Updated on 09/17/2011 11:13AM

Grand National has 6-1 favorite


With 40 runners, the 4 1/2-mile Grand National Steeplechase Handicap always looks like a bettor's worst nightmare. Saturday's 160th renewal at Aintree Racecourse in Liverpool, over 30 daunting fences, will be no different.

Ad Hoc is the 6-1 favorite by virtue of his fine effort in last year's race, when he was brought down by a fallen horse, but he was beaten 9 3/4 lengths by the 10-1 Youlneverwalkalone at Cheltenham last month. But Youlneverwalkalone, who will garner a lot of local support because he bears the name of the Liverpool soccer club's fight song, has never been beyond three miles.

The same is true of the 16-1 Killusty, winner of his last four starts. Gingembre (12-1) beat Ad Hoc by five lengths in the 4 1/8-mile Scottish Grand National, but that was two years ago.

That leaves Shotgun Willy, an appealing 7-1 chance who was second by a half-length in last year's Scottish Grand National, and who prepped with a win going 3 1/2 miles at Haydock on March 1. Shotgun Willy will appreciate the good ground and will be ridden by Ruby Walsh, who guided Papillon to Grand National victory two years ago. The combination of positive factors makes Shotgun Willy the selection.