Market Rasen Racecourse ambassador Sean Bowen believes he has a good chance of glory when he rides his second Crabbie’s Grand National on Saturday.
Just A Par gave Bowen the best day of his racing career at Sandown Park a year ago, and now he hopes for an even better one in the Saturday’s big race.
He completed the tough Aintree circuit last April, finishing 11th on Mon Parrain, and believes his mount this year has a great chance if he runs his race.
“Just A Par has a lovely weight with 10st 6lb,” he said. “That’s not too heavy compared to some of the more fancied horses.
“He jumps very well and had experience of the Crabbie’s Grand National fences 16 months ago in the Becher Chase – and that was when he wasn’t in form.
“To me, he’s a spring horse. He seems to do well at this time of year – as he did last April in the bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown Park.
“He appreciates decent ground and he’s going to get that on Saturday.”
Bowen described Just A Par’s first two runs of the season as disappointing, but believes the ground on those occasions was the reason.
“He came back a fortnight ago at Exeter and ran well,” he added.
“The distance in the Grand National won’t be a problem. My plan will be to get into a rhythm and if we’re there with two fences to jump we’ll just keep galloping to the line.”
The 18-year-old believes last year’s winner and 2016 favourite Many Clouds and Silviniaco Conti, the stablemate of Just A Par at Paul Nicholls’ yard, will be the horses to beat.
“Silviniaco Conti is a great jumper and I think he is one to look out for as well in the race,” he said.
Bowen rode his 52nd winner of the season at the end of March which means he has already surpassed his 2014/15 total.
He added: “It’s been a very pleasing season and I believe I have progressed at Paul Nicholls’ yard.
“Some people say that it becomes a struggle for a conditional jockey after they ride out their claim.
“I haven’t felt that and I hope to have a few more winners before the season ends last this month.”