Grand National course set to be wettest in 17 years

Extremely wet weather looks set to make this year’s Grand National course the wettest since Red Marauder’s win in 2001

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By Tuesday evening, over 8mm of rain had fallen on Aintree throughout the previous 24 hours and the going on the Grand National course was described as “heavy in places”. This raises the real possibility that conditions for this year’s big race could be nearly as demanding as those experienced by Red Marauder when it romped home at 33/1 in front of a finishing field of just four runners in 2001.

Andrew Tulloch, Aintree’s clerk of the course said: “We were due a couple of millimetres on Monday night and a couple more early morning. But unfortunately we got a lot more than that. Hopefully it will dry a bit before Thursday and it looks like we’ve had most of the rain.

“But having said that, temperatures haven’t really got up much. It feels more like autumn than spring, it’s significantly colder than yesterday and, if it had just gone up a couple of degrees with a bit of sunshine, that would have helped. But that’s Mother Nature for you.”

The Aintree course was almost unraceable in 2001 and from forty starters, a mere four completed the race including two runners which were remounted during the race, a practice which has since been banned. Indeed since that running of the race, only two Grand Nationals have been run on ground that has been slower than ‘good-to-soft’, however more rain is forecast over the next two days and in reality the best that we can expect as regards the going is ‘soft’. This could result in the betting changing considerably with many punters opting for runners with proven form on this sort of ground.

One of the big gambles appeared earlier this week with Baie Des Iles backed down from 66/1 to as low as 20/1 with some bookmakers. Katie Walsh will take the saddle as she looks to become the Grand National’s first ever female winning jockey. This runner has form on soft ground and extreme distances, however it will only carry a weight of 10st 7lb for the big race. There is little doubt that Baie Des Iles will love the ground and some bookies predict that it could end up being their ‘worst result’.