Super owner JP McManus has eight entries in the 2020 Grand National. Surprisingly they are trained by no less than seven different trainers with only Thomas Mullins entering two – Scoir Mear, Spider Web. Incidentally, both of those are too far down the list of entries to make the cut this year. Fitzhenry, trained by Paul Nolan is also an unlikely runner.
That leaves him with Anibale Fly trained by Tony Martin, Any Second Now trained by Ted Walsh, Kimberlite Candy trained by Tom Lacey, Regal Encore trained by Anthony Honeyball and Ok Corral trained by Nicky Henderson. So five horses with five different trainers and all have their merits.
JP McManus Runners Odds
As it stands, JP McManus, the winning owner of Don’t Push It in 2010, owns three of the runners in the Top 10 of the 2020 Grand National betting market. Any Second Now is joint second-favourite on general odds of 12/1.
Kimberlite Candy can still be backed at around 16/1. And Anibale Fly is slightly further out at 20/1. Of the three, Anibale Fly is the only one to have previously run in a Grand National. He was 4th in 2018 and despite carrying top, still managed 5th place in 2019. This is a runner that knows how to get around the difficult fences and with less weight in 2020, could be one to watch.
"He's in great order. He's just really come to himself this year."
— Racing TV (@RacingTV) February 11, 2020
Any Second Now is another fine chaser. His odds were slashed on the back of his win at Naas on Feb 23rd. According to trainer Ted Walsh, he will now head straight to Aintree. Whether he can tackle the race with the gusto he displayed at Naas is unknown, but if he can jump well, he could certainly do well in the race.
With Regal Encore almost certain to get a place, he too has run his last prep race. That was at Ascot on Feb 15th where he finished third behind Valtor (2nd) and the winner Ballyoptic. He ran last year as well and finished in 7th place. Despite that, he is still a 66/1 chance for the 2020 renewal. Most likely because he is 12-years-old.
That leaves Ok Corral with trainer Nicky Henderson. Another relatively short-priced McManus runner, he can be backed at odds of 25/1. The 10-year-old isn’t as well chased as some of the others, with only six starts over fences, but he won last time out at Doncaster in the Sky Bet Chase so he does have a chance.
While all of the JP McManus horses tick quite a few boxes for the National, it’s Kimberlite Candy that could do the best. Yes, the weight Anibale Fly has been handed (11-02) puts him in a great position, however, it’s Kimberlite Candy that is the on-form horse.
In February 2019, Kimberlite was 5th in the Eider Chase at Newcastle over 4m and while he was ultimately pulled up in the Irish Grand National it was on the back of being hampered at the 6th fence in the race.
— Tom Lacey (@tflacey) January 12, 2020
Back again this season, he was second in the Becher Chase which is run over the Grand National fences. He then went to Warwick in January and won over 3m5f.
Of all the McManus horses, this is the one, along with Anibale Fly, with most proven stamina. But unlike Anibale Fly, Kimberlite Candy is actually winning this season. He has also never fallen or unseated his rider and can hold his own in large fields of runners.
It’s a tough call but if I could only pick one JP McManus horse to back for the 2020 Grand National, it would be Kimberlite Candy.