Grand National Runners 2008

Hedgehunter
Irish trained, Grand National specialist – falling, then finishing 1st, 2nd and 9th in 4 consecutive years. Triumphed in 2005 Grand National off a rating of 144 (11st 1lb), but has not won a race since. Harshly handicapped, only dropped 2lbs since his 9th (off 158) last year. Still showed a spring in his ageing step by finishing 2nd last time out in the BobbyJo Chase (25f) at Fairyhouse beating his more favoured stable companion Snowy Morning (gave 5lbs). But surely weight and age will prevent this admirable horse from regaining his crown.

Hi Cloy
Irish trained, won the Mildmay course, Gd1 Melling Chase (20f), at the Aintree Festival 2006, suggesting he likes the profile of the Liverpool based track. Had his final prep race finishing 2nd, in a Fairyhouse hurdle (24f) on Irish Grand National day. In his preceding 3 starts cheekpieces and blinkers had been used, suggesting he may need a bit of assistance to keep him concentrating. First time blinkers resulted in a win in the Gd2 Kinloch Brae at Thurles in January (20f). Whilst having won a chase over 24f, he has not proven that he possesses the handicap, or extreme distance, form to create a winning chance in this race. Multiple Gd1 chase winner is deemed a very unlikely winner.

Knowhere
Trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies, successful with Earth Summit and Bindaree, this horse is unlikely to complete the hat-trick. His last 2 wins have come at Cheltenham, of which winning the Letherby and Christopher Cotswold chase (26f) (Gd2) on Trials day in January was the high point of his career to date. Unseated rider in the 2007 Grand National, carrying 10st 13lbs, he now has a weight burden to overcome. May bypass the National to run in a conditions chase on the Mildmay course.

Mr Pointment
Owned by local owners, he jumped for fun over the National fences to win this season’s Becher Chase (3m3f). No Becher Chase winner has yet to follow up in the same season, although Amberleigh House and Silver Birch completed the double with 2.5 years in between. Upped 9lbs for his success, he broke blood vessels in the Grimthorpe Chase at Doncaster, in March, in a race won by Grand National favourite, Cloudy Lane. This horse has yet to run above Listed chase class and would have to be a Gold Cup contender to be successful off this weight. His all-conquering trainer, Paul Nicholls, has yet to add this race to his CV and with weight and health questions to overcome, he is overlooked for this year’s renewal.

Ollie Magern
Gutsy little front-running tiger of whom, it is hard not have an affection for. Twice winner first time out, of the Charlie Hall (25f) Gd2 chase at Wetherby, including this season. His previous runs at Aintree have seen finishes of 11th, 5th, 5th over the flat, hurdles and fences to suggest that the course and this time of year may not be ideal for him. If he runs, there is no chance of him carrying this weight to victory in such a competitive race.

Turko
6yo French Bred. If he won, would be a massive statistic buster. Last 6yo winner of this race was in 1916 and the last French bred winner was in 1909 with Lutteur. Couple those with a massive weight, and no meaningful 24f+ handicap form, and this Irish Hennessy Gd1 2nd is confidently dismissed.

Madison De Berlais
7yo French Bred, who runs particularly well at Newbury. Would be another major statistic buster being French bred, heavily weighted, and the last 7yo to win the Grand National was Bogskar in 1940. A well beaten 4th in this season’s Hennessy at Newbury has yet to win beyond 20f and that will not be broken in the Grand National.

Billyvoddan
In his last run, he finished last beaten 73 lengths in the Gd1 Ryanair Chase (21f) at the Cheltenham Festival. All 3 chase wins have been on right-handed tracks and was pulled up in the 2007Grand National. The handicapper has been unrelenting to this horse and he will not be making amends in the 2008 version.

Knight Legend
Trained in Ireland, a 20f-22f chase specialist who opened the New Year with a Listed chase win at Tramore. Has won a 24f hurdle, at a left-handed track. Since Gay Trip (1970), only Red Marauder(2001) has failed to win a 24f+ chase and then follow up in the Grand National. (Red Marauder had won a 24f hurdle.) Yet to compete in a recoGrand Nationalized Grand National trial, both stamina and weight will prove this horse’s undoing.

Simon 
Fell in 2007 Grand National, six from home, when travelling and jumping really well. In this race, he was also an unpenalised winner of Kempton’s Racing Post Gd3 handicap chase (24f) and was subsequently raised 8lbs. He has run creditably since but failed to win. Probably ground dependant – all his wins been on ground of Good to Soft or worse. Last year, he carried 10st 11lbs, but this year will carry the burden of 11st7lbs. Since Sundew (1957), only the great Red Rum has carried more than 11st 5lbs to victory, so it is a massive test for Simon to join the growing list of National fallers to follow up with victory the year after.

Opera Mundi 
6yo French bred, winner of a class 2 handicap chase at Haydock over 24f. Pulled up last time out in Doncaster’s SkyBet handicap chase (Great Yorkshire), he has age, weight, French bred statistics to overcome and in addition, has not competed in any recoGrand Nationalized Grand National trial to suggest he has the form to be crowned the champion. Will only run if soft ground.

Ungaro
French bred hoodoo to overcome but has run well in defeat this season at Doncaster in handicap chases won by An Accordion and Cloudy Lane. A Grade 1 Feltham Novice Chase winner at Kempton (3m) last season, he has yet to win a handicap chase or compete in a 27f+ class 1 handicap chase that may indicate whether he has the stamina or handicap mark to be successful in this year’s renewal. Has run at the last 2 Aintree festivals – graded novice hurdle (6th) and graded novice chase (5th). Winners of the National tend to have more conclusive course form. With 11st 6lb to carry around, he looks an unlikely winner and according to the trainer is far from a certain starter.

Iron Man
French bred 7yo who has yet to win beyond 23f and whose form has totally tailed off. Has nothing favourable to support its chance.

Fundamentalist 
Former Cheltenham Festival winner over hurdles, this 10yo Gd1 winning hurdler, has failed to reach the heights originally expected for him over fences. Twice run at the Aintree Festival over 25f, in a hurdle and chase, finishing 11th and PU. With wins this season at Wincanton and Ascot over 21f and 22f, it may suggest that a trip short of 24f on a right-handed track may benefit this gelding more.

Butlers Cabin
J.P.McManus owned contender, and a Mildmay course chase winner over 20f. Unlike some French bred candidates, there are no stamina issues as he won both the National Hunt chase (33f) at the Cheltenham festival and the Irish Grand National (29f) last season, wearing cheekpieces. Up 12lbs since his last win, this horse has run poorly in his recent two chase runs. Collapsed after both his major wins last season and the trainer does wonder whether the horse remembers those events. Has been aimed at the race and it will be interesting to see whether the punting owner decides to avail himself of the best price. With an official rating of 147 and poor seasonal form, he may just be exposed to an improver or more consistent animal lower in the weights.

Slim Pickings
Irish trained and ran a terrific race, beaten 2 lengths into 3rd in last year’s Grand National off a mark of 140 carrying 10st 8lbs. Has not won since winning 24f Listed Chase at Cork in April, 2006, but was harshly punished for his National showing by being raised 7lbs in the ratings. Now carries 11st 3lbs. Would join Amberleigh House, to become only the second winner in the last 20 years to complete in the Grand National and win the following year. The last 6 Irish trained winners had all won a class A handicap chase of 24f+. Slim Pickings has yet to win a handicap chase and both those wins have been on right handed tracks in small fields ridden by Barry Geraghty. Similar to other recent Irish trained winners, has had a low key preparation mixing hurdles and chases so as to protect the handicap mark. Is likely to have found some improvement from 8 to 9 years of age, and will be a horse that divides opinion between punters.

Chelsea Harbour
Irish trained and carried 11st 10lbs to victory in the Punchestown Grand National handicap trial over 28f in February, so stamina assured. His last 4 NH wins have been achieved under the riding stewardship of Davy Russell and all 5 of his NH wins have had the words “soft” or “heavy” in the going description, suggesting ground dependency. Made 2 unsuccessful visits to Great Britain -unseating the rider in Denman’s Royal and Sun Alliance Chase victory at Cheltenham 2007, and 19th in an Aintree festival handicap hurdle. Suspect going, weight and course may dilute this horse’s chances.

Vodka Bleu David Johnson owned runner. French bred 9yo who won 2 races this season, when blinkers were applied. Has appeared at the Aintree Festival before, unseating the rider in a Gd2 NH flat race, and finishing 12th in last year’s Topham handicap (22f) over the National fences. His only start beyond 24f was in the 2006 Hennessy at Newbury, where he was pulled up. Likely to be rejected by owner retained jockey, Timmy Murphy, who has ridden him to his last 6 victories. Has distance and course question marks to overcome.

L’Ami French bred, French trained, J.P Mc Manus owned 9yo, who ran a good 3rd last time out with cheekpieces applied, in the William Hill handicap chase at the Cheltenham Festival. The choice of owner retained jockey, Tony McCoy in the 2007Grand National, he finished 10th carrying 11st 8lbs in cheekpieces, beaten 97 lengths. The handicapper has dropped him 9lbs since, but his best recent performances seem to occur at Cheltenham or in small fields A Newbury Hennessy 2nd in 2005, he has failed to win his last 18 chases dating back to January, 2005. Will find it hard, to break his losing streak in this year’s race.

Snowy Morning Irish trained, with Grand National winning trainer, Willie Mullins. This 8yo was a likely Grand National favourite until being beaten into 3rd behind his stablemate and opponent, Hedgehunter, in the Bobbyjo Chase (Gd3) (25f) at Fairyhouse. Last year he had finished a distant 10 length 2nd in the Grade 1 Royal and Sun Alliance Novice Chase (25f) behind Denman, before being well fancied for the rematch in the Newbury Hennessy (27f) handicap. He made an early exit. A staying on 3rd in the Grade 1 Irish Hennessy behind The Listener and Turko at Leopardstown, suggests that he is both well-handicapped and a horse that will benefit with the additional distance. There have been two 8yo winners in the last 20 years. Both had prominent handicap form in both the Newbury Hennessy, and the Welsh National, and the lack of big field handicap form in this horse’s profile may be his undoing.

Alexander Taipan Irish trained with Willie Mullins, all NH wins have been on Irish right handed courses, at 21f or less. Has yet to show win or placed in graded events, nor any encouragement that extreme distances will be to his benefit. Fatally injured, in the Irish Grand National.

Bewleys Berry Will be a popular selection having jumped effortlessly until falling at “Bechers” second time around in the 2007Grand National. Had not shown his hand at that stage. For the second season running, finished 2nd in the Becher Chase (27f) over the course, beaten 1 length by Mr Pointment (who gave 8lbs). Only 3lbs better off with horse for the defeat. Clearly loves jumping the National fences, but enthusiasm is reduced by his last time pulling up in the Haydock Red Square Gold Cup handicap (29f), his dreadful chase win to run ratio of 1 from 11, and that he has a proven record of going well fresh. The past 19 winners of the National had all won the equivalent of a Class 1 or Class 2 chase, and his only win was at Class 4 level.

Contraband An ex-Martin Pipe trained winner of the Cheltenham Festival Gd1 Arkle Chase over 16f. First horse to be crossed off the potential Grand National winners list.

McKelvey Welsh trained, who, was arguably an unlucky loser in last year’s Grand National renewal. Beaten ¾ length into 2nd place, off a rating of 136 and a weight of 10st 4lbs, this warrior suffered a tendon injury during the race which may have cost him victory. Cheekpieced, he has run poorly in 2 seasonal handicap hurdle starts, and does not return in a similar vein of form. In what will be his seasonal chase debut, he will be running off a further 8lbs higher official mark with a weight of 11st. In the last 20 years, every Grand National winner has a top 4 chase finish during the season, so the cards seemed stacked against him delivering a fairytale result.

Joacci Chase winner over 28f, the David Johnson owned participant possesses sufficient stamina reserves. Has not run since the turn of the year, no chase win since Jan, 2006, pulled up on the Mildmay chase course at a previous Aintree Festival and no graded chase form are sufficient reasons for discounting his chances. 

Point Barrow Irish trained and with Butler’s Cabin, they attempt to become the 5th horse to complete the Irish/English Grand National double. He started 8/1cf in last year’s Grand National but got no further than the first fence. Hedgehunter, Amberleigh House, Red Marauder, Rough Quest, Little Polveir and West Tip (amongst others) have all fallen over the National fences and subsequently triumphed in the big race. Has worn blinkers for the last 3 starts, with no siGrand Nationalificant improvement, and has raced in Great Britain twice this season with easily forgettable efforts of 11th in Newbury’s Hennessy and 10th in the Haydock Red Square Handicap Gold Cup. His 3rd last time in a conditions chase at Down Royal was far from impressive but has specifically been aimed at the National. Whilst ticking some of the right boxes, there are a number of crossed boxes too and is difficult to know what to expect.

Cornish Rebel Similar to Silver Birch, last year’s Grand National winner, is ex-Paul Nicholls trained. Now locally owned by John Halewood, successful with Amberleigh House, he finished 2nd in a Scottish National, 3rd in a Newbury Hennessy and 3rd in a Welsh National in successive races during 2005. However, recently, was pulled up in both the 2006 Grand National and 2007 Scottish National. Under his new trainer, he has been running this season in hunter chases suggesting that he has yet to rekindle his undoubted ability. Plummeting in the ratings will not be enough to be successful in this year’s race.

D’Argent Sired by Roselier, responsible for past winners Royal Athlete and Bindaree, this horse has become a Warwick specialist with 4 of his 5 chase wins occurring at the course. Has had blinkers applied, with success, for his last 3 starts, including winning the Warwick Classic (Gd3) (29f) and a creditable, if distant, 4th in the Haydock Red Square Vodka Gold Cup (29f). A previous 2nd in the 2007 Midlands National, this stamina test holds no fear. Only previous Aintree Festival appearance saw him pulled up in a 2004 Mildmay course chase. Although, he has won on good ground he may need soft conditions to blunt the speed of other opponents.

No Full 7yo French bred, Irish trained horse, who was pulled up in the Gowran Park Thyestes (24f) handicap chase on his last start. Has yet to win beyond 21f and his winning chance is easily dismissed.

Baily Breeze Irish trained horse who has worn first cheekpieces, then blinkers in his last 18 starts. Has no worthwhile form in his last 4 handicap chases since victorious at Galway over 22f last October. All NH wins on right handed tracks, including a Gd2 chase, but has not competed in any recoGrand Nationalized Grand National trials that generally produce the winner.

Bob Hall J.P. Mc Manus owned 7yo who has yet to fulfil his potential. Yet to win above class 4 chase level, above 21f, or in handicap company, there are more races to be won with this horse, but not the 2008 Grand National

Cloudy Lane Grand National favourite. Due to Grand National history, and horse form, by far the most interesting runner in the field. Being son of 4 times winning trainer, Ginger McCain, Donald Jnr will know exactly what makes a Grand National winner. The proverbial “handicap good thing”, this horse runs of an official rating of 141, compared to his last time out win in Doncaster Grimthorpe handicap chase (26f) off a mark of 152. Also a Kim Muir Cheltenham Festival 2007 winner as a novice, he is bordering on Gold Cup class. Will he get the luck in running and will he stay? 10th in a Haydock Red Square Gold Cup (29f) and unseated rider in the 2007 Irish National (29f) provides inconclusive proof of his stamina strengths or limitations.

King Johns Castle Irish trained, J.P.Mc Manus owned runner who has yet to win beyond 19f. Although, he was a creditable 2nd over 24f in the Leopardstown Pierse handicap chase earlier this year. His win to run chase ratio of 1 from 11 would fall short of recent Grand National winner who have tended to have been successful in 3+ chases, including a handicap. A possible ride for Tony McCoy, his last 2 wins have been under the stewardship of Davy Russell. A difficult horse to equate but instinct suggests he may fall short, especially as he has yet to prove his potential in any recoGrand Nationalized Grand National trials.

Mon Mome Mon Mome and Butlers Cabin are the most likely, in the 2008 Grand National, to break the run of losing French breds, that dates back to their last success from Lutteur (1909). His last win was at the 2006 Aintree Festival in a 20f novice handicap chase on the Mildmay course. In 2006 and 2007, he later followed up with 2nd’s in the Welsh National (30f) and Warwick Classic (29f) with a 3rd in the Haydock Red Square Gold Cup. After 11 months on the sidelines, returned mid Feb and his 3 runs since have yet to fully convince that his official Grand National rating of 141 reflect his chances. But this is likely to have been his target all season and there maybe more to come.

Always Waining Welsh trained, has worn cheekpieces on his last 2 starts. A class 2 handicap chase winner at Uttoxeter over 24f, with a flat pedigree, he has yet to prove he has the stamina, class or seasonal form to be successful at this level. Will not win.

Cornish Sett Had the blinkers used in the preceding 14 starts removed for his last time out 8th in the Welsh National (30f). Suited by good ground, his last chase win was in a 4 runner race at Cheltenham in November, 2006. All his NH wins have been registered within 38 days or less of his preceding run which suggests that the absence of 3 months for this competitive race may not be ideal. Yet to fully convince he stays extreme distances, or possesses the class to win this off his current handicap mark.

Naunton Brook Twiston-Davies contender, who clearly thrives when racing at extreme distances. A 32f winner, 5 of his last 7 wins have come between October and December. Pulled up in the 2007 Grand National, wearing blinkers for the first time, he has run well in successive seasons in the Welsh National (30f) and Warwick Classic (29f) finishing 5,3,4,3 respectively. Yet to win above class 3, he is held on form by a number of other opponents in the race. Ridden by David England to his last 3 successes

Over The Creek David Pipe trained, David Johnson owned second season novice. A course hurdle winner over 20f in November, 2004, he is bred for success at extreme distances. This horse has put his jumping problems behind him, winning a competitive Cheltenham listed handicap chase (26f) beating Simon into 2nd. 13 days later, he finished a staying on third in the Welsh National (30f). Officially rated 138, he is “badly in” by 2lbs in the Grand National and was beaten into 2nd by Old Benny (receiving 7lbs) in the NH Chase (32f) at the Cheltenham Festival. This horse has all the credentials to go well in a National but his trainer and owner may rely on the more experienced and higher profile stablemate, Comply or Die. The last novice to win the Grand National was Mr What (1958) and may be a horse to bear in mind for 2009.

Patsy Hall Irish trained and talented Gd1 placed chaser for trainer Michael Cunningham last season. He has since been transferred to handicap king, Tony Martin. His fencing has held his progress back to date with falls in both the Irish National and Newbury Hennessy. A 26f class 2 novice chase winner, he has yet to fully prove himself in handicap chases. A promising 4th in the Cheltenham Festival William Hill handicap chase (25f) last time out is a move in the right direction. His chance probably depends on his jumping but the trainer is likely to generate a major handicap win from him at some point during the next 12 months.

Royal Auclair Admirable French bred 11yo whose Grand National exploits have seen him finish 2nd in 2005, off a mark of 153, followed by successive falls the last 2 years. Also fell in this season’s Becher Chase. He has now gone 20 starts since his last chase win in December, 2005 and even though now running off a lower mark of 140, his best chance has probably disappeared.

Royal County Star Irish trained, 2nd favourite for the 2008 Irish Grand National, running a gallant runner-up. Won a competitive, Class B, Troytown handicap chase, at Navan, last November over 24f. He may be targeting the Scottish, rather than the English National in 2008.

Tumbling Dice Irish trained, flat bred contender, who has yet to win beyond 20f. Has largely won a mixture of blinkers and cheekpieces since March, 2006 and neither possesses the form or stamina to take the crown. His only previous Aintree Festival run saw him finish 3rd in a grade 2 hurdle (25f), but all his previous 7 NH wins have been on right-handed tracks.

Backbeat Returned from a 13 month absence in January to impressively win a class 2 Sandown handicap chase (25f) at the rewarding odds of 28/1. Trained previously by David Elsworth, but now part of the powerful Graham Wylie owned and Howard Johnson trained stable. This horse has predominately been campaiGrand Nationaled on right handed tracks, so difficult to assess whether he will benefit from going the other way around. Yet to be placed in graded company, or compete in a recoGrand Nationalized Grand National trial, he remains an unexposed contender that may be better in the end of season Sandown Park handicap Chase (3m5f), rather than the Grand National.

Comply Or Die Blinkered last 2 starts, winning the 33f Newcastle Eider handicap chase, preceded by a 2 ½ length defeat into 2nd by Cloudy Lane (receiving 2lbs) in the Haydock Tommy Whittle handicap chase. 3rd in the latter race, High Chimes, later won the Kim Muir handicap at the Cheltenham Festival, so is clearly a pivotal piece of form in the Grand National puzzle. Without doubt, well weighted, handicapped and classy enough but which Comply or Die will turn up on the big day? Will it be the horse, which has finished 2nd in Gd1 Royal and Sun Alliance chase, 4th in a Newbury Hennessy and performed with merit with blinkers in his last 2 starts? Or, a horse who has been pulled up in both a Welsh and Scottish Grand National?

Idle Talk Under same ownership and training as Cloudy Lane, he has worn cheekpieces in his last 3 starts. Won his first 2 chase starts for Tom George and then subsequently lost 15 additional chases. In that period, has unseated his rider 5 times, including both the Grand and Scottish Nationals of 2007. Yet to win a chase above class 3, he has the talent to win another chase one day, but is far from a safe conveyance and will fail in his quest this time.

Kelami French bred, French trained, 10yo who showed he is still a force in handicap chases by finishing a last time out creditable 2nd in the Racing Post handicap chase (Gd3) at Kempton. Has lost his last 13 starts since winning the William Hill handicap chase (Gd3) (25f) at the Cheltenham Festival in 2005. Twice competed in the Grand National pulled up last year, and brought down in 2004. Generally, horses which race twice over the Mildmay and or National chase courses tend to have a prominent finish to their name. So he is confidently passed over.

Milan Deux Mille French bred 6yo, with a good win to run chase ratio, but has yet to win above class 3, or beyond 21f. Finished 5th, in the 2007 Topham (22f), over the National fences. No chance

Nadover French bred 7yo, whose last 2 handicap chase wins have been in the same race at Chepstow on successive Welsh National days. Yet to win beyond 21f, or above class 3. All 4 British wins have been on soft or heavy ground. No chance.

Black Apalachi Irish trained, who finished 2nd in first time blinkers in the Gowran Park Thyestes handicap chase (24f) 2 starts ago. Both Hedgehunter and Numersixvalverde won this race in the season prior to winning the Grand National. Last time out the blinkers were removed where he finished a well beaten 10th in a Leopardstown handicap chase (21f), behind both Chelsea Harbour and Slim Pickings. Has previously finished 10th in an Irish Grand National. Often runs well in handicaps without winning and that maybe the case again. Was 7th in the Gd1 Sefton Novice Hurdle at the Aintree Festival, a race, where 3 subsequent Grand National winners from the last 20 years had performed well early in their careers.

Homer Wells Irish trained winner, last season, of both the Gowran Park Thyestes handicap chase (24f) and the Fairyhouse Bobbyjo (Gd3) (25f). He has subsequently been pulled up in both the English and Welsh Nationals. Poor seasonal form with all his NH wins being on soft or heavy ground makes him an unlikely winner. PU in the 2008 Irish Grand National last time out.

Philson Run 12 years young, he ran a 17 length 4th in last year’s Grand National renewal. He has only been raised 1lb for his defeat and first time out this season finished 7 lengths 2nd in the Warwick Classic (29f). A winner of the 2005 Uttoxeter Midlands National (34f) and the 2006 Newcastle Eider (33f), his stamina is absolutely guaranteed.
All his 4 NH wins have been in February and March, so clearly likes late winter and early spring. However, he has previously fallen at Aintree in the 2005 Becher Chase, with Scottish National’s 7th and 6th and a Welsh National pulled up, there are likely to be some horses with more class, better handicapped than him.

Dun Doire Irish trained, finished 2nd last time out in a Down Royal conditions chase over 26f, beating Point Barrow. Winner of 2006 Gowran Park Thyestes and Cheltenham Festival William Hill handicap chases (25f) (Gd3). He has failed to complete over the National fences twice, being a faller in the 2006 Becher and pulled up in the 2007Grand National. Bottomless ground may be needed to keep in touch with the field during the early exchanges.

Joes Edge The Scottish Grand National winner of 2005 and the William Hill handicap chase winner at the Cheltenham Festival in 2007, this fellow knows how to win competitive big field races on good ground. An Aintree Festival winner over the Mildmay course (20f) in 2005, he has subsequently finished 7th and pulled up in successive Grand National’s. Did not open his 07/08 NH campaiGrand National until March and has not performed with any promise in either start. Difficult to believe he will be the winner.

Longshanks Grand National winning trainer, Kim Bailey has a job to keep this lad sound. He goes exceptionally well fresh and has completed the National course on 3 occasions finishing 2nd and 4th in the Topham (22f) and 7th in last year’s Grand National. Yet to win above class 3 or to show conclusively that he stays beyond 24f. He will compete in the Grand National first time out. Mely Moss finished a brilliant second in the 2000 Grand National attempting the same feat, but it will take one of the great training performances to go one better.

Ossmoses Roselier sired, who has been lightly raced since his 2006 Haydock Red Square Gold Cup (29f) win. All his 5 NH wins have been left-handed, but with soft or heavy in the ground description. In his first run for 11 months, and his only start this season, he finished 6th in a Newbury handicap chase (27f). Trainer will be doing a rain dance because whilst suited to a stamina challenge, he will surely not possess the speed to retain a prominent position throughout the race.

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