repeat the feat in 2022. He won by more than six lengths last year, and on top of that, he’s only a nine-year-old and has just 20 races under his belt. That all bodes well for him maintaining his ability, and it wouldn’t be the biggest surprise in the world if he improved a little. After watching Tiger Roll win the race in back-to-back years, and becoming a legend of the sport in the process, can Minella Times do the same?
Preparations for the race have not been ideal, but the benefit of that is that he hasn’t been raised in the handicap this season, on top of what he was raised for winning last season. Others are ahead of him in the betting market, as of 23rd March, Minella Times is 16/1 to win the race, and because of his course experience, he will no doubt feature in many Grand National tips ahead of the contest. But can he actually win the race again and write his name in the history books alongside Tiger Roll and the other two-time winners?
Poor Preparation Does Have a Benefit
The preparation this season for Minella Times has not been very good at all. We’ve seen the horse twice, he fell in his first race and was struggling and well off the pace when doing so, then he was pulled up in his second race. Again, he was struggling when this happened.
— ITV Racing (@itvracing) April 10, 2021
This is in stark contrast to what happened before the 2021 race. He ran three times before winning the 2021 National and those races resulted in one win and two second-place finishes. Those good runs took him up in the handicap but ensured the horse went into the Grand National in good form. Now we have the opposite. The horse hasn’t gone up further in the weights after his Aintree win, but he doesn’t arrive in form this time around. That is a benefit, as long as trainer Henry de Bromhead can get him straight and 100% ready for the big day with work at home, rather than on the course.
On top of this, there is also the fact that the Grand National is a very unique test. Many believe that the prep races before do not matter, because the test is so different between a normal race and the Grand National. In the past, we have seen this be the case, with horses winning who had no form at all beforehand. When Tiger Roll won a second National, he was fancied by many because he loved the track at Aintree, and showed he had the staying ability to last the race out. His form beforehand didn’t matter, because of what we had seen 12 months before, over the same course and distance.
In many ways, Minella Times should be given the same pass, he could be the same kind of Aintree and National specialist and may well prove that by winning back-to-back Grand Nationals in 2022.