On Saturday, 40 of the best horses in the business will compete in the 2016 Grand National at Aintree racecourse. With over 60 million spectators from all over the world, this truly is one of the highlights of the year and there are plenty of top thoroughbreds with excellent chances in what is widely regarded as the most prestigious race in the sport.
Last year, Many Clouds romped home to finish ahead of Saint Are as Leighton Aspell claimed his second consecutive triumph in the race. And now, Many Clouds has the opportunity to emulate the legendary Red Rum and win back-to-back Nationals. For Aspell, he could write himself into the record books if he wins the famous race for the third year in a row.
And in all honesty, the top weight for Saturday’s race has a great chance. However, it might be The Druids Nephew’s time to shine – twelve months on from his fall at the 26th fence. On that day, he was given a great ride by Aidan Coleman and was travelling brilliantly before getting too close to the fence and crashing out of the race. It’s that time again when punters begin to scour the odds but The Druids Nephew at 16/1 with Coral might be the one to back.
The Druids Nephew ticks all the right boxes and must be regarded as a serious rival to the likes of Many Clouds and The Last Samuri. While the latter beat The Druids Nephew fairly comfortably at Doncaster earlier this year, trainer Neil Mulholland admitted that he wasn’t at his best on that day and they’ve been gearing him up for another shot at the big one.
If he gets around, he’ll stand a great chance. The Druids Nephew stays on really well and he will have Denis O’Regan, one of the best jockeys in the business, leading him around the National circuit. Back in 2010, he came within a whisker of winning the Grand National but fell short as Tony McCoy picked up his first victory in the event on Don’t Push It.
This year, O’Regan will be looking to go one better and The Druids Nephew will prosper from the expected rainfall over the coming days. With softer conditions, he may well find enough to exploit the weights but Many Clouds remains the clear market leader. The Oliver Sherwood-trained mount is currently 7/1 with Coral to defend his crown but Mulholland will be quietly confident that The Druids Nephew can get the job done.
Ultimately, the Grand National is a lottery. Anything can – and usually does – happen but one thing’s for sure. The Druids Nephew is a talented thoroughbred and if he stays out of trouble, he will be there or thereabouts. With a bit of luck and a bit of rain, there’s no reason why he cannot give O’Regan a first victory in the greatest horse race on the planet.