Looking back at Neptune Collonges’ form ahead of last year’s Grand National, one thing that may have been significantly overlooked was his fine record in races in the month of April.
In four starts in the month, the grey had won twice and finished in the each-way places on another start. His only blip was when sixth in a Scottish National over 4m when having to lump round top weight.
Finding a horse capable of maintaining his best form so late in the season should be a focal point of research and four Grand National entries this season are set to arrive at Aintree with a 100 per cent winning record in April to maintain.
Significantly, one of this foursome is 8/1 ante-post favourite Prince De Beauchene, who is 2-2 in the month.
The main problem for the favourite though is that he has been hit quite hard by the handicapper, in comparison to his racing weight from last year when injury meant that he was a late Grand National withdrawal.
Meanwhile, the fact that he has only had the one run so far this season is a major negative.
Beshabar (25/1) has been off the track for even longer, but is 1-1 in April, alongside 40/1 shot Lambro.
However, it is the other horse that has won 2-2 in April that is the most interesting.
Quito De La Roque could easily end up competing off top weight if Albertas Run and Imperial Commander pull out, but he bounced back to form last time in Ireland in January and fits many of the trends of a Grand National winner.
Staying power has been no issue previously, which was most notably seen in the Jnwine.com Champion Chase last season when collaring Sizing Europe in the final strides, while he is a good age and has run four times this season.
Quito De La Roque is certainly one for the shortlist at 50/1.
At the other end of the spectrum, Treacle (50/1) 0-6, Calgary Bay (50/1) 0-5, Roi Du Mee (40/1) 0-4 and Colbert Station (16/1) 0-2, are entrants perhaps worth avoiding based on their prior form in April.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.