Temple Guiting-based trained Jonjo O’Neill won the Grand National in 2010 with Don’t Push It and he will be hoping to win the world’s most famous steeplechase for a second time in 2024 with Monbeg Genius.
The seven-year-old chaser made a promising start to his career over fences last season, winning three of his five races. His first handicap success came from a mark of 122, while the third of his three victories was from an official rating of 132. In short, he's improving.
On his final appearance of the 2022/23 campaign, O’Neill’s runner finished third of 23 runners in the Grade Three Ultima Handicap Chase behind Corach Rambler and Fastorslow. He was over eight lengths clear of the fourth-placed horse.
The Ultima Handicap Chase has often been a stepping-stone towards the Grand National, as Corach Rambler showed in 2022 and 2023, winning the day one Cheltenham Festival contest twice, before landing the Aintree feature back in April.
Monbeg Genius is likely to get some more experience before he heads to Aintree in the spring. If he continues to progress on the track and stays sound, his connections will be confident of a big run from their seven-year-old gelding.
The Grand National continues to be a race that every jockey, trainer and owner in National Hunt racing wants to win. The race dates back to 1839 when Lottery won the first running of the contest. Lottery is no stranger to Andoversford either, being an early winner of the Grand Annual back in the mid 1830s, before the National even arrived on the scene.
⭐️ Corach Rambler - a magnificent winner of the 2023 @RandoxOfficial #GrandNational— Racing TV (@RacingTV) April 15, 2023
He gives Derek Fox & @lucindavrussell a second win in the world's most famous chase at @AintreeRaces pic.twitter.com/8pyBYNtJ0s
Many prospective owners often choose to purchase shares in National Hunt horses, with the dream of having one that is good enough to feature in the marathon contest. Those looking to get involved in racehorse ownership with RaceShare get the chance to do so with former Grand National-winning trainer Venetia Williams. She won the race in 2009, becoming the second female trainer in history to do so at the time. The jumps trainer has a reputation of doing very well in the staying chasers’ division.
The weights for this year’s Aintree feature will be revealed in February. This is an important date on the National Hunt calendar as this list then dictates whether a trainer thinks their horse has a chance of winning the race off their allocation.
One of O’Neill’s leading novice hurdlers last season was Saint Davy. He broke his maiden at Chepstow and then featured in a Grade One contest at Aintree in April. The gelding could only finish midfield in that race in Liverpool, but the legendary trainer will be hoping he can build on that performance when he embarks on his novice chase campaign.
Soaring Glory is another horse that the Jackdaws Castle team will be excited about running this season. He could feature in some of the biggest handicap hurdles, while he has also shown he is good enough to compete in graded races like the Scottish Champion Hurdle.
The 2024 Grand National takes place on the 13th of April. It will be the 176th renewal of the race next year in Merseyside.