The Grand National is only a few weeks away and 40 horses will compete to land one of the biggest prizes in the UK racing calendar. The Grand National is one of the most famous and toughest horse races in the world.
Last year, more than 600 million people tuned in to watch the race and even more are expected to watch it this time around.
Grand National winners have often performed admirably at the Cheltenham Festival and this year’s favourite is also last year’s winner in Tiger Roll.
Tiger Roll won the Cross Country at the Cheltenham Festival in 2017, before going on to win the National at 10/1, beating Pleasant Company in a photo finish. Tiger Roll returned to the Festival this season and won the Cross Country by over 20 lengths and he is expected to win back-to-back Nationals at odds of just 5/1 for his trainer Gordon Elliott.
The previous year, One For Arthur was one of the favourites for the Aintree Grand National and duly obliged under a confident ride from Derek Fox. At odds of 14/1, One For Arthur timed his run to perfection to come out on top and land the prestigious prize.
The now nine-year-old has only run twice in two years, pulling up on both occasions but Lucinda Russell is hoping he can come back and strike once again and outrun his odds of 33/1.
A huge surprise in 2016 was Rule The World, who won the National for Mouse Morris under David Williams at 33/1. What was even more surprising was that Rule The World was the first novice to win the race since 1958.
After his famous win, trainer Eddie O’Leary announced that Rule The World was to be retired, after twice recovering from a cracked pelvis.
Speaking back in May 2016, Eddie O’Leary said: “We didn’t want to send him back to Aintree with a big weight, that wouldn’t be fair. He provided us with our first Grand National and we will never forget him.”
In 2015, the Irish-bred British-trained Many Clouds landed the prize at odds of 25/1 for trainer Oliver Sherwood. In 2017, however, the National winner collapsed and died moments after achieving a heroic victory over Thistlecrack at Cheltenham.
Trainer Oliver Sherwood said: “I think it was a massive heart attack. He wanted to win it. He was beat at the last; he fought the last 50 yards to get up and win. He was a horse of a lifetime.”
Not only did Many Clouds win the Grand National in 2015 but he also won the Hennessy Gold Cup back in 2014, as well as winning the Cotswold Chase in 2015 and 2017.