Jake's Grand National ReviewJake Johns - 14:04, 11th April 2016
The 2016 Grand National was brilliant for a few reasons. The classiness of the horses entered was up there with the highest ever, and that new facet looks set to continue into the future rather than go the other way. There was mixed opinions however, as previous champions and placed horses, Irish and Welsh national winners, and some winners from the festival didn’t get in. The BHA is currently pondering a solution to make sure this doesn’t happen again but in my opinion, it’ll cause more trouble than it’s worth.
The actual race was fantastic as well, with many chances deep into the race, the majority of the crowd seemed to have a shout with a quarter of the race still to run. Favourite MANY CLOUDS ran a gallant race from the front but seemed to labour in the soft ground over the painful four miles two furlong trip. On form he should have relished the conditions so don’t beat yourself up too much if you backed him!
GOONYELLA was the plunge horse of the day, getting backed into 12/1, due to the heavy rain we had the night before and a further deluge at around 1 PM. Jim Dreaper is the master of soft ground nationals and the nine-year-old didn’t disappoint backers. Despite making a mistake at the 18th he stayed on well to place fifth and was the only one to come from the back and get close.
GILGAMBOA was another Irish trained horse who filled the places with a fantastic fourth for trainer Edna Bolger. He was always supposed to be a long distance chaser but after his disappointment in the Irish Gold Cup few would have thought this eight-year-old would be fourth in the Grand National in a few months’ time. As he’s only an eight-year-old I’m sure he’ll be back next year and has to have a chance of improving further.
VICS CANVAS has to be one of the stories of the national this season. Completely written off at 100/1 surely this 13 year old had no chance against the likes of Many Clouds and Silviniaco Conti. How wrong we were! He also was basically down at Becher’s when mid-division and somehow made a miraculous recovery! He always had the potential for a big run having bolted up in the Cork National a few years back - but that was off of 118, a full 29 pounds lower than here.
THE LAST SAMURI was my tip of the day and went off joint favourite. I – along with a few others I presume – was screaming like a little girl when he went over the last, I was sure he would power onto victory having been perfectly placed on the front end for the whole race. He’s another eight-year-old who will improve with age but he was a full 12 pounds well in this day – will he have a better chance? I’m unsure.
However I don’t think there has ever been a more deserving winner than the Mouse Morris trained RULE THE WORLD. The man is unparalleled in getting horses ready for the big races, and this was no different. Just a few weeks after taking the Irish National in dramatic fashion with Rogue Angel he goes and does the double at Aintree. Ger Fox gave the Irish National winner a peach and young David Mullins was possibly even better in his first ever Grand National. He jumped and timed every fence perfectly (other than four out) as well as hitting the front at exactly the right time. Mr Morris said that Rule The World could have been one of his best ever had he not gotten injured early in his career but he didn’t need to be to give him arguably his best moment in training.
In terms of horses to follow for next seasons National, how can you ignore DON POLI. Yes I’ve been slating this horse all year for being too slow. But that’s exactly what you need in a National something that plods along but stays forever. He’ll be an eight-year-old next season which is young to be a National winner but surmountable and I sense he’ll be aimed at this rather than the Gold Cup. 25/1 could be huge come April 2017!