Can Galvin and Conflated show their class by winning the Grand National?
No horse has been successful in the Grand National from top weight since Red Rum managed that feat in 1974. That’s the challenge facing Galvin and Conflated this year, the two highest-rated horses in the race.
The Gordon Elliott-trained chasers are both Grade One winners. They have an official rating of 167 in the UK, which means they will have to carry 11st 10lb if they line up at Aintree for the marathon contest in April.
Before connections make their final decision on the Grand National, Galvin is set to participate in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, the feature race of the Cheltenham Festival. He is the 4/1 second favourite in the Cheltenham Gold Cup betting.
The Irish chaser has been one of the most consistent runners in his division this season. Last season’s National Hunt Challenge Cup winner began his campaign with victory in a Grade Three contest at Punchestown.
The eight-year-old then finished a close second behind Frodon at Down Royal in a Grade One race. He was less than a length behind Paul Nicholls’ former King George winner, while last season’s Cheltenham Gold Cup champion Minella Indo was behind him.
Galvin’s biggest win of his career came at Leopardstown on his latest outing. He enhanced his Gold Cup and Grand National claims with victory in the Savills Chase. Elliott’s gelding got the better of Gold Cup favourite A Plus Tard in the run to the finish line at the Irish course.
Success at Cheltenham in the biggest race of the week will not impact Galvin’s Grand National mark or weight. Connections are likely to see how he comes out of the race at Prestbury Park before deciding if they are to tackle the contest at Aintree.
Conflated Continues to Improve as a Chaser
Elliott is no stranger to Grand National success as he has been victorious on three occasions. Conflated is one of 19 runners from his yard who remain in the latest declarations. The horse has won his last two races, so is in good form heading into the latter stages of the season.
Conflated’s most recent win came in the Grade One Irish Gold Cup where he beat a field which included Minella Indo, Asterion Forlonge, Kemboy and Frodon. He won the race at Leopardstown by over six lengths in what was a dominant performance.
Like his stablemate Galvin, Conflated is also expected to take his chance in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. He is 10/1 to win the Blue Riband event of the biggest meeting in National Hunt racing.
Conflated is a horse who is improving with every start over fences. He has yet to feature over further than 3m, so the distance of the Grand National would be a big challenge for him. However, connections clearly feel he has a good chance of staying the trip.
Both Galvin and Conflated are bidding to become only the second horse in history to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup and Grand National in the same year, repeating what Golden Miller achieved in 1934.