Its not just the horse that wins the Grand National – much depends on who is on board as trainers look to put the best jockeys on their best horses – we take a look at where the top jockeys are riding at Aintree.
AP McCoy (Colbert Station 16/1 or Sunnyhillboy 20/1) – Quite simply, in terms of riding winners, AP McCoy is the greatest National Hunt jockey of all-time.
He is super-human when it comes to riding racehorses. If someone put a gun to your head and made you chose a jockey to ride a horse where your life depended on it then McCoy would be your answer.
He is the 17-time Champion jockey for a reason. The leading jumps rider of all time has however struggled to find his best form for the Grand National.
Despite many attempts he has only won the race once, and that was in 2010 with Don’t Push It.
That win was the catalyst for him to win the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award.
The mental scars will still be rife in his mind from last year though when Cheltenham Gold Cup winner, Synchronised, was euthanized after sustaining a leg fracture.
McCoy was unseated early on in the race but the horse suffered the injury whilst running loose and jumping the 11th fence.
He will be looking for a better National experience this season, and has a couple of intriguing horses to choose from.
His boss JP McManus has both Colbert Station and Sunnyhillboy, who finished second last season, and there doesn’t seem much between them. However, you can guarantee whichever horse McCoy chooses will shorten considerably in the betting once the housewives get stuck in.
Ruby Walsh (Most likely to ride On His Own 7/1) – Ruby Walsh holds the best record of current jockeys, having won the Grand National twice, on Papillon in 2000 and Hedgehunter in 2005.
Powerful as a boxer but with the agility of a ballerina, Walsh is one of the most feared jockeys in the weighing room. He rarely takes any prisoners and will go through the pain barrier to ride a winner on the big stage.
He looks to have the pick of a real classy string of horses this year, with Willie Mullins providing some real talented National contenders.
You would assume that Walsh will be likely to ride the well backed favourite On His Own, who fell in last year’s race when seemingly going very well and should be in a better position to make it all the way round this season.
Daryl Jacob (Join Together 25/1) – One of the most iconic moments of the 2012 Grand National was seeing winning jockey Daryl Jacob in tears as he came into the winning enclosure aboard Neptune Collonges.
It was his biggest career win after becoming second stable jockey to Ruby Walsh at Paul Nicholls’ stables earlier in 2012. It was a fine ride, too. The winner was never in front until he hit the final stride as Jacob pushed and pulled every ounce of strength out of the gutsy stayer.
With Walsh likely to choose the Mullins first string On His Own to ride, Jacob again will get to ride the Nicholls’ number one which this year will be Join Together. He may lack the class to be a real National contender though.
Jason Maguire (Ballabriggs 20/1) – Maguire will return to the back of his greatest racing achievement at Aintree – the back of Ballabriggs.
The two combined to great effect in 2011 when the Donald McCain-trained chaser was ever-so brave to win one of the hottest recorded Nationals on record. Maguire is a very talented horseman but also has the ability to push a horse when needs be.
His chances of becoming a two-time winning National jockey looks slim this year though as Ballabriggs is surely too high in the weights to make a play for the main prize.