With the 2015 National Hunt season now well under way, attention is already turning to the Grand National event at Aintree Racecourse. Despite not taking place until April, fans and buffs are already speculating which racehorse will clinch the Grand National title this year.
The Grand National is notoriously difficult to predict, with previous form not always proving indicative to a winner when it comes to placing a bet on the Grand National. More often than not, it is a case of the stars aligning for any given jockey and the rider taking advantage.
However, as is often the case in sport, it is fun to speculate regardless. Therefore, for those enjoying the build-up and anticipation, here are three Grand National favourites to look out for.
Pineau de Re
No horse has won consecutive Grand Nationals since 1974, when the legendary Red Rum defended his 1973 title. Bred by Michel Hardy and born in France, Pineau de Re came from respectable if unspectacular stock. His sire, Maresco Sorrento, had some success as a hurdler in France but his dam, Elfe du Perche, was not even a thoroughbred.
Despite having only competed in one race since his victory at the 2014 Grand National, a poor 11th place showing at Cheltenham, Pineau de Re is still expected to perform well. Considering that the bay gelding came from equally lacklustre form to snatch the title last year, it is not unimaginable to see him do it again. However, considering the length of time since a successful title defence, Pineau de Re will have his work cut out.
Apart from having perhaps the best name of any Grand National contender, Shutthefrontdoor has proven to be a strong performer when the favourite. Whilst many horses, and jockeys, fail to back up their favourite status, Shutthefrontdoor did just that at the Irish National in 2014.
The 8-1 favourite and jockey Barry Geraghty bucked the trend of long-priced winners at the Irish Nation in 2014 by beating Golden Wonder at Fairyhouse. Fans can still hope that Shutthefrontdoor continues to thrive as the favourite and not crumple like so many of his peers.
Do not let the prim and proper sound of Teaforthree’s name fool you, this experienced racehorse is anything but docile. The outright favourite to win the Grand National last year due to a fine series of prep-runs, Teaforthree only floundered at the finish-line.
Having not won a race since March 2012 and not participating in any prep-runs in 2015, Teaforthree will be nicely under the radar at the Grand National this year. However, do not be fooled, Teaforthree is a proven champion and, with eyes not so much on him, may just make good on his expectations from 2014.