2015 Grand National winner Many Clouds can be backed to regain his Grand National crown this season at Aintree in April where he is set to line up for a third straight year.
At the age of nine, Oliver Sherwood’s runner is at the peak of his career so could be set for another huge campaign, all of which will lead to a shot at the world’s most famous steeplechase on Merseyside.
Although a path has not been set out for the chaser’s campaign this season, he could start it off at Aintree in early December and have three runs before the Grand National in April.
Many Clouds completed an impressive double of the Hennessy Gold Cup and Grand National in the 2014/15 season. He went off at 8/1 in the betting at Newbury where he stayed on strongly in the 3m2f handicap which included Djakadam, Smad Place and The Druids Nephew.
"Coneygree" (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Carine06
Sherwood’s chaser then took his chance in the Blue Riband event of the Cheltenham Festival where he came home a respectable sixth in the Cheltenham Gold Cup which was won by Coneygree. He was staying on the closing stages at Prestbury Park but he did not have enough pace to trouble the leaders up the hill.
Despite having a tough race at the festival just a month earlier, Many Clouds showed no signs of tiredness at Aintree where he prevailed by just under two lengths ahead of Saint Are at odds of 25/1. He was ridden to victory by his usual pilot Leighton Aspell in a fine ride over the big fences. The pair hit the front with five fences remaining in the contest. By the time they jumped the last he had a three-length advantage which proved crucial in the run in to the finishing line.
The 2017 Grand National looks set to include a top quality field. All the runners and odds have been published for the April showpiece and at 20/1, Many Cloud’s looks the best bet to prevail once again in what would be his second win in three years.
No horse since the legendary Red Rum in 1977 has been able to regain his crown in the Grand National, however, given Many Clouds won the race so young, he has every chance of joining the history books.
Many Clouds showed how much he still has left in the tank last season when he won a Listed race at Kelso. He returned to defend his title at Aintree a month later but was unable to carry the top weight of 11-10. What was encouraging though was that he got round again in another fine round of jumping over the bigger fences.
"Many Clouds" (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Carine06
The handicapper should be more lenient this time around as he is no longer the defending champion. A few pounds off his back from last year could make all the difference. It will be his third appearance in the contest, therefore Many Clouds can use upon all that experience to try and get round in front once again.