There is no doubt that this is a quality national field and one of the best renewals that we have seen. The Gold Cup winner and probable favourite will catch some punters eyes but be careful – Synchronised like a number of the others in the field tends to hang out the back and has a bad habit of nodding on landing. The pace will be fast and jumping could find him out. Similar problems with race tactics puts us also off of the otherwise attractive Chicago Grey. No horse that comes from the back since Just So has done well in the race and that was only due to him being a mud lark and that the ground was bottomless that day.
Here are Crockford’s considerations for the race:
Ballabriggs – Winner last year and probable winner this. There is nothing to put you off except for weight. Good return at Kelso.
Weird Al – Massive price for a classy but mercurial McCain horse. He could either be light up by the fences or pulled up early on. Worth an each way perhaps at 40/1.
Neptune Collonges – Quality horse on his day. Nicholls seems to have him back to some kind of form. If he travels up with the pace he could be thereabouts on the run in.
Calgary Bay – Best form for some time recently. Again a classy individual on their day – but is it their day?
Planet of Sound – Not very exposed but looks like the kind of horse that could take to the National. Certainly has the pace but may be not the stamina – worth a look at a big price.
Black Apalachi – Second in recent years and had an excellent return when finishing second in his last start. 13 years old is old though – perhaps the chance of a last hurrah?
Sea Bass – The money has come for this unbeaten this season Irish raider for the Walsh Family. Katie certainly has an excellent chance and he will be sharp for this after his last race.
Cappa Bleu – Highly thought of a few seasons ago and appears to be back on song this season. He should out run his stablemate State of Play in this years renewal.
Organisedconfusion – Could Nina and her mount add the English to the Irish Grand National? She certainly has a good chance.
Becauseicouldntsee – Ran well at Cheltenham and is well fancied for this. Concerns could be jumping and stamina though.
2 Sea Bass
3 Planet of Sound
4 Cappa Bleu