Shu has a Big chance of causing Grand National upset
Big Shu is not considered to be one of the leading Irish challengers for the Crabbie’s Grand Nationbal, but there are reasons to believe that he is a live outsider at 40/1.
Trained near Naas by Peter Maher, the nine-year-old is still relatively lightly raced under rules and ran out the impressive winner of the 3m 7f Cross Country Chase at the Cheltenham Festival in 2013.
He followed up that success with a game win in the La Touche Cup at the Punchestown Festival, and has run very well in just two starts this season.
In the latest of those he was beaten three lengths into third behind Balthazar King when trying to retain his crown in the Cross Country Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, and he is due to meet that rival on 2lb better terms at Aintree.
That suggests that there is not much to choose between them, and the fact that he goes into the contest a fresher horse than Philip Hobbs’ charge may well enable him to gain his revenge.
Although the Cross Country Chase is not usually associated as a trial for the Grand National it has provided a winner of the race.
Silver Birch finished runner-up in the race before winning at Aintree in 2007, but it is generally regarded as a race for horses reaching the autumn of their careers.
However, Big Shu does not fall into that category given his age and the fact that he has had just 11 starts under rules and remains open to further improvement.
The son of Milan certainly looks to have the required stamina for the 4m 4f Aintree contest, and the fact that he jumps well and travels strongly in his races is another plus.
Nine-year-olds have also won three of the last 10 runnings of the race, and another important criteria as far as the stats are concerned is that he has had his last run within 55 days of the big race.
The latter is something which all of the last 23 winners had on their CV.