Aintree Meeting Climaxes With Grand National

Grand National Meeting

Horse Racing
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Published: 10/04/2015
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The withdrawal of Karen McLintock`s Carlito Brigante means that just 39 line up for this year`s Crabbie`s Grand National, each horse aiming to secure the 500,000 first prize for their connections. With Shutthefrontdoor (7/1 - bet365 and others), Cause Of Causes (22/1 - sportingbet, william hill) and Wyck Hill (66/1 - bet365 and others), owner JP McManus is three-handed though it is the former who is set to go off as the shortest priced favourite since Red Rum.

Much reasoning behind Shutthefrontdoor`s popularity is the fact that it will be AP McCoy`s last ride in the Aintree Grand National, the last time he will take on the 4m, 3f spectacular and its 30 fences. The charge of Jonjo O`Neill is also well backed due to his having won the Irish Grand National the year previous, winning the Fairyhouse renewal and the Aintree original in consecutive seasons not at all uncommon.

The race`s second favourite is Rocky Creek (10/1 bet365 and others), champion trainer Paul Nicholls` best chance from his four contenders. The handler also saddles 33/1 (betfred, sportingbet, Totesport) shot Unioniste, Mon Parrain who is 50/1 across the board and Rebel Rebellion at 66/1 (sportingbet, Stan James).

The ride of stable jockey Sam Twiston-Davies, Rocky Creek is considered to be the class horse of this race after picking up Kempton`s Grade Three Betbright Chase by six lengths. This was in spite of the horse carrying the heaviest burden when allowances are taken into consideration. The nine-year-old is familiar with the challenge that the National poses after finishing in fifth place in last year`s renewal.

Another who is coming back for a second bite of the cherry is Balthazar King who finished second in this race last year. Still available at 12/1 at william hill, the Hobbs mount is better fancied than the horse that beat him last year because he missed the Cheltenham Festival specifically to be in peak condition for this race. The King`s Theatre-sired horse will be looking to give Richard Johnson his first win in the National at the 18th attempt.

The pair that beat Balthazar King and Johnson last year were Pineau De Re and Leighton Aspell. Whilst Aspell is now set to ride Cheltenham Gold Cup entrant Many Clouds (40/1 - Numerous), Pineau De Re is also back to try to retain his title. The charge of Dr Richard Newland can still be backed at the best price of 28/1 at bet365 and a number of other bookies. Daryl Jacob takes the ride on the champ this season.

Newland is two-handed this year and also saddles Royale Knight who just managed to make the cut. Should the former Sedgefield National winner be first past the post for Newland, the trainer would be the first trainer since Fred Winter to be victorious in consecutive Nationals with two different horses. Ridden by Brendan Powell, whose mount Battle Group refused to race last year, Royale Knight can be picked up at 33/1 at Bet365, betway, boylesports and Stan James.

Speaking of firsts, Nina Carberry could become the first woman ever to ride a Grand National winner should she be the first to complete the 4m, 3f distance tomorrow. Fresh from her Cheltenham/ Aintree Fox Hunters double on On The Fringe, Carberry - and First Lieutenant! - are on offer at 22/1 at Bet365.

Today Sam Waley-Cohen became the most successful jockey ever around these National fences, claiming another success on Radjhani Express in the Topham. Tomorrow he rides Oscar Time in the feature race, trained by his father Robert. The elder statesman of the group at 14, Oscar Time can be backed at 50/1 at Betbright. Another father and son team is Keith and James Reveley with Night In Milan (25/1 - Bet365 and others).

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