YorkMix tipster Dick Turpin has been studying the form of this year’s Grand National runners. Here is his report, fresh from a graveyard in York
Can Sunnyhillboy gain revenge for his agonisingly close second last year? Possibly… but my money will not be burdening his chances.
There’s no Neptune Collonges this year, as the 2012 winner has retired. But there are at least three or four others in the 40-strong field capable of spoiling the party for the 16-1 shot Sunnyhillboy with Ritchie Mclernon up.
Sure, he’ll be there or thereabouts, with a clear run, but my ill-gotten gains from the highwayman trade will be firmly on two other main selections.
I have decided to set aside the obvious chance of the wonderful Ruby Walsh who is widely expected to trot up at 7-1 on board the favourite On His Own. He was going well when he fell last year, but that is racing for you. With a clear round, nothing can beat him. But this is the National, and something interesting always happens.
So what are the two that I can’t separate?
Colbert Station, mount of the great A P McCoy. Currently 10-1 second favourite, this winner at Leopardstown at Christmas has all the right credentials to lift the prize. If you are triskaidekaphobic, don’t be put off by his racecard Number 13. The Ted Walsh-trained gelding will handle the distance and the going, and should keep me in porter and mead for another year.
And my second choice? Teaforthree, the current 14-1 ride for Nick Schofield, looks like one to be on. This fabulous animal, trained by Rebecca Curtis, has stamina to spare. Any horse that can win Cheltenham’s four-mile National Hunt Chase deserves respect. There have been a few near-misses and not-quite-fit performances on the road to Aintree, but when the time comes, the obvious class of Teaforthree will shine through.
And third place? None other than Colbert Station’s stablemate, Seabass. Finished third last year, and penalised by the handicapper for that, which seems a tad unfair to me, as he has never won over more than three miles. So it’s a mountain to climb, but Ted Walsh’s jockey daughter Katie (sister of Ruby) is up to the task, as long as Seabass can handle the extra weight. But third place looks likely again.
And which outsider has a chance of popping into fourth place at long odds?
There’s only one choice for this: Roberto Goldback, ridden by Barry Geraghty looks great value at 33-1 and I will have a few sovereigns riding on him too.
So, don’t be surprised if the final result is a family affair, with Ruby Walsh winning on the favourite On His Own, followed home by two horses trained by his father, Colbert Station and Seabass, the latter ridden by his sister.
But, ignoring the favourite, I think it will be like this:
1 Colbert Station
4 Roberto Goldback
I have also had a quick word with my beloved Black Bess who is never far from my heart. Bess has some inside information – straight from the horse’s mouth – which she has asked me to share.
She suggests you can confidently put a month’s worth of oats on Harry The Viking (each way, of course; Bess is no mug punter).
He’s taken a while to get into shape this year, but her connections tell Black Bess that Harry The Viking has been saving himself for the big day. At 40-1, that’s a lot of oats.