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Grand National Market Takes Off As Punters Plot McCoy Mount


A number of talented contenders are set to contest Britain’s biggest race and the weights are set to be unveiled inside two weeks. The ante post market is in full swing and there are plenty of quality prices up for grabs.

The big story, at the moment, appears to be Donald McCain’s Ballabriggs. He’s been in absolutely rude form with a full six scores on the bounce and an undefeated 2010 campaign. He made a major statement about his staying ability by conquering the Kim Muir at last year’s festival. His two outings this season have been on the novice hurdle circuit, but he is achieving career-best figures at the moment and the ten year-old son of Presenting leads the ante post with a 16/1 price across the board. Connections are said to be waiting for the weights to be released before finalizing his entry, but indications from McCain (whose father won the national four times) are clear that the national is his penultimate target.

Denman had been the main focus of the national betting, but punters and bookmakers look to have cooled off the Tank as the Cheltenham Gold Cup looks distinctly more winnable this year with a misfiring Kauto Star now trading at 10/1.

Big Fella Thanks finished fourth last year for Ferdy Murphy’s yard and he just couldn’t stay the final furlong or two and connections will likely be blaming bad luck and an in-form AP McCoy.

Don’t Push It could be back for another kick at the can but his past two races have been distinctly underwhelming. He was pulled up in his seasonal debut at Cheltenham and then finished a tame twelfth in a handicap hurdle about three weeks later. The JP McManus-trained gelding will likely not have McCoy back for the trip and you can expect his price to rise considerably should that be the case.

The current rumour is that McCoy will opt for eight year-old son of Sadler’s Wells Synchronised. He just made a major statement by scoring in the Welsh National, achieving career-best figures against that field of eighteen. Chepstow and the National Course at Aintree are two different beasts, but he will come into the race with plenty of momentum and just as much support at the windows.

Sir Alex Ferguson’s What A Friend is an interesting addition to the field and he has only been out once this year- a fifth place finish to Imperial Commander in the Betfair Chase at Haydock. He’s scored at Aintree in last year’s totesport Bowl and, if he skips Cheltenham, is a near certainty to line up for the National. With Paul Nicholls saddling ten contenders at this point, one wonders what he has up his sleeve for Sir Alex’s charge.  

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