Grand National preview: Majestic Concorde in super form ahead of famous race

MAJESTIC Concorde can add another feather to the cap of Dermot Weld by winning the Grand National on Saturday.

Majestic Concorde’s participation in the Grand National was first mooted by Weld when he won the three mile Paddy Power Chase on unsuitably heavy ground in December.

Weld, a multiple winner of the Irish flat trainer’s championship, said after the race: “I’ve been second in it [the Grand National] with Greasepaint many moons ago.

“That was a long time ago so maybe we should have another runner in the race and he’s the horse, but it depends what weight he gets. He’s a similar sort of horse to Greasepaint but he’s not big so the weight will be the vital factor.”

Majestic Concorde has since been allotted 11st 5lbs and Weld left it until this week to confirm his participation.

“The horse runs on Saturday and is in super form,” Weld said on Tuesday.

“He schooled this morning and Robbie McNamara rode him and I was very pleased with the way he jumped.”

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McNamara said: “He won the Paddy Power Chase at Leopardstown off top weight on his last run and is a horse that runs best fresh. He’s a great attitude and he stays well.”

Majestic Concorde is selected to win, and for punters wishing to hedge their bets he is great value each way at 33-1.

What A Friend, who is part owned by Sir Alex Ferguson, is fancied to take second place.

A winner of seven races and almost �300,000, he narrowly missed out on a place in this year’s Cheltenham Gold Cup when beaten a nose into fourth place by Kauto Star.

He is well in at the weights and trainer Paul Nicholls is confident of a big run, providing the rains don’t come.

“The key to him is the weather staying dry and the ground not being too soft,” Nicholls said. “We’ll have to see, but if the ground is good I suppose he’s got a great chance.”

However Ruby Walsh, first jockey for both Nicholls and Willie Mullins, has opted for the Mullins’ trained favourite The Midnight Club, who is selected each way.

“It was a tough decision,” said Walsh, bidding for his third Grand National after wins on Papillon and Hedgehunter. “You can only ride one and I just thought The Midnight Club was the most unexposed of the horses I could ride.”

Big Fella Thanks, sixth in 2009 and fourth when sent out joint favourite last year, is sure to finish in the money for his new trainer Ferdy Murphy.

Backstage, who has been impressing in point to points in Ireland and Silver By Nature, can fight out fifth place.