Hughes to struggle to win National despite four possible runners
Dessie Hughes could still potentially have four runners in the Grand National, but victory looks almost impossible if his best hope is Black Apalachi at 33/1.
Black Apalachi and Rare Bob are the only two currently certain to take part at Aintree, although the recent withdrawals of Willie Mullins duo Prince De Beauchene and Quel Esprit mean that In Compliance and Vic Venturi are one step closer to featuring.
In terms of previous form, it is hard to criticise Black Apalachi, especially as he finished second in the 2010 Grand National behind Don’t Push It.
However, he is obviously now two years older and teenagers do not have the greatest record in the Grand National.
Now aged 13, Black Apalachi will become the first teenager in almost 90 years to win the Grand National, following Sergeant Murphy’s success in 1923.
Meanwhile, a teenager has not even managed to make the Grand National frame since 1969, showing the size of the task facing Black Apalachi.
Another factor against him is that although he has only raced once in two years because of a tendon injury, the handicapper has not dropped his official rating, meaning that he will have to try to better his 2010 result off similar terms.
This is not something that has impressed Hughes, who felt the handicapper should have taken a few pounds off his weight.
But the fact that Black Apalachi will be the mount of Denis O’Regan suggests that he is the number one hope of the yard.
Rare Bob can be backed at 40/1 in the Grand National odds and will be ridden by Bryan Cooper, who is preparing for his first try at the race.
Rare Bob also finished behind Black Apalachi at Fairyhouse recently, even though the latter was returning from such a lengthy racecourse absence.