5 Types Of Punters You’ll See On Grand National Day

It's the one day in the racing calendar where almost everyone has a punt – from racing experts, to those folks who wouldn't know one end of a horse from the other. The Grand National race captures the imagination of the public like no other event in the world.

Here are just some of the punters you are sure to meet on the big day.

THE STUDENT

This person is convinced that they can whittle down the 40 runner field and pick a prized winner on April 8th. Their faith lies in numbers, facts and form. They see the National as a mathematical formula in which they can figure out an answer.

They also laugh at all those people who pick their horses based on the name and get insulted when novices state ‘it's all a lottery anyway.' This person can tell you the best age, weight and everything else to back – they'll probably even have a favourite colour silk based on how many jockeys have won while wearing it.

THE RANDOM RUNNER

This person is the antithesis of the above punter. They will drop a pen on the list of names and pick the horse on which it drops on, or choose a runner based on a funny name. This person has no time for form.

Very often they are novices in the horse racing game, but every now and again you get an expert who just enjoys the randomness of it all and thinks any horse can win the National.

THE SCATTER GUN

This punter doesn't put all their faith on just one horse. They will back as many as seven or eight to increase their chances on the big day. If you know somebody who backs like this, we would advise watching them during the race as they rip up docket after docket as each chance falls – it's almost as entertaining as the race itself.

This is the horse racing equivalent of buying all the tickets in a raffle in the hope you win. However, that's not how luck works so this punter often fails anyway.

THE TIP SEEKER

For weeks leading up to the April 8th race this person is seeking out any insider information they can possibly get. A tip here, or some advice there – they are like a Russian spy searching for intelligence.

They will be convinced they can covertly figure out who will win the race, by not by doing any form studying themselves. The most interesting thing about this punter is that they'll share every tip they receive apart from the best ones – the sneaky sh*ts!

THE SPECTATOR

This person doesn't bother backing, but enjoys the race as a sporting spectacle. They believe that punting will hamper their enjoyment of the entertainment, so just sit back and enjoy the view.

Inevitably, this person will tell you “I knew they'd win” after the finish. Also inevitably, this person will be talking absolutely rubbish!

Whichever punter you are, we hope you have a great day on April 8th and enjoy the world's greatest race. REMEMBER you can check out all the runners and odds here.

79 Remain In Grand National Contention

At the latest scratching stage for the Grand National 2017, 79 remain in contention for the Aintree showpiece on April 8th.

Just 16 potential runners were withdrawn from the proceedings with the Jonjo O'Neill trained Minella Rocco the biggest surprise.

The seven year old became the ante-post race favourite following his epic second place finish in the Cheltenham Gold Cup last week. Bookmakers estimate that 44% of all Grand National ante-post bets had been placed on him in the last seven days but connections have now decided to let him rest for the rest of the season and bring him back with the 2018 Gold Cup the main goal.

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With the removal of Minella Rocco, it's the David Pipe trained Vieux Lion Rouge that once again regains top spot in the ante-post betting at around 10/1 with most bookmakers.

The 16 horses that were scratched today are: Alary, Minella Rocco, Lord Scoundrel, Road To Riches, Sausalito Sunrise, Carole's Destrier, Junction Fourteen, Vivaldi Collonges, Shutthefrontdoor, As De Mee, Seventh Sky, Hadrian's Approach, Out Sam, Goulanes, Mountain king and Killer Crow.

The next stage will be on the five-day confirmations on April 3rd followed by the final declarations at 10am on April 8th. Maximum field of 40 plus four reserves.

The full list of all 79 the remain today are:

 

Horse Age Weight Owner Trainer
Carlingford Lough (IRE) 11    11 10 Mr John P. McManus John E. Kiely
The Last Samuri (IRE) 9    11 9 Paul & Clare Rooney Kim Bailey
Alelchi Inois (FR) 9    11 7 L.McMahon/Mrs F.Murphy/F.Mangan W. P. Mullins
More of That (IRE) 9    11 5 Mr John P. McManus Jonjo O’Neill
Shantou Flyer (IRE) 7    11 4 Mr Carl Hinchy Rebecca Curtis
Perfect Candidate (IRE) 10    11 4 ISL Recruitment Fergal O’Brien
Saphir du Rheu (FR) 8    11 4 The Stewart Family Paul Nicholls
Roi des Francs (FR) 8    11 2 Gigginstown House Stud Gordon Elliott
Foxrock (IRE) 9    11 2 Mr Barry Connell T. M. Walsh
Wounded Warrior (IRE) 8    11 1 Gigginstown House Stud Noel Meade
Wonderful Charm (FR) 9    11 1 R J H Geffen & Sir John Ritblat Paul Nicholls
Tenor Nivernais (FR) 10    11 0 Boultbee Brooks Ltd Venetia Williams
Blaklion (GB) 8    11 0 S Such & CG Paletta Nigel Twiston-Davies
Drop Out Joe (GB) 9    11 0 The Jesters Charlie Longsdon
Le Mercurey (FR) 7    10 13 Chris Giles & Colm Donlon Paul Nicholls
Maggio (FR) 12    10 12 D G Pryde/James Beaumont Patrick Griffin
The Young Master (GB) 8    10 12 Dajam & The Old Masters Neil Mulholland
Cause of Causes (USA) 9    10 12 Mr John P. McManus Gordon Elliott
Regal Encore (IRE) 9    10 12 Mr John P. McManus Anthony Honeyball
Vieux Lion Rouge (FR) 8    10 11 Prof Caroline Tisdall & Mr John Gent David Pipe
Definitly Red (IRE) 8    10 11 Mr P. J. Martin Brian Ellison
Ucello Conti (FR) 9    10 11 Mr Simon Munir/Mr Isaac Souede Gordon Elliott
Double Shuffle (IRE) 7    10 11 Crossed Fingers Partnership Tom George
Houblon des Obeaux (FR) 10    10 11 Mrs Julian Blackwell Venetia Williams
Pleasant Company (IRE) 9    10 11 Mr Malcolm C. Denmark W. P. Mullins
One For Arthur (IRE) 8    10 10 Two Golf Widows Lucinda Russell
Ballynagour (IRE) 11    10 10 Mr Allan Stennett David Pipe
O’Faolains Boy (IRE) 10    10 10 Trembath, Hyde, Outhart & Hill Rebecca Curtis
Highland Lodge (IRE) 11    10 10 Bowes Lodge Stables James Moffatt
Bishops Road (IRE) 9    10 9 Mr Alan Halsall Kerry Lee
Vics Canvas (IRE) 14    10 9 Bodeen Bandits Partnership Dermot Anthony McLoughlin
Lord Windermere (IRE) 11    10 9 Dr R. Lambe J. Culloty
Ziga Boy (FR) 8    10 9 Axom LI Alan King
Saint Are (FR) 11    10 9 Mr D. W. Fox Tom George
Vicente (FR) 8    10 9 Mr Trevor Hemmings Paul Nicholls
Just A Par (IRE) 10    10 8 Paul K. Barber & The Late C. G. Roach Paul Nicholls
Measureofmydreams (IRE) 9    10 8 Gigginstown House Stud Noel Meade
Raz de Maree (FR) 12    10 8 James J. Swan Gavin Cromwell
Stellar Notion (IRE) 9    10 8 Mr R. S. Brookhouse Henry de Bromhead
Rogue Angel (IRE) 9    10 7 Gigginstown House Stud M. F. Morris
Pendra (IRE) 9    10 7 Mr John P. McManus Charlie Longsdon
Cocktails At Dawn (GB) 9    10 7 R J H Geffen & Sir John Ritblat Nicky Henderson
The Romford Pele (IRE) 10    10 6 Trembath & Outhart Rebecca Curtis
Thunder And Roses (IRE) 9    10 6 Gigginstown House Stud M. F. Morris
Gas Line Boy (IRE) 11    10 6 The Three Graces Ian Williams
Goodtoknow (GB) 9    10 6 Burling Daresbury MacEchern Nolan Potter Kerry Lee
La Vaticane (FR) 8    10 5 Ms Maria Bukhtoyarova David Pipe
Doctor Harper (IRE) 9    10 5 The Johnson Family David Pipe
Bless The Wings (IRE) 12    10 4 Adrian Butler/S P O’Connor Gordon Elliott
Knock House (IRE) 8    10 3 Mr T. G. Leslie Donald McCain
Sambremont (FR) 7    10 1 Shanakiel Racing Syndicate W. P. Mullins
Potters Cross (GB) 10    10 1 Conyers, O’Reilly, Roddis, Zeffman Rebecca Curtis
Benbens (IRE) 12    10 1 S Such & CG Paletta Nigel Twiston-Davies
Straidnahanna (IRE) 8    10 1 M. B. Scholey & R. H. Scholey Sue Smith
Viva Steve (IRE) 9    10 1 Paul & Clare Rooney Fergal O’Brien
Polidam (FR) 8    10 0 Mr Simon Munir/Mr Isaac Souede W. P. Mullins
Lamb Or Cod (IRE) 10    10 0 Mr Terry Warner Philip Hobbs
Milansbar (IRE) 10    10 0 Mr Robert Bothway Neil King
Cloudy Too (IRE) 11    10 0 Formulated Polymer Products Ltd Sue Smith
Vyta du Roc (FR) 8    9 13 Mr Simon Munir & Mr Isaac Souede Nicky Henderson
Streets of Promise (IRE) 8    9 13 Gempro Michael Scudamore
Beeves (IRE) 10    9 12 Paul & Clare Rooney Jennie Candlish
Royale Knight (GB) 11    9 12 C. E. Stedman & R. J. Corsan Dr Richard Newland
Sizing Coal (IRE) 9    9 11 Alan & Ann Potts Partnership J. T. R. Dreaper
Lessons In Milan (IRE) 9    9 11 Mr Trevor Hemmings Nicky Henderson
Alfie Spinner (IRE) 12    9 11 Alan Beard & Brian Beard Kerry Lee
Emperor’s Choice (IRE) 10    9 11 The Bellamy Partnership Venetia Williams
Dare To Endeavour (GB) 10    9 10 Mr Aidan J. Ryan Eric McNamara
Silver Man (GB) 10    9 10 Mr John Wardle Jo Hughes
Father Edward (IRE) 8    9 10 Mr Fergus Wilson David Pipe
Samingarry (FR) 10    9 10 Nigel Hawke Racing Club & Partner Nigel Hawke
Alvarado (IRE) 12    9 9 Mr & Mrs William Rucker Fergal O’Brien
Milborough (IRE) 11    9 9 Miss Helen Cross Ian Duncan
The Crafty Butcher (IRE) 10    9 8 P Byrne/P W Mullins/D Ryan/I Madigan W. P. Mullins
Waldorf Salad (GB) 9    9 8 Mr Alan Parker Venetia Williams
Katenko (FR) 11    9 7 Mr A. Brooks Venetia Williams
Federici (GB) 8    9 6 Mr Jon Glews Donald McCain
Gone Too Far (GB) 9    9 5 Mr Fergus Wilson David Pipe
Racing Pulse (IRE) 8    9 5 Mr Carl Hinchy Rebecca Curtis

The Most Dramatic Grand National Ever? Foinavon’s Epic Win

Saturday, April 8th doesn’t seem that far away now, so racing fans are beginning to get excited for the Aintree Grand National 2017.

Like every year before it, this race will undoubtedly be full of dramatic subplots to keep punters and fans interested even if their ride goes down at the first.

For instance, after all the controversy over the weight handicaps, it will be interesting to see how the remaining Gigginstown runners perform. It will also be intriguing to find out if the bookies have picked the winner, or if an outsider will romp home once again.

Either way, this a race that rarely disappoints when it comes to drama and with so few favourites scooping the honours at Cheltenham, could the future Grand National winner also be a rank outsider?

To celebrate the remarkable achievements of past winner, we look back on the 1967 race and why it was so special.

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An Outsider
Foinavon entered the race as a 100/1 rank outsider. Almost nobody fancied the horse and we doubt that even the jockey that took the ride that day, John Buckingham, thought it could come home first.

Buckingham wasn’t even due to take the ride – the horse’s trainer John Kempton was also a jockey and he was supposed to take the ride that day. However, he couldn’t make the weight, so rode a different horse at Worcester.

Things could have been so different for Buckingham had Kempton made the 10st weight as this was the ride that defined his entire racing career.

Chaos at the 23rd
For most of the race, it looked as though Foinavon was living up to its long odds.

It was well behind the field and if in-play betting existed in those days, you probably would have got much greater odds than the 100/1 that was quoted pre-race.

However, everything changed at the 23rd fence. Several riderless horses came to it and got startled, deciding not to jump it.

Instead, they ran the length of the fence. This startled the leading group who were arriving at the scene, thus causing some of the horses to dismount their riders, while other horses attempted to jump the fence, but failed.

It was absolute chaos. There were horses falling to the ground, jockeys chasing their rides and almost nobody knew what was going on.

Calm In The Storm
Foinavon was not startled, though. Buckingham arrived at the fence and jumped it cleanly – the only one out of the entire field to do so on their first attempt.

This gave the pair an unexpected lead, which they managed to hold onto for the final 7 fences.

The 23rd fence has since been named after the horse. You have to be a special ride to have a fence named after you and Foinavon certainly befits that honour.

Buckingham passed away in December of last year, but he will always be remembered as the man who won one of the most dramatic Grand Nationals in the history of the sport.

Picture by: S&G/S&G and Barratts/EMPICS Sport

Power Adds Gold Cup Win To Grand National Victory

Robbie Power has added the Cheltenham Gold Cup to the list of prestigious races he has won after an epic ride upon Sizing John on Friday, March 17th.

Power had previously won the Grand National upon Silver Birch and insists that his Gold Cup victory rates as highly as that win. After crossing the line first, he told reporters that this was a ride he wasn’t going to miss out on.

He said: “I was only 25 when I won the National and I'm 35 now. When you're 25 you think you can win everything, so this is very special.

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“Going to the second-last, even before Djakadam's mistake, I actually thought I had Ruby covered.

“Down to the last he absolutely pinged it and then it was just a case of seeing it out, it's what every jockey dreams of and I never thought I would until we got this lad.

“I had a bad injury before Christmas and I rushed back to ride him in the Irish Gold Cup. I did everything I could to get back, I wasn't letting Davy Russell on him!”

The 7-1 winner also gave trainer Jessica Harrington her first ever win in the Gold Cup. She is the third woman to achieve this accolade, after Jenny Pitman (Burrough Hill -1984, Garrison Savanagh 1991) and Henrietta Knight (Best Mate – 2002, 04).

Power put much of the success down to the work of the trainer, adding: “Jessica Harrington is a genius.

“I always said when this horse stepped up in trip he'd win. Everyone has done a top-class job, it means more than any winner I've ridden for Jessica.”

Native River came in third at 7-2, while Minella Rocco was a surprise second after staying on well at the finish. The 3-1 favourite Djakadam could only manage fourth, after twice coming second in this race.

Sizing John has now completed the Irish and English Gold Cup double and his jockey, Power, was very grateful to the owners for releasing the horse for both races.

He added: “When he won at Thurles he didn't win until stamina kicked in and that convinced me he'd stay. It's thanks to Alan and Ann for letting us up him in trip and we said we'd come here after winning the Irish Gold Cup.”

Runner-up Minella Rocco is still listed to compete in next month’s National and some bookies have even made him favourite for the race with odds as low as 8/1. Trainer Jonjo O’Neill wasn’t giving too much away regarding his chances in the post-race interviews, though.

He said: “I'm thrilled, he had a great spin round and finished as strongly as anything. He will definitely run again this season, but first, let's get him home and see how he is.

“He is entered in the National, the Irish National, but we will have to see whether he runs in either.”

Picture by: Tim Goode/EMPICS Sport

Hemmings Pins Hopes On Vicente

It's not uncommon to see some Grand National runners change hands very late in the game with some finding themselves with new owners merely days ahead of the annual showdown at Aintree.

This year it's the turn of the Paul Nicholls trained Vicente who has been purchased by three time Grand National winning owner Trevor Hemmings, who sadly lost his beloved Many Clouds in January.

Winner of the 2016 Scottish National, Vicente, who had previously been owned by John Hale and Ian Fogg, has not had the greatest of seasons so far but Hemmings reportedly liked the look of him and considered him more than suitable for the Aintree National.

Trainer Nicholls said “He has been an owner of mine for a while and having sadly lost his National winner Many Clouds in January he was looking for a suitable horse for the race.

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“Vicente was for sale, a deal was done and he will now go straight to the National. I’ve trained a number of winners for Trevor, who is an an enthusiastic owner, loves the race and enjoys having a runner in it every year.

“He liked the profile of Vicente, who won the Scottish Grand National last season, and is at his best in the spring.”

Hemmings, who also owns Preston North End F.C., Trust Inns and also over 100 racehorses, has previously won the Grand National with Hedgehunter in 2005, Ballabriggs in 2011 and Many Clouds in 2015.

Should Vicente triumph at Aintree, then Hemmings would make National history by becoming the first person to own four winners of the big race. He currently shares that honour of winning three Nationals with three other owners, most notably Noel Le Mare, who had Red Rum.

Hemmings though is much more than an owner and breeder of racehorses. He is a businessman, philanthropist, friend of the royals and all-round lovely guy. He started his first business with £12 and is now one of the wealthiest men in Britain.

When interviewed by the Radio Times last year, Hemmings said of his love for horses “I like to see them growing up.

“I’m not one for buying a £500,000 racehorse because it might win me a race next week.

“Look at Ballabriggs…I had him all the way from a little fella. What’s nicer than that?”

And while he may not have had the opportunity to raise Vicente from a young age, he still has a decent shot of making history next month when he attempts his fourth Grand National win.

Vicente is currently around 33/1 ante post with bookmakers to claim the title on Saturday April 8th.

Picture by: David Davies/PA Archive/PA Images

Definitly Red Gets Schooled Over Aintree Fences

The eyes of the racing world may be firmly on Cheltenham this week but that doesn't mean that our potential Grand National 2017 runners have been forgotten. In fact, National preparations for Definitly Red are well under way with the eight year old getting a spin over some Aintree-style fences later this week.

Trainer Brian Ellison plans to give Definitly Red the opportunity to test himself over some Aintree-style fences which are situated near the Yorkshire handler's yard in Malton. These fences have been prepped by Aintree staff at various locations around the UK and Ireland so that trainers have a chance to get their runners adequately schooled over them.

Ellison said: “Definitly Red is fine and is in great form. He has done nothing wrong all season.

“He is 10lb ‘well-in' in the Grand National and hopefully if he takes to the fences we are very hopeful of a good run.

“They are building a couple of Aintree fences in Malton and the plan is to give him a pop over them beforehand.”

The fences in question are available for any trainer to use for schooling horses who are possible runners in the three races at the Randox Health Grand National Festival at Aintree that are run over the Grand National fences.

Those races are the Randox Health Grand National on Saturday April 8th, the Randox Health Topham Chase on Friday 7th April and the Randox Health Foxhunters’ Chase on Thursday 6th April.

The Grand National style fences are situated at David Pipe’s yard on the Devon/Somerset border, at The Jockey Club’s Lambourn Gallops, at the Malton Schooling Grounds and at the Curragh Training Grounds in Ireland.

The schooling fences at David Pipe’s yard, Lambourn and Malton will be up and running from Wednesday 15th March, with the facility at the Curragh available from Wednesday 22nd March.

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In other Grand National news Perfect Candidate will bypass this week's Cheltenham Gold Cup and head straight for a crack at the Grand National for which he is currently around 20/1 in the ante-post odds.

His trainer, Fergal O'Brien, said “Perfect Candidate will probably be going straight to the Randox Health Grand National. He holds an entry in the Cheltenham Gold Cup but is very unlikely to run there.

“The horse is in great form. He needed to win at Exeter last time to persuade us to go to Aintree. He is the right age for Aintree and has the right profile.

“He is slightly higher in the handicap than we would have liked. He is 156 whereas we would have preferred to be on 150.

“If he takes to Aintree, fingers crossed, hopefully he will give us a run for our money. We will just keep him fresh and maybe look at giving him a racecourse gallop before Aintree, which we did with Alvarado.”

Grand National Quotes You Won’t Forget

When it comes to memorable lines, quotes, quick wit and hilarious jibes, those within the racing community are second to none. Every year in the lead up to the Grand National and soon after the race, there are a litany of comments that go down in history.

This year will no doubt be any different, so before the big race on April 8th, we have decided to run through some of the more light-hearted comments throughout the years. These are sure to give you a little giggle, so sit back and enjoy!

“It was damn cold stuff without brandy in it”
Becher’s Brook was named after Captain Becher, who was once thrown into the jump. Thankfully, he maintained his humour soon after, to provide the world with one of racing’s most famous quotes.

“This is really a lovely horse and I speak from personal experience since I once mounted her mother.”
Horse racing commentator, Ted Walsh, probably should have worked on his phrasing before tackling this line.

In his defence, horse racing is a sport that is full of potential pitfalls for commentators as one of our later quotes points out.

“Sex is an anti-climax after that!”
Winning jockey Mick Fitzgerald’s wife probably wasn’t best pleased after that comment. Nonetheless, anyone who has ever backed a rank outsider who has romped home knows exactly what he means… just don’t tell your partner!

“I went over to see the horse and the woman who was selling him had the greatest legs I’d ever seen. I’m a great legs man and I couldn’t resist. I came home and let John do the deal.”
The legendary Ginger McCain's story on how he came to buy Grand National winner Amberleigh House is nothing short of hilarious and one that makes us believe in destiny.

Would he have bought the horse had the lady not been wearing a skirt? Who knows?! Fate can be a funny thing.

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“Well, you gave the horse a wonderful ride; everyone saw that.”
Desmond Lynam is another commentator who may want to rethink his phrasing when it comes to horse racing. We have no doubt a few of the more immature viewers at home had a giggle at this one when it aired.

“If Carrie Ford wins the National I’ll bare my backside to the wind, and let everyone kick it.”
Here is another hilarious comment from Ginger McCain. He made these comments about the prospects of Carrie Ford, an esteemed jockey who has performed well at the showcase.

All of these quotes became widely known within racing circles and we have no doubt that the personalities associated with the 2017 race will give us a few new belters too to add this collection!

Foxrock May Go To Irish National

While racking up his fourth consecutive win for connections over the weekend, Foxrock, under the guidance of jockey Katie Walsh, boosted his Grand National 2017 claims in fine style at Gowran Park.

Winning the Tetrarema Cup Hunters Steeplechase was just what Foxrock needed before connections decide where he goes to next as both the Aintree National and Boylesports Irish National are on the cards.

Walsh said: “It's more than likely he will go for the Irish or English next. Fairyhouse would look the more obvious as it's only over the road and he's 4lbs better off.

“But if it was going to be a very dry April then Barry (Connell, owner) may be tempted to run in Liverpool. At this stage it looks more like Fairyhouse”.

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As potential Grand National winners go, Foxrock really ticks quite a few of the boxes. Yes, he would carry 4lbs more than at Fairyhouse if he ran but he has carried 12 stone for all three of his last races, compared to the 11-02 he has been given for Aintree.

His last four races have been won on either Soft or heavy ground and considering he needs dry ground to really kick into gear and make an impact, one can only imagine how good he would be on nice dry spring ground at Aintree.

Katie Walsh has been on board for all four of his latest wins and her partnership with Seabass, also trained by her father Ted Walsh, was what put her straight into the history books so if she wants to be the first female jockey to ever win an Aintree Grand National then Foxrock really is her best shot this year.

I understand why Fairyhouse looks like such an attractive proposition. Little or no travelling time bodes well for the horse, 4lbs less is 4lbs less so why carry more than he has to. Not to mention the distance of the Irish National is more than half a mile shorter with significantly less runners and while the prize money isn't as good, it's certainly not to be sniffed at with the winner walking away with €270K.

Could connections be blamed for opting to stay in Ireland? Of course they couldn't. But that doesn't mean that I wouldn't rather see Foxrock take his chances over the Aintree fences and really have a shot at the Grand National with Katie Walsh on board.

His current antepost odds for the Aintree Grand National are around 25/1 which provides excellent value for money if he he opts to go there. While his BoyleSports Irish Grand National ante-post odds are around 20/1.

Picture by: PA Wire/PA Wire/PA Images

Bailey Delighted With The Last Samuri’s Grand National Preparation

Having last won the Grand National back in 1990 with Mr Frisk, trainer Kim Bailey will be hoping to finally recreate such a success at Aintree this year. Bailey is gearing up for the iconic race with The Last Samuri, with the nine-year-old looking to go one better from his second-place finish from last year. Bailey could not be happier with his progress ahead of April’s National, with The Last Samuri having performed admirably at Doncaster recently. The famous horse was bidding to win the BetBright Grimthorpe Handicap Chase for the second successive season, however he was made to settle for a runner-up spot behind Definitly Red, who is also among the contenders at Aintree next month.

Despite failing to claim victory, with The Last Samuri running off a 12lb higher mark than this time last year, Bailey is confident that the outing in Doncaster was the perfect preparation for the National, following last year’s second place finish to Rule The World. Bookmakers Betway currently offer The Last Samuri odds of 16/1 to claim victory on the biggest stage of them all, near the top of the ante-post betting behind the likes of Becher Chase and Grand National Trial winner, David Pipe’s Vieux Lion Rouge and Blacklion.

Following his success at Doncaster, Brian Ellison’s Definitly Red is also offered short odds by Betway, moving from 33/1 to 14/1 in the process. The eight-year-old also won the Rowland Meyrick Chaseat Wetherby on Boxing Day, having parted company with his rider in the Peter Marsh Chase at Haydock after being hampered by the fall of Vintage Clouds. However, under the guidance of jockey Danny Cook, Defintly Red claimed a famous win over The Last Samuri by 14-lenghts.

Elsewhere, 33/1 outsider with Betway, Vicente, will head straight to Aintree for new owner Trevor Hemmings, with the reigning Scottish Grand National winner helping to fill the void left by Many Clouds, with the 2016 National winner losing his life at Cheltenham in January. Trainer Paul Nicholls is confident that Vicente can mount a challenge at Aintree, despite falling on his comeback in the Hennessy at Newbury back in November last year. The former John Hales and Ian Fogg owned eight-year-old has been allotted a weight of 10st 9lbs for the National, making him a strong candidate for an outside bet on April 8th.