We are only months away from one of the highlights of the national hunt horse racing calendar with the Grand National at Aintree. The race is the most unique in the sport in that a maximum of 40 horses have to jump over huge obstacles around the Merseyside course over the distance of 4m4f which makes it a very difficult contest to win.

A full list of the Grand National 2017 leading contenders can be found online including all the details you need to know to make informed decisions such as the form, trainer and age of the runners.

The betting for this year's race is headed by The Last Samuri who finished second in 2016. He travelled well throughout the race which was won by Rule The World. If you're looking to back the favourite, the big positive about Kim Bailey's runner is that he has shown he is capable of getting round the track. The horse would have learnt so much from last year and if a little bit of luck goes his way this time around, he may go one better than in 2016.

Native River is a horse who has defied hefty weight on his back on a couple of occasions this season, therefore if he does line up in the Grand National at the end of the campaign, you should not be concerned with the weight he has been allocated. Colin Tizzard's runner won the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury back in November, while last month he made all in the Welsh Grand National at Chepstow. There can be no doubts about his stamina and it appears it is a case of the further, the better for this chaser. Tizzard has had the best season of his career so far and a Grand National win would just top off a memorable campaign in April.
 article about The Key Contenders for the 2017 Grand National

If you are looking to back a horse this year who has been successful before over the Grand National fences, look no further than Vieux Lion Rouge. He was scored in the Becher Handicap Chase back in December where he finished ahead of Highland Lodge by a short-head, while The Last Samuri was a further length back in third. David Pipe's horse finished eighth in the 2016 Grand National in what was a respectable opening attempt in the world famous steeplechase.

One For Arthur put himself in contention for Aintree recently with a win over 3m5f in a Grade Three handicap chase at Warwick on soft ground. He led that race approaching the last under jockey Derek Fox before being driven clear to score by six lengths ahead of Goodtoknow. Lucinda Russell's horse finished fifth in the Becher in his opening run at Aintree and is likely to appreciate the step up in trip to 4m4f.

This year's Grand National looks to be one of the most wide open in many years but one thing is for sure: there will be a new name on the roll of honour as no previous winner is entered in the 2017 running.