Skelton: proven Clouds can regain National

Many Clouds: returned to winning ways at Aintree on Saturday

PICTURE: John Grossick ( Skelton: proven Clouds can regain National By Jack Haynes 10:00AM 5 DEC 2016

DAN SKELTON believes Many Clouds can become the first horse since Red Rum in 1977 to regain the Grand National after a taking winning return to action at Aintree on Saturday.

The Trevor Hemmings-owned nine-year-old jumped beautifully and ran on strongly to land an impressive three-and-a-half-length victory in the Listed Betfred Lotto '100k Cash Giveaway' Chase and is a clear favourite for the marathon chase in April.

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The son of Cloudings, who defeated Saint Are by a length and three quarters under Leighton Aspell for trainer Oliver Sherwood in the Aintree feature last year, is as short as 14-1 with Paddy Power to land a second National this season and a general 20-1 shot.

Skelton said in the Racing Post's Monday Jury: "I really think he could be the first horse since Red Rum to regain the National. He jumped and travelled like a new horse following his wind op.

"It turned into a staying battle and I wouldn't like to say Minella Rocco would have got by him if he'd stood up."

'It's a real possibility'

Despite finishing 16th in this year's renewal, Skelton believes Many Clouds' form over the National course and liking for a sound surface once again makes him a leading contender.

Skelton said: "He has proven he can perform under a big weight, he loves Aintree and likes a bit of decent ground. It's a real possibility he can go back and win it again."

Read the thoughts of Dan Skelton, Noel Fehily and Davy Russell in The Monday Jury in Monday's Racing Post, available on iPad now

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