The Cheltenham Festival may only have finished late last week but the horseracing and sports betting industries don’t sleep. The fourth month of the year will be upon us before you know it and with it what is recognized as one of the big three races in the horseracing industry, The Grand National.
With a record breaking purse of £950,000, more than half going to the winner, this year’s race will be run at 4:15 on Saturday April 9 and of the 102 entries the winner will be one of 40 lucky horses – oh and the all important four reserves.
For the sports betting industry, it’s one of those days where you get the casual punter who wanders in with the words “I always have a flutter on the National” firmly etched into their head.
This year’s race will likely see a number of entries from the trainer that enjoyed a very successful Cheltenham Festival week, Paul Nicholls. One horse taking part that will attract more attention than most though will be the Nicholls trained What A Friend in large part down to one of the horse’s owners.
Sir Alex Ferguson has been in the racing game for some time now and has seen much of his success with Rock Of Gibraltar in the past. Fergie has never had as good a chance as this to win the National though.
Victor Chandler has the horse as the second favorite with odds of 11/1. Of the horse’s chances, spokesperson Charlie McCann said, “It is no surprise that punters have come for What A Friend given he is 15lb well in on official figures after his terrific run at Cheltenham and we have had to clip him into 12s from 14s.
“We also make him 3/1 to go off market leader for the race; we are asking will punters get behind AP and Don’t Push It again? Or perhaps Sam Waley-Cohen and Oscar Time as he bids to do the Gold Cup/National double? What about Ruby Walsh if he rides The Midnight Club? Or Silver By Nature if the heavens open? It looks a very difficult puzzle to solve at this stage.”
It’s still a couple of weeks until the race but with the murmurs around the race already materializing, this year’s National could go down in horseracing folklore.