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Grand National Runner-up Set for Aintree Return

November 30, 2016 03:03:26 PM

by: Dan Smyth


Last season’s Grand National runner-up The Last Samuri is set for a return to Aintree next month for the Becher Handicap Chase over the bigger fences at Aintree. Kim Bailey’s runner finished six lengths behind Rule The World in the 4m4f contest back in April where he went off the 8-1 joint-favourite for success. He led after the 26th fence but had no extra in the final 150 yards so had to settle for second place.

"Grand National Racecourse" (CC BY 2.0) by Paolo Camera

Bailey will have been very encouraged with the way his horse handled the occasion in the Grand National and how well his horse jumped around the course.

The Last Samuri made his seasonal reappearance earlier month at Down Royal in Northern Ireland. He featured in the Grade One Champion Chase which was won by Valseur Lido, with Silviniaco Conti finishing behind in second place. The eight-year-old disputed the lead until the third last fence where he then faded in his first run of the season.

The majority of bookmakers make The Last Samuri the 10/1 favourite for the Becher Handicap Chase next month. If he is to be successful, he is likely to have to carry one of the top weights in the Grade Three contest as he is now rated at 159 by the handicapper following his second-place finish in the Grand National.

Bailey’s talented chaser also has an entry in the Welsh Grand National at Chepstow over the festive period where he is 25/1 to come out on top. If all goes well in his next two races, he is likely to appear again at Aintree for another shot at the world’s most famous steeplechase.

Punters who are looking at betting on the Grand National at this early stage can get 20/1 on The Last Samuri to go one better than his opening attempt in 2016. The weights will be published in February but connections will be expecting much more than the 10-7 he had to carry in the race last season.

The Young Master Booked for Aintree Appearance

The Young Master is set for his first outing around Aintree in the Becher Handicap Chase for trainer Neil Mulholland in what will be his opening run of the 2016/17 campaign.

"Aintree Grand National 2013" (CC BY 2.0) by stacey.cavanagh

The seven-year-old has not been seen since he scored at Sandown in the Bet365 Gold Cup Chase on the final day of last season. He came out on top by a short head in front of Just A Par following a photo-finish.

Under amateur jockey Sam Waley-Cohen, The Young Master outstayed his rivals at Sandown over the 3m5f trip, which suggest the horse is suited to stamina tests such as the Becher Chase and Grand National.

Mulholland opted to start his horse in the Hennessy Gold Cup last season where he unseated his rider early in the contest. Rather than a return to Newbury for another tilt at the handicap chase, he has decided to give The Young Master some experience around Aintree with the view of returning there in April for the Grand National.

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