Local trainer Dan Skelton is having a fantastic season, as he trails Paul Nicholls in the British Trainers’ Championship. Victory in the Grand National at Aintree on Saturday would help him close the gap with his former boss in the standings.
Skelton has just one runner in the Grand National this year saddling Le Milos as he bids to win the world’s most famous steeplechase for the first time in his career. His chaser has been handed a weight allocation of 10st 11lb.
Le Milos a leading fancy for Aintree
With five wins from 10 appearances over fences, it is no surprise that Le Milos is one of the Grand National festival ante post tips for the feature race of the meeting. He is 14/1 to come out on top, odds which put him at the top end of the market with all the leading hopefuls.
This is Le Milos’ second season over fences. He joined Skelton’s Lodge Hill yard back in October and was successful in his opening two races for his new trainer, scoring at Bangor (3m) and Newbury (3m2f).
The eight-year-old had his final appearance before the Grand National in the Premier Chase at Kelso last month. He finished second in that 2m7½f contest behind Empire Steel. That race has been used by several Aintree winners before, so Skelton will be hoping it has sharpened up the gelding ahead of the biggest race of his career.
Le Milos is now rated at 152 in the official ratings. That puts him 15th in the Grand National list which ensures he is guaranteed a run in the race should his connections choose to declare 48 hours before the race. At this stage, there are still 50 horses entered to run, against a maximum field of 40 permitted.
Corach Rambler tops betting in quality field
The betting for this year’s Grand National is headed by Corach Rambler. Lucinda Russell’s chaser won the Ultima Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival last month, and ever since that success, he has been the favourite to complete a double at Aintree.
With 10st 5lb, Corach Rambler has one of the lowest weight allocations in the 4m2½f contest. He is now rated 10lb higher in the ratings since his victory at Cheltenham. Should he score this year, he will become the third Scottish-based horse to win the race and he would give his trainer a second victory, as she prevailed at Aintree in 2017 with One For Arthur.
Le Milos and Corach Rambler will be joined at the starting line by last year’s winner Noble Yeats. The Irish horse is set to return to Aintree where he is bidding to defend his crown with 15lb more on his back this time around.
Tiger Roll was the last horse to win the Grand National in back-to-back years when he was successful in 2019. Victories at Aintree and Wexford this season suggest the 2022 winner returns to the race with a big chance of emulating the dual winner.
The full field of 40 runners for this year’s Grand National will be announced on Thursday, along with the two reserves.