In recent years, the Aintree Grand National has proved a very profitable event for the bookmaking fraternity and there were few, if any, complaints from the layers when the unconsidered 66/1 chance Auroras Encore popped up to record a stunning victory at Aintree last April.
The sight of former show jumping superstar, Harvey Smith, struggling for words as his wife’s chaser landed the biggest prize in jumps racing under a superb ride from Ryan Mania, will live long in the memory, and the chances are that the Bingley-based handler might decide to tailor the 11-year-old’s training schedule to a repeat assault on the big race.
Although he was a big price, Auroras Encore was certainly not without a chance in the four-and-a-half mile handicap chase having shown himself to be suited by a stamina test when failing by just a head to win the 2012 Scottish Grand National, being run out of it close home by race specialist Merigo.
On the balance of his form prior to his shock win at Aintree though, he hardly sprang off the page as a horse to have on your side, having been beaten 46 lengths into fifth in the Classic Chase at Warwick, fallen at the second fence in a veterans chase at Doncaster in February, then been beaten a total of 53-lengths when way down the field in the listed Premier Chase at Kelso in March.
But there’s something about Aintree that sparks some horses into doing extraordinary things, and that is just what the gelded son of Second Empire did on April 20. Could he possibly do it again? Well, it’s asking a lot, but plenty of punters will be prepared to take a chance at 33/1 on Betfair.com that lightening might just strike twice.