Racing expert Danny Archer takes a look at Saturday's Grand National and picks out his two best bets in the race.
The Randox Health Grand National, a £1-million contest over an extended four and a quarter-miles is the highlight of the three-day Randox Heath Grand National Festival at Aintree Racecourse, just outside Liverpool. The race is synonymous with the great Red Rum, who won the contest on three occasions in the 1970s and of course for its iconic fences, designed with spruce from the Lake District. Famous fences including the Chair, Becher's Brook and the Canal Turn help make the race what it is and therefore, invariably the race that stops the nation.
This year's renewal looks ultra-competitive as always and includes within its midst, a Cheltenham Gold Cup winner, conveying the quality of the event.
However, I'm firstly going for a horse that also won a championship event at the Cheltenham Festival and that is 2014 World Hurdle hero More Of That. One of the most talented horses in training, Jonjo O'Neill's charge was a high-class hurdler who so famously in 2014, captured the Stayers' Hurdle over three miles at Prestbury Park, getting the better of Annie Power in a thrilling finish.
Sent chasing after a poor run in the Long Distance Hurdle in November 2014, the son of Beneficial won his first two starts after nearly a year off over the large obstacles but was then undone by Blaklion in the RSA Chase in 2015.
Since then, the nine-year-old has been inconsistent to say the least. After some pretty disappointing runs earlier this season, the J P McManus-owned gelding hinted at some sort of revival when travelling kindly in the Irish Gold Cup before falling at the final fence. In the Cheltenham Gold Cup last time, More Of That was held up by Aidan Coleman and despite being outpaced at the business end of the race, he stayed on well in the home straight to finish sixth.
On paper, that doesn't look a superb run but he looks a horse who stays all day now. The test of a Grand National, which while unique, may suit him. I see no reason why a proper class horse, one that has been there in the big races and done it before cannot take the Grand National. Gold Cup runners Many Clouds and Neptune Collonges have both won the race in recent times and I think that touch of class has become increasingly pertinent for this race and I strongly fancy him to put in a bold run.
At a price, I'm also keen on the chances of Vicente trained by Paul Nicholls. Bought by Trevor Hemmings earlier this year, a man I spoke to at the track today, there seemed to be positive vibes for the owners who knows that his purchase has got ideal conditions of good ground. An impressive winner of the Scottish Grand National last year by two and three-quarter lengths, he has been disappointing this season but to be honest, most of those runs can be forgotten as he just doesn't act on soft ground. He should enjoy this stiff test of stamina and if taking to the fences, he has to be a player at a big price. He does seem to have been overlooked in the betting but Paul Nicholls could do with winning this race in the trainers championship contest and with conditions in his favour, Vicente has a shout.
4pts E/W - MORE OF THAT
(20/1, Sky Bet
1pt E/W - VICENTE