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Can Minella Rocco surprise the field at the Grand National?
Minella Rocco is currently 20/1 to win the Grand National on April 14. The horse is coming into the race carrying top weight at 11st 10lbs. Minella Rocco, trained by Jojo O'Neill, missed out on the Cheltenham Festival. The conditions of the race course were not up to the training team's demands, and the horse was held out of the event. Now, with Cheltenham behind them, Minella Rocco's team take the horse to Aintree to pull off a shock win.
Minella Rocco finished second at Cheltenham in 2017, and his omission from the festival was a major disappointment for O'Neill this year. Despite the lack of experience in the Grand National the horse has at the Aintree Race Course, expectations are high going into April.
The Grand National has already seen the withdrawal of Definitely Red, Edwulf and Outlander. In all, 17 horses have been withdrawn from the Grand National. In addition, Cheltenham Gold Cup winner, Native River, was retired for the rest of the season by his trainer Colin Tizzard. The chances for a surprise win from Minella Rocco could be increasing by the day. Sbat racing tips has great information on Minella Rocco and all of the horses competing in this year's Grand National. If another horse is withdrawn from the race, the news will be reported immediately.
Minella Rocco, who comes into the race at 11st 10lbs, is trained by the man who won the 2010 Grand National. O'Neill saw his protégé Don't Push It scamper across the finish line that year and etch both of their names into the history books. Don't Push It weighed in at 11st 5lbs when it won the race.
Minella Rocco is eight-years old, the prime age for many horses to win the Grand National. Owned by famed race horse owner JP McManus, Minella Rocco could give the owner – and trainer O'Neill – just their second victory in the competition. McManus bought Minella Rocco in 2014 for a whopping price of £260,000. The horse has always had high expectations placed upon its back.
Despite the expectations being sky high, Minella Rocco failed to win its first four races over fences. It wasn't until 2016 that the horse won its first race over fences as Minella Rocco took first place at Cheltenham in the National Hunt Chase. Since winning the National Hunt Chase, Minella Rocco's best finish was as runner-up at the 2017 Gold Cup. Now in the midst of a mediocre year, O'Neill and McManus hope Minella Rocco can outperform its rivals at Aintree.
In a recent interview, O'Neill spoke about his horse and the current season.
"He's got top weight but he's a class horse. We took him out of Cheltenham because the ground was heavy," O'Neill said. "Hopefully with another three weeks the ground here will dry out a bit and that would suit him.
"We know he gets the trip and though he's fallen a couple of times he's normally a good jumper, so we'll be fairly confident coming here.
"There's a lot of prize-money here and it's better to come to Aintree with a live chance rather than with a tired horse.
"He's in great form and he's been schooling well. So long as the ground dries up a bit we'll be happy on the day."
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