Can JP McManus win his second Aintree Grand National?
Legendary gambler JP McManus tried for years to win the Grand National.
His first ever runner, Deep Gale only got as far as the first fence in 1982 as he ploughed through the obstacle and landed head first. Laura’s Beau went close in 1992 when third behind Party Politics and other place efforts with Clan Royal and King Johns Castle with various heartbreak involving Clan Royal who had Liam Cooper lose his whip in 2004 and loose horses take him out at Becher’s in 2005.
Finally, he broke his stranglehold in the race in 2010 with Don’t Push It who also became the first winner for both Tony McCoy and trainer Jonjo O’Neill and almost took his second with Sunnyhillboy in 2012 but to be denied by Neptune Collonges in the final strides.
This year, McManus attempts for his second win with four likely contenders at this moment. His main hope looks to be Shutthefrontdoor who is currently clear favourite at 8/1 as he is likely to be the final ride in the race for Tony McCoy.
Winner of last year’s Irish National, he came out at the start of this season and won an intermediate chase over three miles at Carlisle in November impressively when beating Vintage Star and Mickie. The main concerns are that we haven’t seen him since, plus a lack of experience, even though he has won an Irish National.
Cause Of Causes has been well backed recently and looks an able second string for McManus. He broke his maiden over fences at the eleventh attempt but did it in style when taking the National Hunt Chase at Cheltenham beating Broadway Buffalo showing relish for the stamina test.
He does have strong handicap form when placed behind Rockyaboya at Leopardstown and Spring Heeled in last year’s Kim Muir, but the main concern is his jumping.
Wyck Hill looked a real stayer when winning last year’s Eider Chase at Newcastle but fell in the same race last time out. He is another with jumping concerns while his final entry, Alderwood boasts being a dual Festival winner but those wins came over the minimum distance of two miles and his stamina is a major doubt.