Can Blaklion Win The 2018 Grand National
March 22 - The Grand National is finally upon us following the incredible four days at Cheltenham. The weights have been revealed and as always it is looking an extremely difficult race for punters. The latest Paddy Power horse race betting odds for the race has Blaklion and the improving Mullins trained Total Recall as joint favourites at 12/1. Blaklion has had the Grand National as his aim since the 2017 renewal of the race. So what are the chances he could be the 2018 winner as we look through the career of the improving 9 year old?
Blaklion's record under rules now stands at 9 victories in his 25 starts to date with a further 9 placed finishes. This just shows not only the class of the horse but his consistency at the top level. He has always been held in high regard by his connections having been signalled as Gold Cup horse in the early stages of his career. His trainer is a duel Grand National winning trainer so he is adept at training one for the big occasion. Having firstly trained Earth Summit to land the 1998 National before following up with Bindaree just four years later in the 2002 edition of the race.
Blaklion's first key success was at the Cheltenham festival back in 2016. He was sent off as an 8/1 shot in the RSA Chase against the likes of Shaneshill and More of that. He stayed on very gamely showing he has stamina in abundance. He was then sent to Aintree to contest the Mildmay Novices' Chase where he finished a gallant third to the now Gold Cup winner in Native River. The following season Blaklion had four starts without success before the Grand National but ran top races on several occasions including a close second in the Grand National trial at Haydock.
On the morning of the 2017 Grand National a lot of support came in for Blaklion as he was sent off the 8/1 favourite. Expectations were high as he travelled ominously well throughout the contest showing a liking to the testing Aintree fences. He tracked the leaders throughout and was almost travelling to well as his jockey Noel Fehily committed him for home early on only for him to be caught by the likes of eventual winner One for Arthur. He did however stay on gallantly for a fourth place finish. This was an incredibly eye catching performance where many felt if different tactics were taken we could have been talking about the 2017 Grand National winner.
Blaklion returned this season with a hard fought second to stablemate Bristol de Mai in the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby clearly showing he still retained all his class and enthusiasm. Following this he returned to the famous Aintree course to contest the Becher Chase. He was gambled in to 7/4 favourite on the off as if defeat was out of the question. The punters were correct as he travelled all over the field throughout before taking the running up on the bridle coming to the last. He only had to be pushed out to an impressive 9 length success over a previous Grand National runner up in The Last Samurai.
Blaklion followed this up with a disappointing runner up spot in the Grand National trial at Haydock. However the ground was almost un race able with just three finishers so this run is worth forgetting. He now heads back to the Grand National having been kept fresh and away from the allure of the Cheltenham festival and if able to recapture his Becher Chase form and ridden differently to last year he must have a solid chance of 2018 success for his leading connections.
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