Much shortening of odds has happened as the usual hot tips emerge for this race – Elegant Escape, Now McGinty, Potters Corner, Truckers Lodge – and those at the head of things seem to be tightening without any give in the market among them. There’s no value there. I cannot understand how Elegant Escape can be 3/1 here carrying 11.12 yet 25/1 for the Grand National. Although he won this race last year, I think Aintree will suit even better. I hope his trainer puts him away after this and looks after him. I’d much sooner back him for the Grand National at 25/1 than this at 3/1.
With no value to be found among the shorter ones, I’m staying with the outsiders. A horse that’s always looked to me as though he can pick up a decent staying handicap is Arthur’s Gift, Nigel Twiston-Davies only representative here. His chasing experience is limited. I fancied him for the Midlands National but he pulled up there in deep ground. Last time he ran quite well at Bangor, staying on late into 2nd. Jamie Bargary rides (Sam Twiston-Davies stays at Kempton for the ride on Al Dancer in the Grade 2).
Second choice is Even Willams’s Virginia Chick ridden by his daughter Isabel who claims 7bs and gets on well with the horse. She’s a confident rider and well worth her claim. Virginia Chick has had only 3 steeplechases but won at Exeter in a more than competent display of jumping. Isobel will drop him out and will need plenty of luck, but I think he’ll run much better than his big price suggests.
Both should be backed with Betvictor who offer 1/5th the odds first 5