I am Maximus Strengthens Grand National Claims

In a race that is often used as a preparation for the 2024 Grand National, I am Maximus was successful in the Grade Three Bobbyjo Chase at Fairyhouse, beating three other rivals on testing ground at the Irish course.

Willie Mullins’ runner went clear of his rivals after the final obstacle to score by 14 lengths. It was his second victory of the season, as he also won the Grade One Drinmore Novice Chase at the same racecourse.

Aintree Now the Plan for Talented Irish Chaser

After his impressive performance at Fairyhouse, I Am Maximus is now the +1000 joint-favorite in the racing odds for the Grand National. He does not have an entry until then, so he is expected to head straight to Aintree now.

I am Maximus will be taking on last year’s winner Corach Rambler at the Merseyside racecourse. The 2023 winner will feature in the Cheltenham Gold Cup before he lines up in Liverpool. He is +2000 in the Cheltenham Festival latest odds.

The recent Bobbyjo Chase winner will race off the same weight as the defending champion at Aintree. Both horses have an official rating of 159 and have been assigned 11st 2lb by the handicapper in the race. 

Fairyhouse Runner-Up Vanillier Also in the Grand National Mix

Vanillier finished second behind I Am Maximus at Fairyhouse, and he is set for his second shot at the Grand National this year. He was the runner-up in the race in 2023, finishing just over two lengths behind Corach Rambler.

The handicapper has handed Vanillier a 2lb higher weight allocation in this year’s Grand National, but it means he is 9lb better off than Corach Rambler. His connections will be hoping that will be enough to reverse the form with the Aintree hero.

The Irish horse has proven he enjoys a stamina test. His best performances over fences have come over stiff distances. His trainer Gavin Cromwell is having an excellent season in Ireland and a maiden success in the Grand National would be the cherry on the cake for the Irishman.

Former Winner Also in Aintree Field

Noble Yeats was successful in the 2022 Grand National for trainer Emmet Mullins and he expected to return to the scene of his biggest triumph this year. Since his victory at Aintree, the nine-year-old has had success over hurdles and fences.

The former Grand National winner came out on top on Trials Day Cheltenham on his latest appearance. He won the Grade Two Cleeve Hurdle, beating some of the leading horses in the 3m stayers’ division, including Paisley Park, Dashel Drasher, and Champ.

Mullins may run his horse in the Stayers’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival this year in what would be an unusual route for a Grand National contender. However, he showed once again in 2023 that he relishes the Grand National course, with neither his jumping nor his stamina letting him down on his way to a respectable fourth place.

This year’s Grand National will feature a maximum field of 34 runners in one of several changes made to the world’s most famous steeplechase in 2024.

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