Minella Times - your 2021 Randox Grand National winner pic.twitter.com/eYSDMSMAXw— Racing Post (@RacingPost) April 10, 2021
At an early stage, leading Irish owner JP McManus looks as though he has a typically strong hand for the 2022 Grand National. He has won the world’s most famous steeplechase at Aintree twice before.
That is something you would expect of a man whose jumps racehorses have made headlines down the years. Grand National success proved elusive for so long for McManus, but it finally came with Don’t Push It in 2010, trained by Jonjo O’Neill with AP McCoy on board.
The same horse finished a fine third 12 months later when bidding to emulate Aintree icon Red Rum and secure back-to-back victories. McManus then missed out on more Grand National glory by the finest of margins in 2012 with Sunnyhillboy headed on the line by Neptune Collonges.
Undeterred by that nose defeat, Double Seven took third in the Aintree showpiece in 2014. Cause Of Causes was best of the rest in the famous green and gold hooped silks belonging to McManus behind One For Arthur three years later.
Anibale Fly took minor honours in fourth and fifth in consecutive Grand Nationals off the back of hitting the frame in both the 2018 and 2019 Cheltenham Gold Cup. McManus would win at Aintree again this past spring, however.
As the 2021 Grand National Festival results show, he didn’t just land the spoils with Minella Times but also had the third in Any Second Now. That highlights just how powerful the large string of horses owned by McManus is.
After such bold showings over the famous spruce-covered Grand National fences, it’s no wonder that both Henry De Bromhead’s Minella Times and Any Second Now representing the Ted Walsh stable are prominent in the betting on next year’s race. The market is incredibly open as you would expect so far out from the Aintree Festival.
Both of those McManus horses will be a year older and nothing like as well-treated by the handicapper when the weights come out for the next Grand National in February 2022. However, they are not the only ones carrying his colours in contention.
Minella Times wasn’t the only Grand National winner to make waves for McManus. The Midlands National at Uttoxeter over the same marathon distance of four-and-a-quarter miles went to a horse that showed abundant stamina the day after the Cheltenham Festival ended.
Time To Get Up looked a stayer going places when finding speed and stamina to reel in Mighty Thunder and prevail for McManus’ old ally O’Neill. The runner-up has advertised the Uttoxeter form by going one better in the Scottish National at Ayr over about four miles.
On that basis, Time To Get Up looks sure to be specifically trained by O’Neill for Aintree next spring. This lightly-raced eight-year-old horse may even be campaigned over hurdles in the meantime, as he is still a maiden in that sphere after bumping into dual Cheltenham Festival winner Monkfish on his last start over the smaller obstacles.
There are times when racehorses are priced up on who owns them rather than what they have done on the track. In the case of the McManus trio returning to the Grand National and with Aintree aspirations, their odds appear entirely on merit.