The 2022 Grand National doesn’t take place until April 9th, but already the antepost betting market is heating up with punters looking to get the ultimate value in their bet.

Of course, only the current top 40 are guaranteed to be running at this stage with the final declarations only made a week a couple of days before the event itself.

However, horse racing punters can expect to get the ultimate value at this stage on Minella Times, the winner in last year’s Grand National. As the bets pile in, he could go off as the race favourite in 2022, though he does have great competition.

So which other horses should you be keeping track of before the National?

Escaria Ten

Trained by Gordon Elliott and owned by the McNeill family, Escaria Ten is an unlikely threat, at least on paper.

From seven chase starts he has only won once and has placed another three times. His only win was back in December 2020 and it was a standard chase worth £7K.

So why are his odds so short at just 12/1 ante post? Two runs, in particular, boosted his credentials. The first was at Cheltenham last year when he finished third in the Glenfarclas chase over 3m6f. So clearly he can go the distance.

The second race was his most recent. That was at Fairyhouse in February when he was just beaten by a nose by Any Second Now in the BobbyJo Chase.

With connections opting to bypass Cheltenham this year, all plans are for Aintree so with that singular focus, Elliott might just have another Grand National winner on his hands.

Snow Leopardess

Mares struggle to make an impact in the Grand National. So too do grey horses. Given that Snow Leopardess is both, history is stacked against her.

However, this 10-year-old from Charlie Longsdon is on a winning streak with connections hoping it continues at Aintree.

She goes into this race on the back of three wins and that includes the Becher Chase at Aintree in December. Run over the same fences as the Grand National, she put in a solid run but her lead did ebb away as the finishing line drew ever closer.

Does she have what it takes to go for another mile and win the National as well? Time will tell.

If you fancy her chances you can get her at 14/1 in the antepost betting markets.

Any Second Now

Currently the favourite in the antepost betting market for the Grand National 2022, Any Second Now is having a second crack at the race. He finished third last year and to be fair, his prep season this time around is going better.

For comparison, Any Second Now ran at Navan in December in 2020, finishing ninth. It was the exact same in 2021 – Navan, December, ninth place.

He then went on to Gowran both years in January for the Goffs Thyestes Handicap Chase, but where he pulled up in 2021, he finished 6th in 2022.

The only big difference between the two seasons was that in 2021 he went back to Navan (he won) before the Grand National but in 2022 he went to Fairyhouse for the BobbyJo Chase which he also won.

So all things being equal, his prep season is better, we know he can jump beautifully and he has form in the race. BUT, and it’s a big ‘but’, for the 2022 Grand National, he will carry 13lbs more.

It’s not that he can’t carry the weight but it will make his job a lot more difficult.