Connections hoping for National encore with Mr Moonshine

Connections of Mr Moonshine will be hoping that lightning can strike twice when he lines up for the Crabbie’s Grand National at Aintree on Saturday, April 5th.

Trainer Sue Smith, jockey Ryan Mania and owners Douglas Pryde, Jim Beaumont, David van der Hoeven captured the prize 12 months ago when Auroras Encore ran out a nine length winner at odds of 66/1.

The owners bought Mr Moonshine at around the same time as Auroras Encore, and he was sent off the same price as his stable companion when pulled up in last year’s contest.

This year he is set to carry 9lb more having been allotted 10st 12lb, but goes into the race in far better form.

The 10-year-old finished a cracking third over the National fences in Becher Handicap Chase in December, and has since been successful in handicap chases at Musselburgh and Warwick.

He then stayed on well to finish runner-up at Kelso when last seen in action, leaving the impression that he was right at the top of his game.

His age group have also done really well in the National in recent times, winning five of the last 11 runnings, and his experience over the unique fences also has to be seen as a positive.

Another plus is that he has won on a variety of going varying from good to heavy, so underfoot conditions come raceday should hold no fears given that officials will be aiming to run the race on good-to-soft ground.

If the rains do arrive he is one runner who will certainly not be inconvenienced, and he will also have the services in the saddle of Ryan Mania who partnered Auroras Encore to victory last year in what was his first ever ride in the race.

Mr Moonshine is a 25/1 chance with Coral for the Grand National.