The Grand National at Aintree is a real specialist subject and picking the winner is an arduous task. More than ever before, trainers and connections are hatching their Aintree plans as the season gets underway. Carefully designed paths are laid out with the sole aim of having a horse in its best shape and ready to run the race of its life at Aintree in early April. Tips for the Grand National 2017 are already flying around and below are four horses that might be worth keeping an eye on this season.
The Last Samuri
Kim Bailey’s charge was fancied to run well in 2016 and duly lived up to the hype, chasing home impressive winner Rule The World. Having been up on the pace throughout, The Last Samuri jumped well and was only downed late in the day. His claims for 2017 are easy to identify, he will be in the prime winners age bracket of 9-11 years-old, will boast previous experience of the race and has a trainer that knows exactly what is needed to win the Grand National. The Last Samuri will be on many shortlists and his progress towards Aintree is worth looking out for.
A lot was also expected of Holywell when the two-time Cheltenham Festival winner turned up on Merseyside in 2016. A sound jumper and strong traveler, his trainer Jonjo O’Neill was more than hopeful of a big run but his challenge never got off the ground as he blundered away his chance and unseated Richie McLernon at the second fence. If his trainer brings him back for a second go in the spring, don’t give up on Holywell just yet. He has too much class and might put his 2016 experience to good use.
Just like The Last Samuri, Gilgamboa served notice in 2016 that this race is right up his street. At eight-years-old he ran a perfectly good race to finish fourth for trainer Enda Bolger and jockey Robbie Power. With Bolger, the master of the cross country races, Gilgamboa is in the right hands to come back stronger and build on his opening show at Aintree. A Grade One winner over fences in the past, he is exactly the type of horse to give leading owner JP McManus a second Aintree Grand National success after the emotional success of Don’t Push It in 2010 for legendary rider AP McCoy.
The Druids Nephew
Neil Mulholland’s charge may attempt to make it third time lucky in the Grand National in 2017 and his two previous runs could scarcely have yielded different outcomes. In 2015, The Druids Nephew was a looming figure at the head of affairs throughout and took up the running six fences from home, seemingly still full of running. A tumble followed and connections were left wondering just what might have been. Back for another go in 2016, the pre-race rain was a nightmare for The Druids Nephew and he never threatened as he was pulled up. He’ll be ten come April and has all the attributes and experience to make him a genuine contender at Aintree.