Last year's Grand National ante post bets were both placed at big prices
and more of the same this year would be welcome, especially after the ante post Cheltenham carnage! It's a fascinating market
this year due to Tony McCoy's retirement and the current and future price of his likely mount, Shutthefrontdoor. Whilst last
year's Irish National winner has obvious claims and the price doesn't simply reflect headless heart string betting (McManus
will have him on a horse with a favourite's chance, especially under the circumstances), he is still likely to go off a false
price. The fact he was backed from 20/1 into now 8/1 ante post favourite upon McCoy announcement reflects just how much that
factor affects the market and means there are always going to be attractive prices elsewhere about runners who may have been
just as effectively plotted. There are 2 I want to back at this stage.
First up is a horse who may not show up and the NRNB is a must take. Fortunately he is available at biggest odds under these condions. Buddy Bolero may run in the Irish version, and some likely cut in the ground there would really suit him. Malcom Denmark has a few with Tony Martin entered in both races and I like the chances of Guess Again for both, though whether he'd get into the Grand National off a level 10 stone remains to be seen. No Secrets is another and they may just be the more likely runners at Fairyhouse, plus it's worth remembering Martin has a possible favourite in his armoury in Gallant Oscar. Either way we can't be certain who goes where but, focussing on the Aintree race, Buddy Bolero looks to have been handed a decent weight at 10-3, which will get him in near the bottom.
He is all about stamina and was sent off at 7/1 for the 4 miler at Cheltenham back in 2013, then rated 142. A winner on heavy ground at Chepstow back in February last year, I thought he'd be a Welsh National sort but he switched from Pipe to Martin (if ever there was a plot combo!) and started off over an inadequate trip at Limerick. A Pertemps qualifier was next, often used as a National sweetener, and he ran a cracker in the Kim Muir, keeping on on ground that will have been quick enough. That's the main worry for Aintree, and the reason they may go Irish, but it was his best run at Chelthenam in 3 attempts and tells us this mark is very feasible. The first time tongue tie also had a positive effect and will surely be retained. Why he's still available at 66/1 NRNB is a bit of a head scratcher and means he's a must bet.
As far as a definite intended runner goes, Alvarado looks an obvious choice carrying just 1lb more than when finishing a fine and staying on 4th 12 months ago. He has that modern National winner profile, double figure age, low weight and, whilst that's generalising a fair bit, he will be high on many lists come race day, a fair bit shorter than his current price. Lightly campaigned this year with both eyes on this, he might be ridden with a little more chance this time around. Much has been made of the ride given to him last year and, whilst those tactics seem to suit horse and jockey, the race often sees those mid division or further forward prevail. More luck is required in running from further back given field numbers but also the race can just get away from those at the back, especially given how quick they go now over these less demanding fences. It requires a mammoth staying performance as a result but not necessarily one form out back. I'm not sure last year's rain on the day was ideal for him either and his team are hitting fine form at the right time. He's a really solid option at a very attractive price of 33/1.Alvarado - 1pt e/w @ 33/1