The snow has melted, British Summer Time is here, even if the temperature makes that hard to believe and racing’s Flat Season is now under way, which means that the world’s greatest steeplechase – the John Smith’s Grand National is almost upon us.
A huge test for both horse and rider, the Aintree showpiece is the race on which millions enjoy a flutter, many of them making it their only bet of the year, so where is the money going this time around?
On His Own is the clear favourite at 7/1 courtesy of Stan James and he’s not without a chance. Travelling well in 2012 when falling at Bechers on the second circuit, many feel he might have figured in the final reckoning but the price is a touch skinny in what is such a unique test and indeed the chances are he could go off even shorter so it’s not a bad idea to look elsewhere.
BetVictor quote Seabass at 10/1 and after his third place last year, he’ll undoubtedly be the subject of further support in the run up to the race. Took to his task well in the 2012 renewal but the worry is that has chance has passed as he ran out of gas in the final stages and will carry more weight this time around.
Cappa Bleu, an 11/1 chance at bet365, was fourth last time around and was still scrapping away at the finish so he obviously stays well enough. The 11-year-old has been prepared with this race in mind by trainer Evan Williams, who has a decent record in the event and carrying 2lb less this time, he’s arguably the most attractive of the leading contenders.
At 12/1 via Stan James, Colbert Station has his backers after significant improvement on soft ground over the winter but the forecast fine weather could dry up the ground a little too much for him and this is a step up in class. He’s also a touch inexperienced but nevertheless is not one to write off.
Also towards the head of the betting, Chicago Grey (14/1, William Hill) will relish the drying ground and after an encouraging victory on heavy going at Navan last time out he looks set to put 2012’s early fall behind him. Similarly, Teaforthree, at 16/1 with Ladbrokes, catches the eye having finished second in the Welsh National in January and won over four miles last season.
A Cheltenham Gold Cup winner in 2010, Imperial Commander carries top weight and no horse since Red Rum has won in such circumstances. Should take to fences though and has attracted cash at 14/1 (BetVictor). Also rightly popular at a slightly bigger 16/1 courtesy of Paddy Power is Sunnyhillboy who was edged into second last year but is carrying more weight on Saturday.
Elsewhere, Skybet rate Join Together at 18/1 and the Becher Chase runner up, whose failure to impress in his last outing should be ignored, is an interesting each-way option as trainer Paul Nicholls bids for a second consecutive Grand National triumph.
Coral have reported money for 2011 victor Ballabriggs, in to 20/1 from 25s but he isn’t getting any younger, Balthazar King (20/1, bet365) will enjoy the drying conditions and Stan James’ 20/1 shot Rare Bob has seen some early money.
Meanwhile, further down the list, punters looking for a lively outsider could do worse than risk a quid or two, each-way, on Lost Glory at 66/1 with BetVictor. The eight-year-old is another that will favour drier ground, connections have enjoyed recent success in the race and he has won on four of his last five starts.
Odds supplied by www.betrescue.com
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