Spring is in the air and that means the Grand National is almost upon us. Millions of people will tune in by being glued to their television, computer or tablet screens to watch horse and jockey go for glory.
The meet is currently being whittled down to 40 horses to compete for the most prestigious honour in the sport, with over 80 vying for a place on the starting line come April 8th.
The field will have been boosted by the fact that one of the strongest contenders for the crown, Minella Rocco, will not race, opening up the path for an outsider to triumph at Aintree.
The victory was surprising as it had been two years since Rule The World had last won a contest, which occurred in January 2014 at Naas in the Limestone Lad Hurdle.
That being said, he had shown some indication that he could pull off the feat by notching six second-place finishes in 2015, although only one of those was facing significant competition in the Irish Grand National Chase.
Rule The World had not previously competed at Aintree and had odds of 33-1 to pull off the victory. However, he shocked the world with a brilliant run, finishing comfortably ahead of The Last Samuri.
Unlike Rule The World, Many Clouds had hinted that a strong display was in the offing for some time, recording three victories on the bounce towards the end of 2014 and the start of 2015, including at Cheltenham in the Cup Chase.
However, he finished sixth in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, failing to live up to expectations in the race as Coneygree claimed the win.
Trainer Oliver Sherwood and jockey Leighton Aspell managed to learn lessons from their poor outing and bounced backed with a flawless display to take the crown at Aintree, with the 40-year-old notching his second win in the meet on the spin.
A solid run at the Premier Chase last year hinted that back-to-back triumphs at the Grand National could be possible for Many Clouds, only for him to produce a tepid display and finishing in 16th – once again proving the unpredictability of the meet.