It has arrived! This is the Grand National which gathers more attention than any other horse race in the world.
This is due to the steeped history of the race that dates back to the first running in 1839. The National is ran over a testing 4 miles 514 yards with 30 fences jumped including the infamous Chair and Becher’s brook. The prize money for the race has now reached £1 million and following the changes to how the weights were made back in 2001 it has resulted in the contest becoming are far more attractive proposition for connections. This means that the top horses now have a far more realistic chance of success off bigger weights than beforehand. Check out the infographic below which covers the changes to the weights and the leading form contenders for the 2018 contest.
Looking ahead to the 2018 running of the race and the horse that is set to head the weights is the Jonjo O’Neill trained Minella Rocco. The 8 year old is a very classy horse on his day and has always looked tailor made for the race if he can hold his jumping together. He has won just 3 of his 15 starts under rules but saves his best performances for the key spring festivals at the end of the season. His first big victory was back in 2016 when he landed the National hunt chase ahead of the now Gold Cup winner in Native River. He looked all about a stamina test as he was niggled along on several occasions but flew up the hill to land the four mile contest.
You can bet on the Grand National and Minella Rocco is currently 14/1 for the race with Betfair. This comes as no surprise as despite the big weight you only have to go back to the 2017 running of the Cheltenham Gold Cup where he finished runner up to Sizing John. He never looked like winning the contest but he flew up the famous Cheltenham hill past both Djakadam and again Native River. This stamped the horse down as one who would be very well suited to an extreme test such as the National and the horse would be expected to continue to find throughout. The only negative would be if the ground came up soft as Minella saves his best for good ground.