Can The Red Lion Roar In The Grand National?

With the entry deadline for the Grand National 2017 drawing ever closer, many trainers are now confirming which of their hopefuls will get saddled up for the big day on April 8th. Confirming his own plans for this year's renewal is David Pipe who is hoping to give Vieux Lion Rouge another crack at the Aintree fences.

This will be the second opportunity for Vieux Lion Rouge who also ran in 2016 managing to get around the course successfully to finish in seventh. With another year under his belt and appearing in fine form, connections are no doubt hoping that he can go six places better and actually win it this year.

While winning the Grand National 2017 will be a mammoth task, it's certainly not beyond his reach and his recent win in the Aintree Becher Chase, over the National fences, will only further add to his already impressive credentials.

James Reveley saddled him last year but Tom Scudamore is the jockey he pairs with on a more regular basis and looks likely to continue that partnership for the Grand National.

As the Becher Chase was his only run out this season so far, it's very likely that he will get another opportunity to stretch his legs before the big day with David Pipe saying: “He will probably have one run before Aintree.

“I don't think he will run before the weights come out. He will still be borderline to get into the race.

“He is rated 146 but in all these handicaps the bottom mark is going up, whether it is Cheltenham or Aintree.

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“He seems to be finishing his races better of late as he has not always finished his races that well. He really saw it out well in the Becher. He is definitely getting stronger.

“He jumps them (Aintree fences) better than park fences. When we bought him as an unraced three-year-old I didn't think he would be running in the Grand National, but these things happen, thank goodness.”

While only two eight year olds have managed to bag the coveted Grand National since 2000, there's nothing to suggest that Vieux Lion Rouge can't make it three.

Bindaree won it in 2002 with Many Clouds achieving the same feat in 2015. He, of course, looks set to take another crack at the race and odds for both are pretty close but just edging in favour of Many Clouds but if Vieux Lion Rouge can continue his good form then I would definitely consider him for a cheeky each-way bet closer to to the day.