Versatile Milan has Grand National claims

Being a tactically versatile horse is an important requirement if you want to win the Grand National.

In a race run over a distance of almost four-and-a-half miles, there will be changes in pace and the lead, so it is important that you have a horse which is capable of adapting to how the race pans out.

                 Copyright by stacey.cavanagh

Winning the Grand National as a front-runner is an extremely difficult task as you have to maintain the right pace throughout the race, once you have won the frenetic early battle to claim the lead over the first few fences that is when it resembles something more akin to a cavalry charge.

The most famous example of a horse trying to win the Grand National from the front was the luckless Crisp in 1973. Crisp had quickly built up a big lead and was still 15 lengths clear jumping the final fence before being caught in the final strides by the legendary Red Rum. Now, there were other factors in his agonising defeat, such as running off top weight and the trip really stretching his stamina, but this just goes to show the difficulty of trying to win the National by leading for two circuits.

One trainer who is hoping his horse is versatile enough to win the Grand National is Keith Reveley, who will be sending Night In Milan to Aintree.

Night In Milan has spent much of his jumping career as a front-runner, but Reveley has tweaked the tactics this season to boost the nine-year-old’s prospects of winning the National. Night In Milan’s jockey James Reveley – the son of the trainer – had also been concerned about whether the horse’s front-running style would see him stay the trip.

But his last two runs in competitive handicaps have shown that Night In Milan is capable of running in a different style without it having a negative impact on his level of performance.

In the Sky Bet Chase at Doncaster in January, he was beaten a little under 10 lengths in third by If In Doubt when giving 7lbs and there was a big gap back to the fourth. Last time, also at Doncaster in the Grimthorpe Chase, Night In Milan sat off the pace and finished third to Wayward Prince, who was rated 20lbs lower. Night In Milan was also running off a 10lbs higher mark than when he won the Grimthorpe Chase in 2014.

If you fancy a bet on horse racing, the bet365 odds for Night In Milan are 40/1 and that is a fair price for a horse which jumps well and looks likely to improve for stepping up further in trip after running over three miles, two furlongs last time.

Reveley is aware that, even though Night In Milan won’t be front-running, there are still concerns over the use of different tactics due to the way the horse can lose concentration. However, Reveley feels the horse will keep on galloping once he gets into a rhythm and that is much easier to do in the Grand National when you are sat in behind the leaders rather than trying to force the pace.

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