On Saturday 9th April, tens of thousands of avid horse racing fans will travel to Liverpool’s Aintree racecourse for one of the biggest events on the sporting calendar. Every year, the Grand National continually attracts plenty of media attention and has viewers hooked to their television screens throughout the four-mile, 30 fence race.
This year, the National is set to be one of the best in recent memory and although we will no longer be able to back whoever AP McCoy is riding, there are still a number of top quality contenders for this year’s race. We take a look at just a few of the primary candidates in the showpiece event and give our thoughts on why you should consider backing at least one of these thoroughbreds.
Last year’s winner will receive plenty of backing, especially with Leighton Aspell booked in to ride him once again. Aspell has ridden the winner in each of the last two years and will be looking to make history by winning the famous event once again. Many Clouds is a phenomenal horse and looks set to make a firm bid to defend his crown this year.
It wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see Many Clouds, who is currently Betway’s market leader, win the event once again. After all, he’s done it once before and with Aspell’s guidance and a bit of fortune, there’s absolutely no reason why he cannot follow last year’s victory up with another famous success.
A relatively unknown horse but one that has recent pedigree over Aintree’s National fences. Highland Lodge won the Becher Handicap Chase back in December and looks certain to make the 40-horse field for this year’s race. Jimmy Moffatt’s 10-year-old is in the prime of his life and will stand a great chance if he stays on.
Perhaps most importantly of all, Highland Lodge is a sensational jumper – which is crucial in the National. As long as he stays out of trouble and doesn’t set off too quickly, he will be there or thereabouts and is well priced at 50/1 in Betway’s Grand National odds.
If he runs, Carlingford Lough is a huge threat. In previous years, Sir Tony McCoy was given the honour of riding this great horse but since his retirement, that role has been split between both Barry Geraghty and Mark Walsh. He’s won nine times over fences and many punters will be considering placing a wager via these Grand National odds.
Carlingford Lough recently won a second consecutive Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown and Mark Walsh may get the nod to ride JP McManus’ mount once again in the National. A word of warning though, he’s never ran at Aintree – which will be a concern for those who are looking for course and/or distance winners. Even so, he has enough about him to challenge this year.