The 2022 Grand National could be one of the strongest renewals of the world-famous steeplechase, if the entries for the marathon contest are anything to go off.
A number of the leading steeplechasers in the sport are declared to run, including Conflated and Galvin, both of which have an official rating of 167. Those two horses have had success at the highest level this season in Ireland.
If they do travel across to Liverpool for the Grand National, Conflated and Galvin have an allocation of 11st 10lb. No horse since Red Rum in 1974 (12st) has won with that much weight on their back.
Galvin, who is trained by three-time winning Grand National trainer Gordon Elliott, is +1600 in the odds on horse racing for the Aintree feature. His stablemate Conflated is +6600 to prevail from top weight.
Melon and Chris’s Dream Next Best in Weights
Melon and Chris’s Dream are third and fourth respectively in the highest ratings for this year’s Grand National. Melon has been competitive in Grade One races over hurdles and fences. He ended a long losing run when he scored at Gowran Park on his latest appearance.
It would be a huge achievement if Melon did win a Grand National. He has finished second in the Champion Hurdle twice. The premier hurdles contest takes place over two miles. The Grand National is more than double that distance.
Melon is rated at 163 by the official handicapper, which put him off a weight of 11st 6lb. The 10-year-old has never raced over the Grand National fences before, so it will be a new experience for him at Aintree.
With an official rating of 162, Chris’s Dream is not far behind Melon in the weights at 11st 5lb. He has had two appearances around the Grand National course, but he has unseated his rider on both occasions, including in the Becher Handicap Chase last December.
Chris’s Dream was not entered for the Cheltenham Festival this year which gives him extra rest ahead of a shot at the most lucrative National Hunt contest in the world.
Defending Champion Fifth in the Weights
Last year’s winner Minella Times is set to attempt to win the Grand National in back-to-back years, something only two horses have achieved in the last 50 years. Tiger Roll was the most recent to do so in 2019.
Minella Times was 35th in the weights for the race in 2021. He is now as high as fifth in the latest renewal. Henry De Bromhead’s chaser will need to carry 15lb more this time around, making his task much tougher.
Connections of the defending champion will be slightly concerned about his form this season. He has failed to finish on both of his two appearances. His latest outing came in a handicap chase at Leopardstown. He was pulled up by regular pilot Rachael Blackmore.
Despite his form, Minella Times is at the top end of the betting for the race in April. He is +1600 to add his name to the history books as a repeat winner.
The 2022 Grand National is set for April 9. It will be the 174th renewal in the history of the unique contest which comes in the final month of the National Hunt season.