The Grand National at Aintree is one of the most popular races of the year in the UK. A maximum field of 40 runners will line up at the Merseyside racecourse in April bidding to win the £1 million contest.
Here is a look at the 2022 Grand National entries and three horses who have an excellent chance of coming out on top this year.
One of the most versatile horses in training today is Melon. Willie Mullins’ runner has had major success over hurdles and fences in his career. He has finished second in the Champion Hurdle twice, while he was also runner-up in the Marsh Novices’ Chase.
Melon has three entries at the Cheltenham Festival this season, including the Championship race on day three, where he is 20/1 in the Stayers’ Hurdle betting. He should come out of the Cheltenham race sharp and ready to tackle the Grand National a month later.
With an official rating of 163, only two horses are rated higher than Melon in this year’s Grand National field, and they are Conflated and Galvin. The Irish runner ended a long losing sequence when he prevailed in the Red Mills Chase at Gowran Park last time out.
At the age of 10, Melon now appreciates a stiffer test than when he was in the early stages of his career. He is 40/1 in the ante-post market, which represents great value in the race this year.
Only two horses since 1974 have been able to defend their crown in the Grand National. Red Rum and Tiger Roll both managed it. Although he will have 15lb more on his back on his next attempt, Minella Times won the race comfortably in 2021, which suggests he can defy this climb in the weights.
This contest has been in mind for Minella Times’ connections ever since their horse crossed the line in first place last April. He has had two appearances this season, but they were used to boost the fitness of the Irish horse before he returns to Liverpool.
Minella Times will also benefit from having Rachael Blackmore as his rider again. She is full of confidence at the moment, after a brilliant season in Ireland. The pair are 16/1 to repeat what they achieved last season at Aintree.
Gordon Elliott’s mare Mount Ida has been running very well this season. She is unbeaten in two starts. The eight-year-old was successful in a Listed race at Clonmel (2m4½f) on her opening run of the campaign. She then won a Grade Three contest at Fairyhouse.
Since she switched to fences, Mount Ida has won on four of her seven outings. One of those successes came at the 2021 Cheltenham Festival as she prevailed in the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup by over six lengths.
The Irish horse will be stepping up in trip, but her trainer must be confident she will be able to handle the stamina test. She is 20/1 to become the first mare to win the Grand National since 1951.
It looks set to be a fantastic renewal of the Grand National. Hopefully one of the above three horses can make it a winning race for you.