By Dylan Jenear ValueChecker
Silver By Nature On Course for Aintree Grand National
Silver By Nature is as short as 12-1 with Ladbrokes for the John Smith’s Grand National at Aintree after romping home under top-weight in his trial for the big race, the totesport.com Grand National Trial, at Haydock on Saturday (February 19).
Lucinda Russell’s charge, who is a top-priced 20-1 with for the world’s most famous steeplechase, has been allotted a weight of 10st 12lb for the National, and if he does take his chance he will be a sizeable step ahead of the handicapper, given that he will be raised significantly in the ratings when reassessed following his 15-length demolition of Ballyfitz at Haydock.
The nine-year-old, who won the Grand National Trial at the Merseyside venue in equally decisive fashion last year, failed to fire in his first two starts of the season in the Hennessy at Newbury and the Welsh National at Chepstow. However, Saturday’s victory confirmed that he is better than ever and his sound jumping technique will stand him in good stead at Aintree on April 9.
The one caveat where Silver By Nature is concerned is that his best form has come under testing conditions. Invariably the ground is no slower than good on Grand National day, so he will have something to prove.
At the head of the market with most firms are Ballabriggs, who has won both starts over hurdles with the preservation of his handicap mark for Aintree in mind, and Niche Market, who looks the pick of Paul Nicholls’ 10-strong entries. The National is one of very few big races that the champion trainer has yet to add to his CV.
Like Silver By Nature, Big Fella Thanks did his National hopes no harm over the weekend. Fourth at Aintree in 2010, he is generally a 20-1 chance, but as short as 12-1 in a place, after running a good trial when fourth to Riverside Theatre over an inadequate trip in the Grade 1 Betfair Ascot Chase.
Recommendation: Niche Market (win); Calgary Bay (each-way)
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