Tag Archives: Grand National

Grand National 2020: How to Watch

In an uncertain world, don’t miss the three days of the Grand National Festival from Thursday 2nd to Saturday 4th April 2020.  The iconic Grand National will be held at Aintree Racecourse on Saturday, April 4th at 5:15pm.  For your safety and convenience and on how to watch the “National”, watch online using this link for Grand National live streaming.  Please know that the BHA announced that all race meetings in Britain from Tuesday until at least the end of March will take place behind closed doors.

The prize fund for the Grand National is £1,000,000 which makes it the most valuable jump race in Europe. 600 million people will watch the race in over 140 countries.

Sponsored by Randox Health, the Grand National UK handicap steeplechase is over 4 miles 514 yards with horses jumping 30 fences over two laps. Enjoy a relaxed raceday experience with a mix of high-quality racing and easy-going entertainment.

The Grand National Day is the most iconic of all handicapped horseracing events in the world. 40 horses and their jockeys will present in the ultimate test in British horse racing. The Grand National course has much larger fences than normal. The Chair, Valentine’s Brook, Foinavon, Becher’s Brook, and the Canal Turn are just some of the famous fences that runners and rider need to navigate in the race.

Even after Tiger Roll’s recent second place at Cheltenham in the March 11th Glenfarclas Cross Country race, this traditional prep run moved him from 5-1 to 8-1 betting odds.  Tiger Roll is still heading the market for the big race. Even though he has been purposely trained for this race, check out the rest of the race contenders to see what value is elsewhere.

Kimberlite Candy won the McCoy Contractors Classic Chase by 10 lengths which makes him a leading Randox Health Grand National contender. He traveled well and jumped the National fences very nicely. He is sure to be a popular horse on the big day.

Magic of Light nearly spoiled the Tiger Roll party in 2019 but had to settle for second place at massive odds of 66-1. At her current 2020 rating of 16-1, she was the only mare to run in the 2019 race at odds of 125-1.  She is already on back-to-back wins this season.

Burrows Saint at 12-1 is another class runner who gave trainer Willie Mullins his first Irish Grand National win in 2019.  He also had a recent win at Punchestown which increased his outlook, but he will only be 7 years old for the 2020 Grand National, so he may still be too young.

Any Second Now won the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup at the 2019 Cheltenham Festival.  He fell in the 2019 Irish National but he was running well at the time. He is rated at 12-1.

Definitely Red at 14-1 has a good overall record at the track, and with his proven ability to handle the fences, looks an interesting runner.

As for little Tiger Roll, it would be gutting if he loses his chance to make racing history.

The 172nd Grand National will go down in Aintree folklore as the one when Tiger Roll, racing’s rockstar, was admitted to one of the most exclusive clubs in sport: a two-time winner of the world’s greatest race.

He warmed up with a solid second at Cheltenham 2020 and Gordon Elliott wants decent ground for him at Aintree — if it’s on.

Tiger is owned by Gigginstown stud and boss Eddie O’Leary is appealing for common sense about the National. He wants the great race to be run behind closed doors if necessary.

As the weights for the 2020 Randox Health Grand National are set to be revealed on Tuesday afternoon, victory at Aintree on the first Saturday in April would see Tiger Roll emulate Red Rum in becoming only the second horse to win three Grand Nationals. He would become the first to win three in a row.

Owners Michael and Eddie O’Leary of Gigginstown House Stud will reconsider running the ten-year-old Tiger Roll if the rating he is allowed to run off by the BHA handicapper is not compressed to what they believe is an acceptable level. They’ve compressed the race by 8lb on average for the past ten years.

On the Thursday before the Grand National – April 2 – the final 40-runner field (plus four reserves) will be confirmed.

British Racing is in close communication with the Government about current public health matters in the UK and the advice is to continue the business of the country as usual, while adhering to the latest public health advice.

What Is the Biggest National Hunt Meet in the UK?

With the upcoming Cheltenham Festival in March, and the Grand National in April, there’s so much for racing fans to be excited. Various punters and bookies are already making their Cheltenham tips as well as those for the Grand National. Of course, you can always expect those big shock wins — but jockeys, trainers, fans, and horses are all getting prepared for what who they think will place well this season. It’s a fantastic time of year for everyone involved with a rich historical legacy.

Both the Cheltenham Festival and the National Hunt are the most impressive, and largest, national hunt meetings in the UK. But which one is the biggest? And what audiences do they appeal to?

Here’s everything you need to know.

What they’re all about

There are, of course, some stark differences between the two events. The Cheltenham Festival, which takes place across four days at Prestbury Park, involves 28 different races. The Cheltenham Festival has its top race — the highlight being the Cheltenham Gold Cup, a steeplechase covering 3 miles 2 ½ furlongs and 22 fences. But the other races, including the Champion Hurdle, Queen Mother Champion Chase, Coral Cup, and Stayers’ Hurdle, all have their prestigious elements too.

The Grand National at Aintree is one big race — at the end of a three-day mini-festival on Merseyside. Watched by over 600 million people in 140 countries, the Grand National is run over 4 miles 3 ½ furlongs with 30 fences. It’s a thrilling extravaganza with an intimidating 30 fences for both horse and jockey to get through.

Both the Grand National and the Cheltenham Festival have hosted an exhaustive history of riders and runners, as well as some historic races that have captivated fans from all around the world.

The one for the racing experts

The main event of the Grand National, the only Grade 3 race during the festival, is definitely the highlight. It does have eleven Grade 1 races throughout the course of the event, but they’re definitely not the first that come to mind when you think of the Grand National. The Cheltenham Festival on the other hand, has six Grade 3 races, fourteen Grade 1 races, and two Grade 2 races — meaning racing enthusiasts get to experience top tier race after top tier race, throughout the course of the four days.

It’s not just the racing enthusiasts that prefer Cheltenham. Many jockeys consider winning the Gold Cup at the Cheltenham Festival a more prestigious opportunity than the Grand National. Former Irish race horsing jockey Tony McCoy confirmed this in an interview with the Belfast Telegraph, saying: “It is the public who prefer the Grand National and that’s what makes it so big every year.” He described the Gold Cup as the pinnacle of the sport. Of course, it’s all a matter of opinion, but safe to say that racing experts definitely lean towards Cheltenham Festival when it comes to the two famous national hunt meets.

What the punters prefer

McCoy probably got it right when he described how much the public love the Grand National. It’s been held in high regard by punters since the days of Red Rum — the famous horse who brought public interest back to the Grand National in the 1970s. It’s one of the most bet on events in the country, and the most wagered on horse race in the UK — with many people who wouldn’t otherwise bet on a horse race taking their chances at the Grand National. Either way, both the Grand National and Cheltenham Festival have been massively popular events and continue to be exciting for everyone involved.

The World’s Biggest Horse Races

Photo credit – Pixabay.

Horse racing is known as the sport of Kings. For generations, people have flocked to the track to share in the excitement generated by a horse race meet.

The horses and jockeys become household names and often the skills behind the events are underestimated. Trainers put months of work into keeping the horses in great shape; jockeys train incessantly to ensure they’re in tip-top condition.

Horse racing is a science, a sport of tactics, outside variables, and opinion. Across the world, some races are so rewarding and famous that a win can turn the career of a jockey in an instant. Some countries have a signature race, one which not only enthusiasts watch, but even people with no more than a passing interest in sport.

So, here are some of the biggest horse races in the world.

Kentucky Derby

Churchill Downs hosts perhaps the most famous horse race in the U.S and one that is recognizable across the world. Inaugurated in 1875, it was first run over the same length as the Epsom Derby in the UK, before shortening to its current length of 10 furlongs just before the turn of the 19th century.

Eddie Arcaro and Bill Hartack share the record for the most wins by a single jockey, coming in first on five occasions each. In more modern times, Calvin Borel entered the record books for winning three out of four races, as outlined by a Bloomberg report.

Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe

The French capital is a hotbed of activity for horse enthusiasts, not just in the racing genre. The 11th Longines Masters of Paris saw three French riders in podium places, but the city’s premier horse racing event is rarely as cut and dried.

bwin Horse Racing calls the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe Europe’s richest race with a total prize purse in the region of €5m ($5.59m). It came a little later than the Kentucky Derby, first being run in 1920, but it has risen to be one of the major events on the European sporting calendar.

Renowned jockey Frankie Dettori holds the records for the most wins, spanning 13 years. His first victory came back in 1995 on Lammtarra (1995), before winning on Sakhee (2001), Marienbard (2002), Golden Horn (2015), and a double with Enable (2017, 2018).

Grand National

Just across the channel lies the United Kingdom, one of the first countries to embrace horse racing as a passion. The biggest race in the country takes place in the early part of the year having been run ever since 1839 at Aintree on Merseyside.

It’s run over a gruelling four miles and isn’t without controversy; some calls have been made in British media to stop the race from happening.

Perhaps the most famous name in Grand National history is Red Rum; the champion thoroughbred won the race in 1973, 1974, and 1977, finishing second in 1975 and 1976. Such was his legacy, when he died in 1995 aged 30, they buried him at the finishing post of the race he had come to define.

Could There Be a 2019 Grand National with No Irish Runners?

Our lives have been consumed with Brexit for more than two years and with things getting down to the wire, there are no signs of it stopping any time soon.

The number of industries likely to be affected by the current situation is far too many to count. But one that will definitely be affected is British Horseracing. With Prime Minister Teresa May’s Brexit deal getting the big thumbs down last week, those at the BHA are bracing themselves for its impact on the rest of the racing season, particularly the Grand National at Aintree on April 6th 2019.

A race known for its notoriously difficult fences, a huge portion of the entries come from Ireland. The likes of Irish Champion Trainer Willie Mullins and last year’s winning trainer, Gordon Elliott, enter a significant amount of potential runners.

As those entries get whittled down through the declaration stages, more than a third end up taking part in the race. In 2018, last minute withdrawals from Regal Encore and Walk In The Mill saw the number of starters reduced from 40 to 38 and 15 of them were brought from Ireland.

So why would Brexit impact the Grand National? The answer is simple. The UK, Ireland, and France are signatories on the Tripartite Agreement. This is an amendment to an existing European directive that allows the free movement of horses within those three countries. If Britain leaves the EU with no deal, then the Tripartite Agreement ceases to exist. And if it doesn’t exist then there is no free movement of horses from Ireland to the UK.

Bookmakers have cut the odds of no Irish runners in the Grand National to 16/1, which may seem quite drastic. However, that’s due to an unusual increase on Brexit bets. It’s also highly unlikely.

The British Horseracing Authority are keeping a close eye on the political developments and are determined to ensure that the Grand National still takes place with the best horses taking part.

“We are watching the political discussions around Brexit very closely and talk frequently to government,” a BHA spokesperson said.

Furthermore, a statement on the BHA’s website states clarifies the situation even more.

It reads: “In a No deal scenario the same rules and laws will apply the day before and after exit, with further changes agreed over time by the UK Parliament.

“Therefore, in broad terms, the starting point for the UK Thoroughbred breeding and racing industry is that rules and regulations relating to imports and activities from the EU to the UK will remain the same, in the short term.”

The BHA have put in place plenty of measures to ensure that racing continues as usual and thankfully, for fans of the Grand National, it means the odds of no Irish runners lining up is slim to none.

Aintree Grand National 2019

When the Cheltenham Festival is over in the United Kingdom, horse racing fans across the world start to look towards World’s most famous, exciting and prestigious Grand National. Held on the historic Aintree course in Liverpool, this is a huge test of jumping ability and stamina, where only the best and most courageous horse comes through.

This National Hunt horse race will be held on Saturday, April 6, 2019 at Aintree Racecourse in Liverpool, England. Look to the Grand National guide for an indispensable aid to finding the winner of the World’s most famous and prestigious horse race.

The “National” offers a different kind of horse-racing experience with a pack of horses competing along a 4-mile course studded with 30 fences. This is a handicap race where horses wear different weights. The National Hunt horse race’s Steeplechase style is popular in France and the United Kingdom. A Steeplechase is a distance horse race in which competitors are required to jump diverse fence and ditch obstacles.

Modern usage of the term “steeplechase” differs between countries. In Ireland and the United Kingdom, it refers only to races run over large, fixed obstacles, in contrast to “hurdle” races where the obstacles are much smaller. The collective term “jump racing” or “National Hunt racing” is used when referring to steeplechases and hurdle races collectively. Elsewhere in the world, “steeplechase” is used to refer to any race that involves jumping obstacles.

The drama is spread out over 3 days while spectators gather in the grandstands and all-inclusive restaurants to watch the winning horse pass through the finish line after jumping the last obstacle along the Steeplechase. The Grand Opening Day is on Thursday 4th and Ladies’ Day is on Friday 5th, before Saturday’s Grand National Day.

This steeplechase race course has much larger fences than those found on conventional National Hunt tracks. Many of these, particularly Becher’s Brook, The Chair, and the Canal Turn, have become famous and, combined with the distance of the event, create what has been called “the ultimate test of horse and rider.”

The Grand National site contains everything you need to know about this magical race. The National will be held at the Aintree Racecourse which is predicted to host over 150,000 racegoers across the 3 days. An estimated worldwide audience of over 600 million people will tune in to watch on TV.

The National is the most valuable jump race in Europe that captures the imagination of millions of watchers around the world. It has an ability to consistently produce thrilling finishes and heart-warming stories.

The National is popular among many people who do not normally watch or bet on horse racing at other times of the year. Read the Aintree Grand National 2019 Betting companion article for details and tips on betting.

Aintree Grand National 2019 – Betting

The Grand National is popular among many people who do not normally watch or bet on horse racing at other times of the year. For those of you that aren’t in the know, visit Grand National betting for the current favorites and to educate yourself in the best assistance for the best bets you can find with the best UK bookmakers.

After the Grand National Weights are announced, odds shift. Believe it or not, it is possible to apply an element of science to Grand National betting.

The Grand National is a handicap race. The skill in betting on a handicap race lies in predicting which horse can overcome its handicap. Although most handicap races are run for older, less valuable horses, this is not true in all cases; some great races are handicaps, such as this Grand National steeplechase in England and the Melbourne Cup in Australia. In the United States over 30 handicap races are classified as Grade I, the top level of the North American grading system.

The bookmakers are already offering Grand National betting odds – ante post markets will cover some of the most-likely Grand National tips for the horses that head up the market. But expect the odds/pricing to change by race time!

Are you new to ante post betting? Get the low down with the Ante Post Betting Guide. Learn about different types of Grand National Betting using Tote Betting, Simple Win Betting, and Each-way betting and pick the 2019 Grand National Winner! Ante post betting in Europe is similar to advanced deposit wagering in the United States, which is a form of gambling on the outcome of horse races in which the bettor must fund his or her account before being allowed to place bets.

Only forty horses are allowed in the National race, so for the numbers above that, those horses may not make the cut and be a part of the National. The key to having an ante post bet is to find a horse that is guaranteed to make the lineup on the day. Be sure to take in account illness and injuries, last-minute dropouts. Then what about the fairytale entries?

For example, can “One for Arthur” become the first back to back winner since Red Rum, or can Richard Johnson end his streak as the unluckiest jockey in National history?

The scale of the UK’s Grand National betting activity is huge! It is estimated that if all of the betting slips from the Grand National were placed end-to-end, they would stretch all the way from Liverpool to Las Vegas and back – a distance of more than 5,000 miles!

Records:

  • Leading horse: Red Rum – 3 wins (1973, 1974, 1977)
  • Leading jockey: George Stevens – 5 wins (Freetrader, 1856; Emblem 1863; Emblematic, 1864; The Colonel, 1869, 1870)
  • Fastest winning time: Mr. Frisk (1990); 8:47.80
  • Oldest winning horse: Peter Simple (1853); aged 15
  • Most rides in the race: 20 (A. P. McCoy, 1995-2015), (Richard Johnson, 1997-2016)
  • Most rides without winning: 20 (Richard Johnson, 1997-2016)

For those that are concerned about Steeplechase deaths: equine deaths in the Grand National are higher than the average steeplechase, with six deaths per 439 horses between 2000 and 2010. Due to the high number of injuries and deaths suffered by participating horses, animal rights groups have campaigned to have the race modified or abolished.

After two horses died in the 1989 Grand National, some of the National’s most challenging fences have been modified, while still preserving them as formidable obstacles. Also, changes in setup and procedure allow veterinarians to treat horses more rapidly.

I Just Know Can Spring Grand National Surprise

Photo: “Aintree Grandstand” by Paul (CC BY-SA 2.0).

The world’s most famous horse race, the Grand National, is coming up this weekend, and the race looks to be as competitive as ever. This is one of the biggest sporting events in the world and many people look forward to the race, ensuring they have a prime viewing spot to watch the action unfold whether they are at the track, out with friends or at home. Those who watch horse racing on a daily basis will be looking forward to the Grand National, as will those who tune into racing once each year to have a punt on the horses.

The latest Grand National 2018 odds show that the race is going to be extremely competitive, as it always is, and the favorite for the race is still not known. We usually see a late market move on the day, which can determine who will be sent off the favorite, and we look like having that again this year. Right now, the race for favoritism looks to be between three Irish horses, Total Recall (10/1), Tiger Roll (11/1) and Anibale Fly (10/1), and the English challenger Blaklion (12/1).

Further down the betting list, you will find a very interesting contender in I Just Know (22/1) for the Sue Smith yard. He won’t be one of the most popular Grand National betting tips that you see but he looks to have a great chance of running a big race at big odds. He won the North Yorkshire National in January, showing his liking for a grueling test of stamina like the one that will take place on Saturday. He had a nice prep run for this race over hurdles, and that should have put him spot on for the feature race on Saturday.

The latest weather forecast shows that Saturday should be a dry day at Aintree, something which should leave the ground on the soft side. That will suit I Just Know and this can help him run a very big race and certainly outrun his odds. The Grand National is often full of unlucky horses but I Just Know likes to make the running so he should be at the front and away from any potential trouble that will happen in behind him.

Sue Smith knows what it takes to win a Grand National and she has had a similar success in the past with outsider Auroras Encore winning the 2013 race. She will be hungry for another victory in the race and will be doing all she can to ensure that preparations go as smoothly as possible for I Just Know.

40 runners will go to the post on Saturday for the biggest horse race of the year and excitement surrounding the event is really building. The race looks to be as competitive as ever and many horses will go into the race with a chance of winning. At big odds, I Just Know from the Sue Smith yard can run a huge race and upset some of the bigger names by taking the 2018 Grand National.

The Cheltenham Festival vs. the Grand National

The Cheltenham Festival is a United Kingdom meeting in the National Hunt racing calendar that takes place annually in March at Cheltenham Racecourse in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. The meeting usually coincides with Saint Patrick’s Day. The Cheltenham Festival originated in 1860 when the National Hunt Chase was first held at Market Harborough. It was initially titled the Grand National Hunt Meeting and took place at several locations since its institution.

The Stayers’ Hurdle, first ran in 1912, is the oldest race from the Cheltenham festival that is currently a championship race. The Gold Cup, established in 1924, was originally a supporting race for the County Hurdle which was the main event of the first day, but that quickly changed and in the following seasons it became a championship race; however, for many years it was still used by the trainers as a preparation race for the Grand National. The Cheltenham Festival race prize money is second only to the Grand National, also a National Hunt horse race held annually in April at Aintree Racecourse in Liverpool, England. Its course over which the race is run features much larger fences than those found on conventional National Hunt tracks like The Cheltenham Festival.

Until 2005 The Cheltenham Festival had traditionally been held over the course of three days, but this changed with the introduction of a fourth day, meaning there would be one championship race on each day, climaxing with the Gold Cup on that Friday in March.

Unlike Royal Ascot and many other top flat racing events in Britain and Ireland, the Cheltenham Festival does not have a history of attracting many international contenders. Races held in the United States are flat races unlike the hurdle and steeplechase races in the UK.

The number and type of races at the Cheltenham Festival has changed dramatically over the years of its existence. It has grown from a two-day meeting to a four-day meeting. In 2017, there were 28 races.

8th April Horse Racing – Grand National (Aintree)

The Grand National is a National Hunt horse race held annually at Aintree Racecourse in Liverpool, England. First run in 1839, it is a handicap steeplechase over 4 miles 514 yards (6.907 km) with horses jumping 30 fences over two laps. It is the most valuable jump race in Europe, with a prize fund of £1 million in 2016. An event that is prominent in British culture, the race is popular amongst many people who do not normally watch or bet on horse racing at other times of the year.

The course over which the race is run features much larger fences than those found on conventional National Hunt tracks. Many of these, particularly Becher’s Brook, The Chair and the Canal Turn, have become famous in their own right and, combined with the distance of the event, create what has been called “the ultimate test of horse and rider”.

Who will win the 2017 Randox Health Grand National? It’s the question everyone is asking, and without the aid of a crystal ball or a time machine we’re all forced to study Grand National odds to help us find the winner.

The Grand National betting market is of course the most popular of the year and once again it is looking like the National’s odds is wide open with any number of horses in with a genuine chance. Vieux Lion Rouge is a major contender for David Pipe this season. Favorite backers have found it hard to find Grand National winners in recent years but confidence is growing that Vieux Lion Rouge could become the third market leader to prevail at Aintree in the last decade.

The most recent running of the race, in 2016, was won by Rule the World, ridden by jockey David Mullins for trainer Mouse Morris. The next Grand National is on 8 April 2017.

70 horses in all will attempt to navigate the 30-fence, four mile, 514 yard steeplechase course, with the race scheduled to begin at 5:15pm BST/DST on Saturday. List of Grand National 2017 runners and riders: full list of horses and jockeys for Aintree race.

The Grand National has been broadcast live on free-to-air terrestrial television in the United Kingdom since 1960. From then until 2012 it was broadcast by the BBC. Between 2013 and 2016 it was shown by Channel 4; the UK broadcasting rights transfer to ITV from 2017. An estimated 500 to 600 million people watch the Grand National in over 140 countries. It has also been broadcast on radio since 1927; BBC Radio held exclusive rights until 2013; however, Talksport also now holds radio commentary rights.

The Course

The Grand National is run over the National Course at Aintree and consists of two laps of 16 fences, the first 14 of which are jumped twice. Horses completing the race cover a distance of 4 miles 514 yards (6.907 km), the longest of any National Hunt race in Britain. As part of a review of safety following the 2012 running of the event, from 2013 to 2015 the start was moved 90 yards (82 m) forward away from the crowds and grandstands, reducing the race distance by 110 yards (100 m) from the historical 4 miles 880 yards (7.242 km). The course is also notable for having one of the longest run-ins from the final fence of any steeplechase, at 494 yards (452 m).

The Grand National was designed as a cross-country steeplechase when it was first officially run in 1839. The runners started at a lane on the edge of the racecourse and raced away from the course out over open countryside towards the Leeds and Liverpool Canal. The gates, hedges and ditches that they met along the way were flagged to provide them with the obstacles to be jumped along the way with posts and rails erected at the two points where the runners jumped a brook. The runners returned towards the racecourse by running along the edge of the canal before re-entering the course at the opposite end. The runners then ran the length of the racecourse before embarking on a second circuit before finishing in front of the stands. The majority of the race therefore took place not on the actual Aintree Racecourse but instead in the adjoining countryside. That countryside was incorporated into the modern course but commentators still often refer to it as “the country”.

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.