COTSWOLD challenger The Rainbow Hunter was beaten just two lengths in the last year’s Grand National – unfortunately, he was riderless at the finishing line, having dislodged his jockey at the eighth fence on the first circuit.
Andoversford trainer Kim Bailey who won the big race with Mr Frisk in 1990, is hoping the partnership can stay intact this time as his challenger seems to be an improved horse this season.
“The Rainbow Hunter has had a wind operation since last year and recently won the prestigious Great Yorkshire Chase at Doncaster,” said Bailey.
Bailey’s horse is one of a number of lively local outsiders in the race which boasts a record prize fund of £1m, thanks to the first-time backing of drinks firm Crabbie’s.
Alvarado, trained at Fossebridge by Fergal O’Brien, has been well backed this week. A good winner at Cheltenham in November, Alvarado is owned by Angela and William Rucker, who have had a placed horse in the National for the last five years.
Another local to look out for is Wayward Prince from the small Redmarley stables of Hilary Parrott. Wayward Prince was an impressive second in the valuable Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby in November.
This week he delighted his handler when tackling the mock Aintree-style fences in a trial spin at Lambourn.
Jonjo O'Neill won the race with Don’t Push It in 2010 and could run three – Burton Port, Twirling Magnet and Lost Glory – while Naunton jockey Sam Twiston-Davies partners one of the favourites, Tidal Bay, and Zara Phillips has been helping polish the jumping technique of Monbeg Dude part-owned by her husband Mike Tindall.