Snow Leopardess backed for Grand National glory

The final field for the 2022 £1m Randox Grand National has started to take shape following Monday’s five-day confirmation stage.

The Grand National Festival takes place at Aintree this week
The Grand National Festival takes place at Aintree this week

Chris’s Dream was set to carry top-weight in the four and a quarter-mile event, but was removed from the race along with Chatham Street Lad, which now means that the defending champion Minella Times will have to defy top-weight in the race that stops a nation, for which he is 16/1 with Betfair.

The Philip Hobbs-trained Deise Aba and the Dan Skelton-trained Blaklion are now guaranteed a run in Saturday’s showpiece, which you can watch live on ITV Racing at 5.15pm. Blaklion is aiming to become the first horse since 1923 hero Sergeant Murphy to win the race at the age of 13.

Any Second Now was third in the race 12 months ago, having been badly hampered on the first circuit. However, following a thrilling win in the Bobbyjo Chase at Fairyhouse, he has been the subject of sustained support for this year’s event and is now the 8/1 joint-favourite along with recent Cheltenham Festival winner Delta Work.

Others towards the top of the betting include Snow Leopardess who was bred by ITV Racing reporter Alice Plunkett. She landed the Becher Chase earlier this term for Charlie Longsdon and will be suited by the forecast rain which is hitting the track. She has constricted in price to 9/1.

Escaria Ten (10/1) was narrowly beaten by Any Second Now at Fairyhouse and he is set to be one of eight runners for Gordon Elliott, which includes the aforementioned Delta Work, Farclas (25/1), Run Wild Fred (25/1), Coko Beach (33/1) and Mount Ida (33/1).

Claassic Chase hero Éclair Stuf (14/1) and Thyestes Chase winner Longhouse Poet (16/1) are other interesting contender, whilst Enjoy D’allen was recently bought by JP McManus and he looks a leading candidate at around the 12/1 mark.

Burrows Saint (20/1) was fourth in the race last year and is another who commands respect along with the likes of Discorama (33/1) and Noble Yeats (33/1).

The final field for the 2022 Grand National will be confirmed on Thursday morning and you can watch the race that stops a nation live on ITV at 5.15pm on Saturday evening.