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Minella Rocco Promoted to Grand National Favouritism after Finishing Second in Gold Cup

The only horse to have won the Cheltenham Gold Cup and the Grand National in the same season is Golden Miller way back in 1934. But many have won the Aintree spectacular after running in the Cheltenham showpiece, the most recent being the ill-fated Many Clouds who finished sixth behind Coneygree in the 2015 Gold Cup before beating Saint Are by a length and three quarters at Aintree just under a month later.

The 2017 Randox Health Grand National is likely to feature several leading candidates who ran with great credit in the championship contest at Prestbury Park, namely the runner-up to Sizing John – Minella Rocco – and the Paul Nicholls-trained Saphir Du Rheu who was bang in contention for most of the race until the closing stages, eventually coming home in a respectable fifth place, beaten just over six lengths. One position further back was Minella Rocco’s stablemate More Of That who could also take his chance in the Aintree marathon, giving owner of both JP McManus the chance of a second National following Don’t Push It (ridden by the legend that is AP McCoy) in 2010.

The new 10-1 favourite with most bookmakers, on the Grand National free bets 2017, Minella Rocco will have to defy the record books if he is to prove victorious in three weeks’ time as no seven-year-old has won the great race since Bogskar in 1940. The son of Shirocco will not be found wanting on the stamina front however as his length and a quarter victory over the high-class Native River in the four mile National Hunt Chase at the 2016 Cheltenham Festival will testify. Having failed to complete the course in two of his four starts this season, however, negotiating those formidable Grand National fences may turn out to be more of an issue for the horse who, despite set to carry 11st 6lb, could be well handicapped.

Also likely to receive a hike in the ratings is Saphir Du Rheu who will be receiving 2lb from Minella Rocco and will attempt to emulate Bindaree (2002) and Many Clouds (2015) as the third eight-year-old to win the race this century. After taking a Grade 1 over the Mildmay fences at Aintree’s Grand National meeting in 2015, the Al Namix gelding was seen as a potential Gold Cup winner, but, only six then, the grey (always popular with once-a-year players) may be about to fulfil that potential with more experience under his belt and at the 25-1 available with several bookmakers is sure to prove popular with punters come the day of the race.

More Of That took the scalp of the great Annie Power in the 2014 Stayers Hurdle at Cheltenham but has not carried that form on over the bigger obstacles. Too soon to write off just yet, it would be no surprise to see this classy contender play a leading role if taking to the race, making the 25-1 on offer with Coral and Ladbrokes a tempting proposition.

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