This years’ Grand National was a seminal event as ever in the sport of horse racing, particularly given the nature of the meeting and the end result. Not only did One For Arthur become only the second Scottish-trained horse to win the National (after Rubstic in 1979) and galvanise an entire army of fans in the process, but the race also produced a thrilling climax that was as close as it was hard to predict.
Less than two weeks later, however, thoughts are already turning to next years’ main event at Aintree. This will be the 175th installation of the race since its origins in 1839, while many fans will be hoping that it delivers a similar spectacle to this years’ outing. The question that remains is what we know about the 2018 meeting so far, and who are the horses that have already staked a claim for Aintree glory?
The 2018 Grand National: An Early Preview
According to the Liverpool Echo, the 2018 Grand National is set to take place at Aintree between April 12th and 14th. This will include a number of stellar events, with the iconic showpiece scheduled for the afternoon on the 14th in what will hopefully be warm and sun-kissed conditions.
This years’ surprise winner and 14/a shot One For Arthur has already been tipped for a return to Aintree next year, with the latest horse racing odds at Bethut already marking him as one to watch for the rest of this season, and for a back to back grand national win. The eight-year-old will be a year older and forced to carry more weight next time out of course, but he certainly has the pedigree and the only question will pertain to whether or not he can improve his performance in the 2017 instalment?
Another key runner from 2017 is also tipped for a return to Aintree next year, although it is not yet clear whether the impressive Gas Line Boy will resume his place in the National or instead compete in the Foxhunters’ Chase. Now 11 years’ old, the Ian Williams-trained thoroughbred has had two runs in the main event and managed to secure fifth this time around after falling at the first hurdle back in 2015.
This years’ 50/1 shot has already been given the same odds of success for next seasons’ race, while the age of Gas Line Boy and his impressive showing could convince Williams to let him compete in the National for the third time. Even though many believe that a fundamental lack of stamina prevented the horse from challenging One For Arthur in the final straight two weeks ago, a similar run could see him prevail with a little good fortune and the guidance of a top-class jockey.
Our Final Thoughts
Of this years’ other contenders, runner-up Cause of Causes is also expected to run again next time out, with bookmakers offering average odds of 20/1 that he will prevail in 2018. This years’ favourite Blaklion, who started at 8/1 before finishing fourth, is also available at 20/1 to claim the ultimate prize in a years time.
Of course, it is a little early to consider who will genuinely challenge for the 2018 National, but this years’ thrilling instalment has certainly whet the appetite for next years’ Aintree showpiece.