thorough stayer, could do win rain to soften up the ground. Good jumper and excellent jockey on board

24) The Rainbow Hunter

Consistent, one paced. Could finish but in his own time

25) Vintage Star

Unconvincing in the Welsh National despite running well. May not be able to go the pace early on. His colours are familiar around here. Coming into this race after a fall is not ideal

26) Chance du Roy

Loves these fences and there are worse 33-1 shots

27) Hawkes Point

Second in the 2013 Welsh National and open to improvement. However not had many runs and stable form a slight concern

28) Kruzhlinin

Outsider

29) Pineau de Re

Shrewd trainer and surprisingly short in the market. Ran well at Cheltenham: might have taken the edge off him

30) Golan Way

Jumps for fun but would have been better contesting the hunter chase. A bold jumper and brave

31) Twirling Magnet

Decent ground fan, travels well, limited stamina. Likely to be pulled up

32) Vesper Bell

Out of form, inconsistent

33) The Package

Could creep into contention on the second circuit. This race looks like it has been the aim. Capable jockey, lightly raced. Chance

34) Raz de Maree

Not good enough, visored first time

35) Rose of the Moon

Jumped well enough when running here earlier in the year. Shapes as if longer trip may suit if a little slow.

36) Shakalakaboomboom

Needs to return to his old self but likes the course. Wouldn't want the heavens to open

37) Alvarado

These colours have done well over the years and Paul Moloney knows how to hunt one round Aintree. Expect him to creep round at the back, work his way into contention and motor home. Strong each-way chance

38) Last Time d'Albain

Third over these fences last year over shorter and could take to it again at a price. Not completely out of it

39) One in a Milan

Won't have the pace to keep up on the first circuit even with a first time visor

40) Swing Bill

Tremendous old servant who is a standing dish around here. Hopefully will have a nice retirement after this run, will run his usual honest race

VERDICT: 1) Big Shu 2) Alvarado 3) Teaforthree 4) Prince de Beauchene 5) Last time D'albain

Good luck!

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