Nicholls’ Grand National contenders given improved prep
Paul Nicholls is taking his search for a first Grand National victory more seriously than ever this year, by making some adjustments at his gallops to ensure his four horses will be as prepared as possible before arriving at Aintree.
Nicholls currently has four horses with a decent chance of making the list of 40, with What A Friend, The Tother One and Nicke Market already in and Ornais just confirmed to join them following Ballytrim’s withdrawal.
What A Friend is perhaps Nicholls’ best hope and has come in for a lot of support since finishing fourth in the Cheltenham Gold Cup last month.
He is now 12/1 in the Grand National odds, with Niche Market 16/1, The Tother One 40/1 and Ornais available at the big price of 100/1.
The changes Nicholls has made is to have borrowed some spruce that have been placed on top of the existing fences on his gallop to get the horse’s used to the kind of obstacles that they will be greeted with at Aintree.
Nicholls’ chances of a Grand National victory were handed a bit of a blow when regular stable jockey Ruby Walsh turned down the four horses and instead opted to ride 8/1 Grand National favourite The Midnight Club for Willie Mullins.
However, the trainer has been quick to assemble his Grand National team, with Daryl Jacob taking the plum ride on What A Friend following the pair’s impressive partnership at Cheltenham when Walsh rode Kauto Star.
Elsewhere, Harry Skelton has claimed a great spare ride on Niche Market, Ryan Mahon will be on board The Tother One and Nick Scholfield will climb on board Ornais.
A £20 stake on What A Friend winning the Grand National would return £240. New customers can sign up here to take advantage of free bets totalling up to £60.