1st April, 2012 - Posted by Elliot Slater - Comments Off
The shock news that long-time ante-post John Smith’s Grand National favourite Prince de Beauchene will miss the great race after sustaining a training injury has caused a serious ripple effect in the betting for the ‘world’s greatest steeplechase’, writes Elliot Slater.
The Willie Mullins-trained gelding had sat atop the ante-post list for the four-and-a-half-mile showcase event ever since galloping away with the Grade s At The Races Bobbyjo Chase at Fairyhouse in February, beating the 2010 Grand National runner-up Black Apalachi with plenty in hand. All had been going well in the preparation of the Graham Wylie-owned nine-year-old until he returned home unsound after a training session, and following routine scans it was soon revealed that the son of French Glory has suffered a stress fracture of the hip.
Having been a best racing odds of 9/1 favourite for the big race the absence of the horse most people anticipated would be ridden by the hugely popular Ruby Walsh has seen the Cheltenham Gold Cup winner and top weight Synchronised advance up the horse racing betting tips to become the 10/1 joint-favourite alongside Junior, a short-head runner-up last time out at Doncaster when giving away masses of weight to the subsequent winner Ikorodu Road in the prestigious Grimthorpe Chase.
Both joint-favourites seem certain to attract serious public support with Synchronised set to be partnered once again by the perennial champion jockey Tony McCoy, whilst Junior represents David Pipe, trainer of the 2008 winner Comply Or Die, and is due to be ridden by the media savvy Tom Scudamore. Last year’s winner Ballabriggs has been cut to a top price of 14/1, and then there is a group of potential winners clustered together at 16/1 that include Cappa Bleu, Chicago Grey, West End Rocker, Sunnyhillboy and Seabass, in a market that is really beginning to come to the boil as the days tick away to April 14.