Aintree Grand National 2011 

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Backstage Favourite for Grand National? Killyglen Best Outsider?

Three years have passed since young Irish trainer Gordon Elliot won the Grand National and on Saturday, Elliot has strong claims of another win with the 9-y-o Backstage.

© Grossick Racing Photography


Prepared for the race last year, the passage to Aintree was not totally smooth but Backstage was travelling notably well when Lady Luck withdrew her support and an encounter with a loose horse ended proceedings. Kept on the go for part of summer, the gelding didn’t sparkle but a good break followed by a couple of fluent and easy wins in the point to point field smacks of a decent preparation.

All has reportedly gone well in recent weeks and with decent ground suiting the horse, connections are hopeful of a very good showing. Currently, fellow Irish challenger The Midnight Club is the market favourite but it would not be a surprise if Backstage were to be well-backed on the day.

We all like to have a few pounds on an outsider each-way and there are worse options than Killyglen. Formerly trained by Howard Johnson, the lightly-raced 9-y-o is quite classy when on song and he might just be the type who will benefit from being trained in a smaller yard. There was certainly a lot to like about his single prep-race this year where he jumped notably well and led for a long way in a decent handicap up at Doncaster. A massive effort will be required but at 66/1, the horse looks an interesting each-way bet, especially if the ground dries out.

Recommendation: Backstage (e/w) Killyglen (e/w)


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