THE unveiling of the 2013 John Smith’s Grand National weights usually sparks cries of frustration and woe from various trainers and owners. But this year seems to be a little different… so far. The overall reaction seems to be that BHA handicapper Phil Smith has done a credible and fair job in working out the weights.
The one dissenting voice has been Ted Walsh, the trainer of SEABASS and COLBERT STATION. He was non-plussed as to why Seabass was given 11st 2lb, just 8lb less than the top weight Tidal Bay. On official ratings, Seabass (154) is rated 17lb lower than Paul Nicholls’ quirky but classy customer, so he seems to have a point. But this is the Grand National: it’s no ordinary race. Seabass ran well last year and will be at the forefront of most betting markets.
BetVictor have put ON HIS OWN at the head of their market at 12/1 followed by PRINCE DE BEAUCHENE, Seabass (both 14/1) and JOIN TOGETHER (16s). On His Own was travelling well in the race last year before coming to grief at Bechers second time round and his connections have managed to protect his handicap mark. He is also the likely mount of Ruby Walsh, who has a plethora of fancied horses to choose from.
But for me the 10st 13lb given to Welsh national runner-up TEAFORTHREE looks very attractive. This fellow ticks all the boxes for me. He stays and jumps really well and looks tailor-made for Aintree. The only possible negative would be that his regular pilot AP McCoy is likely to be on one of JP McManus’s runners. Teaforthree is best priced at 20/1 but that would plummet if McCoy was confirmed as the jockey. On the flip side the upwardly mobile Nick Scholfield seems likely to come in for the ride if McCoy is unavailable.
Join Together (10st 12lb), who ran a blinder in the Becher Chase, is another on an attractive weight while former RSA Chase winner BOSTONS ANGEL has got a handy 10st 7lb.
Elsewhere trainer Neil Mulholland said he was delighted with the 11st given to MIDNIGHT CHASE while Kim Bailey seemed fairly happy with THE RAINBOW HUNTER’S 10st 2lb.
Overall the median rating is 143, a pound less than last year’s record figure of 144.
For the very latest 2013 Grand National prices please click here