DONCASTER winner The Rainbow Hunter will bid to give Kim Bailey a second Grand National success 24 years on from Mr Frisk’s record-breaking victory in the race.
The horse was unfortunate in last year’s renewal when parting company with Aidan Coleman at the Canal Turn on the first circuit when travelling well.
Even more frustrating for connections is the fact that the riderless horse then went on to jump the remaining 22 fences near-perfectly before chasing the winner Auroras Encore all the way to the line.
With that in mind, coupled with an impressive win in Doncaster’s Sky Bet Chase in January, it looks as if The Rainbow Hunter has every chance of playing a leading role this weekend for his connections, like Racing UK presenter Oli Bell, who only became a co-owner while slightly worse for wear at Royal Ascot.
“As soon as we won the Sky Bet Chase at Doncaster, we made the decision then to go straight to Aintree,” said Bailey, whose Harry Topper won Wetherby’s Charlie Hall Chase.
“Last year he didn’t make a mistake the whole way round, but, unfortunately, Aidan was knocked off early on. I never feel confident going into the race, but I’m happy with the way he’s jumping and he’ll stay.”
Meanwhile, Malton-born Andrew Tinkler rides Hunt Ball as Nicky Henderson bids to end his National jinx – none of his 35 previous runners have prevailed.
“Things didn’t work out in America for him, but he’s been an absolute joy since he came to Seven Barrows,” said Tinkler, 28.
“He’s got a lots of enthusiasm and has taken to the National-style fences really well at home. There are huge question marks about whether he will stay with the weight he has, but I’m really, really looking forward to it.”