The Grand National Festival kicks off on Thursday and we’re in for a treat! There are no less than eleven Grade 1 races, with the feature contest, of course, being the Randox Grand National on Saturday.
Willie Mullins has won the National on one occasion, landing the 2005 renewal with Hedgehunter. He brings over a strong team of four for the world’s most famous steeplechase, headlined by second-favourite Burrows Saint.
We’ll have Aintree tips for the entire Festival, including the Grand National, but I think I’ve found Willie’s banker of the week. You could never pick a banker in the National, so I’ve gone elsewhere. You can find all the details below!
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Willie Mullins’ Aintree banker
Many will say Billaway is the Mullins’ banker, but I simply can’t get away from Livelovelaugh in the Topham. It’s a competitive looking contest and he’s a short-price all things considered, but I can see him going off even shorter on the day.
He contested the Grand National proper back in 2019, running a fantastic race to finish 11th. Disregard the finishing position, however, as it’s the way he jumped and travelled that catches the eye. He loved his day out over the unique fences, jumping with enthusiasm and he was still travelling powerfully as they crossed the Melling Road for the final time.
His stamina ultimately gave approaching two-out, but it was still a very positive performance. Many will point to his 1/18 and yes, that is a worry, but he’s been desperately unlucky the last twice, placing in a pair of highly competitive Leopardstown handicaps.
A return to the National fences could be just what the doctor ordered for him, given how much he enjoyed his 2019 Grand National adventure. He’s been backed relentlessly in the last few days too and that can only go down as a positive.
Mullins won the most recent renewal of the Topham with Cadium and older horses have a good record in the race. Buoyed by the incredible recent form of his trainer, he has to go down as his banker of the meeting.