Horses that run at the Cheltenham Festival and then appear at the Grand National have often been avoided by punters in the past. This is because they have felt the run at Prestbury Park might have taken too much out of the horse ahead of the 4m4f contest at Aintree. That view has been contradicted by the last two Grand National winners, though, as both of the last two champions ran at the Cheltenham Festival with big runs before scoring in the world’s most famous steeplechase.
Cheltenham form can help in Grand National
In 2014, Pineau De Re came home third of 23 runners in the Pertemps Network Final, which was run over 3m. At odds of 33/1, Dr Richard Newland’s runner was involved in a thrilling three-way finish which was won by Fingal Bay, who scored by a nose ahead of Southfield Theatre and with Pineau De Re then a further neck back.
The 11-year-old then built on that Festival run to win the 2014 Grand National by five lengths in an impressive performance where he hit the front approaching the second last fence before pulling clear from the chasing pack. Despite his solid run at Cheltenham, he was allowed to go off at a starting price of 25/1.
Last year, Many Clouds took his chance in the Blue Riband event of the Festival, the Cheltenham Gold Cup, where he ran a respectable sixth in the race won by Coneygree. Although he stayed the 3m2f trip, he just did not have the pace at the closing stages of the race to challenge the leaders.
That run at Cheltenham seemed to tune Many Clouds up perfectly for his shot at the Grand National as he won at 25/1 to give jockey Leighton Aspell his second consecutive victory in the race.
If you look at the Grand National runners this year, it is worth highlighting the ones who ran at the Festival in the hope they can follow in the footsteps of Pineau De Re and Many Clouds.
The most obvious choice from the Grand National runners for 2016 appears to be Cause of Causes who won the Kim Muir Challenge Cup on day three of the Festival. After a slow start to the race, the eight-year-old came from the back of the pack approaching the last before going clear up the hill and eventually winning by 10 lengths. As the weights have already been published, he won’t be penalised for that victory. So, as long as he gets into the race with an allocation of 10-1, he could be in with a big chance.
Another horse which should be on your radar for the Grand National after a big run at Cheltenham is Holywell. The Jonjo O’Neill-trained horse finished second in the Ultima Handicap Chase when he could just not get the better of Un Temps Pour Tout in the closing stages of the 3m1f contest. That was his best outing in a long time so there are encouraging signs ahead of Aintree.