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Runners to Watch at The Grand National 2022

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April’s Grand National is sure to be another landmark event this year and excitement is growing amongst fans. Its one of the biggest horse racing events of the year enticing fanatics of the sport as well as new spectators to enjoy the event either live at Aintree racecourse, or at home on TV or online. There are three days of racing with a headline race on each day, with some of the world’s top jockeys and horses set to compete in events of different lengths and difficulty levels. The highlight of the whole event comes on day three with the Grand National race itself, a 4-mile steeplechase with 30 fences. Last year's race was won by Minella Times and Rachael Blackmore, who became the first female jockey to win the Grand National. While this year’s runners haven’t been confirmed yet, the pair are expected to compete again. However, he is only fourth favourite this year according to oddschecker’s horse racing expert Andy Holding, which is testament to the expected strength of this year’s field. So let’s take a look at some of the runners to watch in each day’s highlight event at the Grand National.

Day one - Betway Bowl

The first day of the Grand National features seven races during over five hours of action. The main event of the day is The Betway Bowl, a 3-mile steeple chase with nineteen challenging jumps. Last year’s race was won by Clan Des Obeaux, a 9 year old Bay Gelding trained by Paul Nichols and part owned by sir Alex Ferguson. Since being ridden to glory by Harry Cobden, he has been in fine form, He won at Punchestown alongside Sam Twiston-Davies in April and finished second at Kempton Park with Cobden in December. He is confirmed for two races in February at Leopardstown and Ascot, so fans will be watching closely to see if he looks in the kind of form to replicate last year’s success. Last year’s runner up Clandaw Castle is also expected to attend, although since finishing second at Aintree, he has only managed a third place finish at Wetherby and fourth place at Haydock Park. Having been ridden by Jonathan Burke almost exclusively since 2019, some fans are suggesting a change of jockey could facilitate an upturn in form for Clandaw Castle, so watch this space.

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Day two – The Melling Chase

The Melling Chase, named after the Melling Road that crosses the racecourse and leads to the village of the same name, is the highlight event of the second day of the Grand National. Ladies Day, as day two is better known, is famous for style and entertainment off the track as well as elite racing. Last year’s attendees were lucky enough to see Joseph O’Brien-trained Fakir Dóudaries win the Melling Chase comfortably, justifying his pre-race odds of 2/1. Since then, he has performed reasonably well, finishing third and fourth at Punchestown in April and December respectively and winning ahead of a field of four at Clonmel in November. At the tender age of seven many believe he still hasn’t reached his peak, a scary prospect for his opponents.

Day Three – Grand National

The third and final day of Grand National weekend is all about its namesake race, the main event of the weekend. It features 30 jumping fences over four miles, capturing the attention of fans at the racecourse and around the world. As well as being one of the nations biggest sporting events, it is also the most valuable steeplechase on the continent with this year’s prize fund reported to be £1 million. Last year’s winners Minella Times and Rachael Blackmore will face tough competition to hold on to their crown with Any Second Now believed to be the favourite this year. He finished third in the 2021 race and has only raced once since, a ninth place finish at Navan. He has a record of surprises and many believe the stars may be aligning for him in time for April.