Many Clouds May Run In Gold Cup Before Aintree

2015 Grand National winner Many Clouds is likely to run in the Cheltenham Gold Cup at the Festival in March before his bid to regain his crown at Aintree in the world’s most famous steeplechase.

Oliver Sherwood’s runner featured in the 2015 Gold Cup where he finished a respectable sixth in the race won by the novice chaser Coneygree. That outing at Prestbury Park did him no harm as less than a month later he came out on top in the 4m4f contest over the bigger fences at Aintree to land the Grand National prize for his delighted connections.

The 10-year-old clearly has a liking for the big fences and stamina test at the Merseyside track as he also got round the course in his bid to defend his title in the 2016 Grand National. Although he was a considerable distance behind winner Rule The World in 16th, his jumping held up when he was tired as he got round safely under jockey Leighton Aspell.

Many Clouds has had the sole run so far this campaign. He was one of the horse racing tips provided by Oddschecker to score in a Listed Race in early December at Aintree where he got the better of four rivals on the Mildmay Course. He is set to feature again later this month at Newbury in the Denman Chase. There was a suggestion that he would take on the King George winner Thistlecrack at Cheltenham in the Cotswold Chase – but it now looks like his trainer has decided against that option.

Once he does feature in the Gold Cup, which could be one the lowest fields in the history of the Blue Riband event of the Cheltenham Festival, all the focus will be on Aintree for the Grand National. Given he was successful two years ago, he is likely to be near the top of the weights for the contest. Last year’s winners Rule The World will not feature as he retired straight after his victory in 2016.

The bookmakers make Many Clouds the 16/1 favourite in the ante-post betting for the race. His nearest challenger in the market for the race is The Last Samuri who was second last year after he came home less than two lengths behind Rule The World. If successful, Sherwood’s horse will be the first horse to regain the Grand National trophy since Red Rum did so in 1977.