by John Doyle
The 2015 Grand National is dominated by the imminent retirement of the soon to be20 time Champion, AP McCoy. In anticipation of an avalanche of money for his mount, the bookmakers have cut Shutthefrontdoor to a really short price.
McCoy has stated he will retire on the spot if he wins the National but also added he was considering riding the other McManus owned contender Cause of Causes. The reality of course is that both have a squeak of a chance but both also have many traits which suggest avoiding both could be the best plan.
Shutthefrontdoor was an all-out winner of the Irish National last season. He won an intermediate chase on seasonal debut at Carlisle in November but his subsequent absence from the race course is a big worry.
Cause of Causes was an impressive winner of the National Hunt Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, a performance that was error free, something not normally associated with him. The National winner does not make jumping errors, so he is easy to eliminate.
Amazingly, four of last season’s first five home are in the field again. The winner Pineau De Re has not impressed in any of his subsequent runs and as a 12 year old will find it hard. Balthazar King and Alvarado have only had one run each since and will be tuned for the day and be ready to run big races again.
The 5th home, Rocky Creek, looks the biggest threat this year as he looks to have improved for a wind operation and the way he travelled and won the Betbright Chase at Kempton marks him down as a serious contender. The Nicholls stable have had a superb season and Sam Twiston-Davies has committed to riding for some time now.
The other piece of form that merits consideration is the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury in November. The number of winners coming out of that race has been impressive. Many Clouds was an impressive winner but had a hard race in the Gold Cup. Unioniste and The Druids Nephew also ran big races in the Hennessy and have followed up with even better runs and can be given a chance too.
Selection: Rocky Creek
Alternative: The Druids Nephew