Nicky Henderson confident of big performance from Long Run, while Rocky Creek, Pineau De Re and Quito De La Roque should also go well
Long Run has a Cheltenham Gold Cup under his belt and he can become the first horse since L’Escargot to claim a Gold Cup – Grand National double, with the Nicky Henderson runner being the subject of plenty of money in the build-up to the race.
The nine-year-old unseated Sam Waley-Cohen in the King George although enjoyed a facile win at Kelso in February and is clearly one of the class acts in the race, with Long Run set to get the trip despite being one of the top weights in the field.
Henderson has never won the National as a trainer but has four horses lining up for him this year and Waley-Cohen produced a splendid performance aboard Warne on Thursday to win the Foxhunter’s Chase and demonstrate that the handler’s horses are in good nick.
However, Rocky Creek also has strong claims in this race and the eight-year-old has been impressive on both outings this season, while Paul Nicholls has made sure that the horse has been lightly raced in the lead-up to the big race.
Second place behind Triolo D’Alene in the Hennessy Gold Cup was creditable and there was another runner-up spot behind The Giant Bolster in the Argento Chase which was three miles over heavy ground.
We’re sticking with Pineau De Re who runs for Dr Christopher Newland and ran a very fine race in the Pertemps Final when finishing in third place, with Leighton Aspell set to give this horse a big run and his jumping should ensure he’s in touch come the second circuit.
Finally, we haven’t given up on Quito De La Roque who is a 40/1 chance and has the class to feature at the business end of proceedings, despite having not shown much quality in the past few outings.
Trainer Colm Murphy said: “He’s going along nicely at home. He’s had his problems over the years but he’s a tough horse, which is obviously important in the National. We’re very happy with him and his preparation has gone well.”
Long Run @ 12/1 with bet365
Rocky Creek @ 20/1 with Coral
Pineau De Re @ 20/1 with bet365
Quito De La Roque @ 40/1 with Sky Bet