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Is this the classiest Grand National ever?

1st April 2014
Saturday is one of the greatest days in the sporting calendar, ever since I was a kid watching the likes of Oxo, Team Spirit, Nicolaus Silver and of course L’Escargot and the great Red Rum, I have been hooked on this awesome spectacle.

Now that the fences have been correctly modified and the entry levels tightened, we have a tremendous handicap in prospect and this year could be the classiest yet.

The 13 year old TIDAL BAY heads the field and what a great character he has become, winner of over £800k in prize money he will be an incredibly popular winner for Paul Nicholls.

LONG RUN is a Gold Cup winner and a really classy performer with over £1.5m career earnings ridden by the dashing Sam Waley Cohen.

HUNT BALL is the fairytale horse that rose through the handicap ranks a couple of years ago, winning at Cheltenham in 2012 before relocating to America for his new owners. Now back in the UK he is trained, as is Long Run, by the champion trainer, Nicky Henderson.

BALTHAZAR KING and BIG SHU finished 1st and 3rd in this year’s Cross Country chase at the Cheltenham festival and will love these fences and the extreme distance.

BURTON PORT was placed in the 2012 Gold Cup, PINEAU DE RE was a fast finished 3rd at Cheltenham a few weeks ago and PRINCE DE BEAUCHENE is trained by the Irish maestro Willie Mullins.

TEA FOR THREE will probably be sent off favourite, 3rd last year he will be a popular winner for the Rebecca Curtis team, but hasn’t won a race for 2 years and then there’s MONBEG DUDE. Bought cheaply by, amongst others, Mike Tindall (Mr Zara Phillips!), the Dude is a Welsh Grand National winner.

The list goes on, two more that I have a soft spot for are little GOLAN WAY and SOLL, a little slow but a cracking jumper!

You’ll do well to find the winner out of the 40 runners, I’ve mentioned 12 but the winner could easily come from the other 28!

I’ll be cheering on HUNT BALL and BALTHAZAR KING but you can’t ignore LONG RUN! Let’s hope the race is a spectacle for the right reasons and that all contestants, equine and human come back safely.

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