Grand National Runners and Riders

runners-ridersThe 2013 Grand National is now only a whisker away as we take a look at the Grand National Runners and Riders – and pick out a few who definitely catch our eye.

On His Own (8/1 William Hill) – Owner Graham Wylie has won most things in the world of National Hunt racing but the Grand National has slipped through his clutches. That could all change this year as he has two of the leading contenders for the world’s most famous steeplechase.

On His Own, according to the markets, is Wylie’s best chance and trainer Willie Mullins has spoken highly of his chances.

Jockey Ruby Walsh has the pick of the Mullins string and there is every chance he could chose to ride On His Own – if so, then you can forget about getting 8/1, he’s more likely to be closer to 5/1 once the housewives have ploughed into him.

Seabass (10/1 Bet365) – Trainer Ted Walsh guided Papillon to victory in the 2000 Grand National and Seabass is the stable’s main hope 13 years on.

It’s a real family affair as daughter Katie will take the ride, bidding to become the first ever female jockey to win the race.

She was in the plate when the horse ran a blinder to finish third, but everyone associated with the horse has said this year will be much tougher to be competitive off a mark of 154.

Prince De Beauchane (12/1 Paddy Power) – The 2012 ante-post favourite for the Grand National, who had to be ruled out with injury just before the race, is back in 2013 to put his credentials to the test.

He is another of the Mullins string that is owned by Wylie and could be ridden by Walsh if he decides against riding market leader On His Own.

This horse is undoubtedly classy, but is unproven over a marathon trip like the National.

Cappa Bleu (12/1 Paddy Power) – Last year’s Grand National fourth has been superbly campaigned by his trainer Evan Williams.

His career looked over when suffering a serious fall in the 2009 Hennessy but after eighteen months off the track, Williams has revitalised the horse to become a real National contender.

The leading Welsh hope is a sound jumper but his chances will be affected if the ground continues to ride on the slow side.

Teaforthree (16/1 William Hill) – If you’re looking for a horse that has stamina in abundance, then Teaforthree has to be top of the list.

Talented young trainer Rebecca Curtis guided this horse to win the four-mile National Hunt Chase at the 2012 Cheltenham Festival and then finish a half-length second to Monbeg Dude off a monster weight in terrible conditions.

If the race cuts up and turns into a slog, none will relish the test more than Teaforthree, who is another horse that will be flying the Welsh flag.

Sunnyhillboy (20/1 Bet365) – So near but yet so far was the story of the 2012 Grand National for the JP McManus-owned chaser, losing out by a nose to Neptune Collonges in a breath-taking finish.

One year on and worryingly for his supporters he sits on a 10lbs higher mark, and there is a feeling that he may have missed his chance to win a race of this nature.

Champion jockey AP McCoy decided to ride the ill-fated Synchronised last season but looks likely to be aboard Sunnyhillboy this year, who has had this race in mind all season.

Imperial Commander (25/1 Paddy Power) – On best form the Cheltenham Gold Cup winner is the best handicapped horse in the 2013 Grand National.

Rated 185 when beating Denman in 2010, Nigel Twiston-Davies’ superstar is now rated 158 after suffering injury problems, and baring no further set-backs, looks very well-in despite having to carry top-weight.

Jumping the National fences won’t be a problem under jockey Paddy Brennan but staying the four-mile trip could be.


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