Last season David Pipe told me that he thought that Rocky Creek had all the right credentials to win the Grand National. The fact that he doesn't even train him speaks volumes as to how highly regarded he is.
He is in fact trained by Paul Nicholls and although he may tick all the right boxes, Nicholls had initially considered not running him last year and instead wanted to wait until the 2015 Grand National before he later changed his mind and gave him a run in the race under jockey Noel Fehily.
5th in 2014 Grand National & BetBright Chase Winner in 2015
Rocky Creek is nine years old and has had eleven chase starts, winning four and placing in five more so other than finishing in 8th spot back in 2012 at Cheltenham in the Albert bartlett Novices Hurdle, and a pull-up at Newbury in November 2014, he's had pretty much an exemplary career, earning connections in excess of £224K.
Prior to the 2015 National he has had three seasonal runs resulting in a second place finish at Down Royal, pulled up in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury but then went on to win at Kempton in February 2015.
He's the perfect all rounder – he jumps well, he runs well, he has the stamina and the guts to go around Aintree and as he's already run the race and finished in fifth place, there's nothing to suggest he isn't capable of doing even better this time around.
Speaking about him in February 2015 after his Betbright Chase win Nicholls said: “That is just what we wanted before Aintree. What happened at Newbury (when tried) with the tongue tie was that he seemed to spit the dummy out (pulled up).
“I was never going to run him before the National weights came out as Aintree was always the number one target.
“Sam Twiston-Davies just ambled round and then ran away with him coming to the second last.
“He jumped and travelled well in last year's National and now that we have got his breathing right, the National should be right up his street.”
2014 Result: The best of Paul Nicholls horses that ran, Rocky Creek finished in 5th place for jockey Noel Fehily.
Picture by: Tony Marshall/EMPICS Sport