14 Year Old Vics Canvas to Compete in the Grand National

This April, Vics Canvas will try to become the oldest winner of the Grand National in more than 150 years. The Dermot McLoughlin trained chaser will be 14 years old but his track record shows that he's got just as much chance as anybody, the only issue is that he hasn't actually run this season.

A leg injury has prevented him from having run outs so far this season with his trainer describing the injury as a knock on the joint with a small crack, nothing overly concerning but cause for a rest for the horse.

As a younger horse, his career didn’t get off to the best start because he suffered from stomach ulcers. This led to slow start and it wasn’t until the age of seven that he actually gained any momentum. He did well in the Cork Grand National back in 2014 and his trainer believes he still has a lot of potential despite his age.

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He ran in last year's National and got off to a spectacular start but bad luck hampered his chances when he had a minor stumble. Despite that, he still managed to get around and finish in third place, which is a great achievement though, understandably disappointing for his trainer and connections.

McLoughlin is a prolific trainer and has the eye for horses that are still willing to race. He said that although Vics Canvas is getting on in years, he’s not a heavily raced horse. He’s also never sustained a major injury that has taken longer than a few weeks to recover fully from. As a chaser he's had 11 chase starts returning a win and five places which, for his age, isn't as many as you would expect.

His trainer described him as being in good condition and enthusiastic about racing and is hoping this continues to be the case come April.

This horse may be a bit older than many other of his fellow entrants but he definitely shouldn’t be counted out of the race. Last year he went off at 100/1 which would have been a huge win for those who backed him each way but he would have to make history on April 8th as he would be the only horse to win the race at the age of 14, though one 15 year old has one it in the past.

Peter Simple is the oldest ever winner of the Grand National, though things were rather different when he won back in 1853. The advantage that this horse had was that he’d already won the race a few years prior, something that Vics Canvas has not.

The pundits don’t really know how to take this entry into the race, with bookmakers taking a wide range of bets on him. Although he is older, he does have a number of selling points that could place him above others in the race. Just last he smashed records as the only 13 year old to run in the Grand National since 1969. Add to this the fact that he won’t be raced before then and readers can see why he’s hard to place.

The BHA will also need to sign off on Vics Canvas before he heads to the starting gate. Depending on the rating and weight he is given by the BHA Handicapper next week, he might not even make the cut but if he does, he’ll still be inspected on the morning of the race.

Prior to that he could even be pulled at one of the declaration stages as it's up to the BHA to certify that horses are safe to compete in what is steeplechasing’s most difficult race. They have a duty of care to the horses and they won’t hesitate to pull the racer if he proves not to be up to the task.

But should he be given the green light then keep him in mind as a stalwart who can get around the course with the potential to cause an upset.