Another Cheltenham Festival has sadly come and gone but this does mean that 100% focus can now be given to the 2017 Grand National.
Gold Cup runner-up Minella Rocco has been bounced up to favourite for the big race and as a former winner of the four mile National Hunt Chase it’s easy to see why. Personally I would be more than slightly concerned about his rather hit and miss jumping but as he is trained by Jonjo O’Neill he is sure to prove a popular pick.
Currently challenging for favouritism is Haydock Grand National trial and Becher Chase winner Vieux Lion Rouge who finished an excellent seventh in the Grand National last year when just seven years old.
2016 Grand National runner-up The Last Samuri is also well fancied again but may find things more difficult this year with plenty more weight to carry.
Gordon Elliott was leading trainer at the recent Cheltenham Festival and has previously won the Grand National in 2007 with Silver Birch. Elliott still has seven horses entered in the 2017 Grand National including last year’s sixth placed runner Ucello Conti and three time Cheltenham Festival winner Cause Of Causes.
Last year’s winner Rule The World has, of course, been retired but his trainer Mouse Morris still has a couple of entries for this year in the shape of Rogue Angel and former Irish National winner Thunder And Roses.
Whatever Willie Mullins runs will be popular with the betting public and the master trainer will be keen to register another Grand National success as we have to go back to the great Hedgehunter in 2005 for the last time he won the race. Mullins currently has five horses still entered in the 2017 Grand National, including the Malcolm Denmark owned Pleasant Company.
The next forfeit stage for the 2017 Grand National is on the 21st March.
Please add your thoughts and tips for the big race to this thread.