The field has now been finalised for Saturday’s great Grand National – and what an event it promises to be. It now looks as if the ground will be slightly yielding and with former Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Long Run and 2013 Welsh National winner Monbeg Dude in the field – it will be a fascinating event.
Lost Glory was the last withdrawal which made space for Swing Bill to have a run. The Paul Nicholls-trained 13-year-old Tidal Bay is top weight. The horse would have to defy all previous stats carrying 11st 10lbs and bidding to become the oldest National winner for over 90 years.
Nevertheless, the nation’s punters have spoken and they give the old hose a fighting chance. Tidal Bay is currently a best-priced 15-1 chance with Betfair; the country’s biggest betting exchange.
Betfair make last year's third, Teaforthree, a clear 9-1 favourite. Last year’s winner, Auroras Encore, is now retired, whilst the 2013 second-placed Cappa Bleu is out injured.
Teaforthree is followed in the market by Monbeg Dude, a horse which is part-owned by the Queen’s granddaughter Zara Phillips’ husband – ex England rugby union player Mike Tindall. Tindall co-owns Monbeg Dude with Welsh fly-half Nicky Robinson and former team-mate James Simpson-Daniel and horse expert Zara Phillips helped school him over fences.
Long Run, the 2011 Gold Cup winner and dual King George VI Chase winner, trained by last year’s British jump racing Champion Trainer, Nicky Henderson, is currently a 14-1 chance with Betfair – and third favourite. If he wins carrying 11st 9lbs, he’ll have carried more weight to victory than any horse since Red Rum in 1974 who carried 12 stones (Rummy won with 11st 8lbs in 1977). But if any horse is capable if this feat – it’s surely Long Run.
Henderson also runs Hennessy Gold Cup winner Triolo D'Alene, along with Shakalakaboomboom and Hunt Ball and the trainer searches for his first ever National winner.
It promises to be the greatest Grand National for many years.