Former Talksport man Charlie McCann takes a good look at the 2013 Grand National and gives us his antepost tips. View his preview & selections below.
The weights were announced at the Savoy Hotel in London earlier in the week for the 2013 John Smith’s Grand National with the enigmatic but hugely talented top-weight Tidal Bay confirmed on target for the race by Champion trainer Paul Nicholls who broke his Aintree duck last year when Neptune Collonges got up in the last stride to deny Sunnyhillboy under an inspired ride by Daryl Jacob.
Leading owner JP McManus has had mixed luck in the race in recent years winning the Big One in 2010 courtesy of Don’t Push It, but chinned on the line last year when he also lost his Gold Cup winner Synchronised one of two fatalities in the race with According To Pete also paying the ultimate price.
We are breaking new ground at BetVictor this year by offering Non Runner Free bet on the great race up to a maximum of £50 per horse and £100 per customer; many of the horses engaged at Aintree will be running at Cheltenham or in one of the many trials and this offer gives punters the insurance of money back as a free bet on the National if your selection fails to make the line up; see Betvictorfor details.
Given the placed horses (winner Neptune Collonges retired) all return for another crack this year it seems sensible to start the preview of the 2013 renewal by looking at last year’s race; third placed Seabass travelled very well but didn’t stay as well as the first two last year and will carry a minimum of 4lbs more this year. Katie Walsh gave the horse a tremendous ride but I would be surprised to see him go two better this year although he is 5lb better off for the 5L he finished behind Sunnyhillboy twelve months ago.
Back in fourth was Cappa Bleu who met trouble in running on more than one occasion before finishing fourth albeit without ever looking like troubling the leaders who had flown. The Evan Williams trained runner has a healthy pull in the weights with both Sunnyhillboy and Seabass and I would like to see him race more prominently to negate the prospect of a similar scenario in April.
A former winner of the Foxhunters’ at Cheltenham he has not been since Carlisle back in November when he finished well beaten behind a decent Donald McCain horse when obviously not fully wound up for his reappearance. He is guaranteed a run, has been laid out for the race, looks to have an excellent racing weight and at 20/1 (NRFB) he looks worth an interest.
My second selection must be On His Own 12/1; if you look back at last year’s race he was still going very well when coming down at Becher’s second time around and although it was far too early to be dogmatic about where he would have finished he looked sure to play a hand. Ruby Walsh had been due to ride but was injured earlier in the day (Paul Townend substituted) if you remember and the hope is that Walsh is reunited at Aintree although he has a difficult decision to make with Prince De Beauchene, Join Together and Tidal Bay all potential mounts for the jockey successful aboard Papillion for Father Ted in 2000 and Hedgehunter for Willie Mullins in 2005.
Formerly trained by Howard Johnson On His Own won the Thyestes Chase last January in the manner of a potential future National winner and he has not been seen since coming down at Aintree last spring; in some circumstances that would be construed as a negative but you know his trainer has laid him out for the race and owner Graham Wylie has a very strong hand with other strongly fancied horses Prince De Beauchene and Tidal Bay also due to run in his famous colours.
Teaforthree has been knocking on the door and finished a close second to Monbeg Dude in the Welsh National last time; a winner of the 4m NH Chase at last year’s Festival he has always looked an ideal Aintree candidate although regular pilot AP McCoy is likely to be retained by owner JP McManus for one of his seven entries led by Sunnyhillboy and the well-supported Colbert Station also in the care of Ted Walsh.
The race itself will be one furlong shorter at 4m 3f this year as the Aintree executive move the start closer to the first fence; it will remain the ultimate human and equine test. Luck? Of course you need luck to win this wonderful race. My rusty pin has come down firmly on the side of On His Own and Cappa Bleu and do remember if you are considering an antepost wager you will get your stake back as a free bet on the race if your selection does not make what looks sure to be another maximum field of 40.
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