by RAY HOBBS WITH the Grand National approaching, the biggest race of the year is almost upon us. The weights for the race were announced earlier this week and the race has again attracted the best horses and jockeys to compete for the biggest equine prize in Europe. This steeplechase is watched by millions and is the ultimate event. There will be 40 runners going to post, so knowing what to expect can be tricky. If you want an early look into some of the leading contenders of this year’s Grand National race on 9 April, read on.
Last year’s winner Many Clouds has top weight of 11st 10lb and is the ante-post favourite, with Coral going 12/1. Jockey Leighton Aspell will once again do the steering. Despite the heavy weight, Many Clouds looks sure to be a contender and has recent form figures of 61-622.
Next in the betting are Gallant Oscar, Holywell, Shutthefrontdoor and The Druids Nephew, who are all 20/1 with Coral. Gallant Oscar’s odds have been slashed from 33/1 thanks to his low weight and, coming off his third at the 2015 Cheltenham Festival, he looks solid. Holywell and Shutthefrontdoor have not had the best results lately but both are contenders to consider. The Druids Nephew was a top pick last year but failed to capitalise on this and failed to complete the race.
Don Poli, Carlingford Lough, Goonyella, Saint Are and Unioniste are all on 25/1 with Coral, making them the third tier string of contenders. Don Poli is one of the youngest horses in the race and has impressive recent form of 11-511. Carlingford Lough’s recent form has affected his odds but he is a still a strong competitor. Goonyella skipped last year’s National to finish second in the Scottish equivalent. Saint Are is last year’s runner up and trainer Tom George will have been aiming him for the race and he has recent form of 312-67 showing this. Unioniste’s run in last year’s race was poor, but not surprising due to his young age and heavy weight but an eighth place finish a week later showed he’s not to be underestimated, combined with his experience and lower weight.
Coral have 19 horses at 33/1, so it can be tough to know what to expect from each. Alvarado will be ridden by Paul Moloney who has a solid completion record in the National and has finished fourth in the last two years, so expect similar this year. The young Cause of Causes was eighth last year, so with new-found experience could easily place higher. First Lieutenant places high regularly but his stamina may come into question. Onenightinvienna is a young horse with mostly novice race experience but has good results to back him up. The Last Samurai has had an impressive showing recently and with a bit of experience could have a good chance.
Those are the odds as shown by Coral, so if you know your betting options and keep this in mind, the Grand National can be a success.