He’s no stranger to running Grand National hopes in point-to-point races, and Grand National winning trainer Gordon Elliott believes he has a winner in Backstage.
In 2007, the Elliott-trained Silver Birch took in a point-to-point meeting in his final race before his triumph around the Grand National fences at Aintree, and the Irish trainer feels Backstage is capable of emulating Silver Birch.
At 16/1, Backstage is a huge price considering he is the joint 10/1 favourite with many other firms, and after impressing in last year’s Grand National before being badly hampered at the 20th, the nine-year-old looks a strong Grand National bet.
But the competition is fierce and The Midnight Club keeps his position as 10/1 outright favourite at the top of the Grand National betting after winning a Grand National trial at Fairyhouse a week ago.
The Midnight Club will lead a strong Irish pack heading to Aintree for the biggest betting event of the year, and like Elliott, trainer Willie Mullins is taking the familiar route.
In 2005 Hedgehunter rode himself into the Grand National history books and it was the same trial that The Midnight Club won at Fairyhouse that proved to be the perfect warm-up for the Willie Mullins-trained star.
Both while the Irish card is strong, the Scottish believe that this could be their year after Silver By Nature was a confirmed entry for the Grand National.
The 12/1 second-favourite was a doubt for the race because owners Geoff and Joyce Brown have a great emotional attachment to the horse.
But the grey will line-up amongst the 40 Grand National runners and punters should expect to see a flurry of ante-post bets on the 2009 Welsh National runner-up and winner of the Grand National trial at Haydock last month.
A £25 stake on Silver By Nature winning the Grand National would return £325. New customers can sign up here for a free Grand National bet worth £25.