Thursday Thoughts from Abby Rugg
AFTER his first Grand National victory last year with Neptune Collonges, Paul Nicholls has confirmed Harry The Viking will be handed an entry to follow up his success.
Tidal Bay and Join Together will also be entered, so Nicholls has high hopes for a second win in the gruelling four miles and three-and-a-half furlong race.
But after a ten year wait for his first winner, can Nicholls continue his Grand National success?
Harry The Viking was second to Teaforthree in the National Hunt Chase for amateur riders at the Cheltenham Festival in 2012 but was last seen finishing ninth in the Hennessy behind Bobs Worth.
The eight-year-old chaser is part-owned by Sir Alex Ferguson and is currently quoted around 40-1 for his chances of winning. It will be Ferguson’s second Grand National entry: his first being What A Friend, also trained by Nicholls, who was pulled up in the 2011 race.
The Grand National is unpredictable and it really is anyone’s game.
Neptune Collonges was Nicholls’ 53rd runner since 1992, so that really shows how even a top trainer can struggle in the race.
Nevertheless, I hope the Ditcheat trainer will be able to have many more victories after going through a long period of having none.
Even though it is January, I am already excited about the rest of the season. The Grand National will be spectacular to watch, as it always is.
Not only do I wish Nicholls well with his entries, but I also hope top female jockeys Katie Walsh and Nina Carberry come back to compete again.