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The Last Samuri Can Outbattle Rivals In Grand National

February 09, 2017 03:46:59 PM

By: John Hill

Last year’s Grand National runner-up The Last Samuri is set to return to the world’s most famous steeplechase in April where he can go one better than he did in 2016 when he came home six lengths behind Rule The World.

The Last Samuri is one of the leading Grand National tips for the 2017 race as he is now at the optimal age for the contest (9 to 11), while horses with experience of Aintree tend to do well when they return, so all the trends favour his chances.

Melissa Jones via Twitter

The nine-year-old has had two appearances on the racecourse so far this season. He made his seasonal reappearance in the Grade One Champion Chase at Down Royal back in November in the race won by Valseur Lido. Kim Bailey’s runner disputed the lead early into that contest but could find no extra in the closing stages so had to cross the line fifth of the seven runners.

The Last Samuri got more experience of the bigger fences at Aintree in the Becher Handicap Chase last month where he finished third in a close finish with Vieux Lion Rouge and Highland Lodge. He is now likely to have one more run before the Grand National Meeting and that could come at Doncaster in March in the race he won in 2016.

Bailey is likely to get his runner in optimum condition for the 4m4f race where you need a horse who jumps well and can stay the trip. Fortunately Bailey’s chaser ticks both of those boxes and therefore looks to be the horse to beat in the 2017 running of the contest.

Holywell Worth Another Chance This Year

Holywell was well backed ahead of the 2016 Grand National where he went off as short as 11/1 in the betting following a strong gamble behind Jonjo O’Neill’s runner. Unfortunately for connections and those who backed him, he fell at the second fence.

Timeform via Twitter

At the age of 10 this horse is worth giving another chance, especially considering he is a 50/1 shot this year. If you are looking for an each-way alternative to The Last Samuri, Holywell should be on your shortlist. The former Grade One winner’s finest moment in his career so far came in the Mildmay Novices’ Chase at Aintree where he beat Don Cossack by 10 lengths before his Cheltenham Gold Cup success.

Holywell is a also a former Cheltenham Festival winner as he scored at the 2014 meeting when he outstayed his rivals in a Grade Three handicap chase. His form so far this season is a slight concern as he was 13th in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury on his first run of the 2016/17 campaign, while he was pulled up more recently in a Listed race at Ascot. The handicapper is likely to take those outings into consideration when determining his weight for the 2017. Therefore, he may run off a more lenient mark this time around.

Selections: The Last Samuti (Win @ 20/1) & Holywell (E/W @ 50/1)

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