TO AINTREE VIA A WINNING DOUBLE AT DUNDALK: Shamrock warmed up for the Grand National in style with a winning double at Dundalk last night.

The Grand National can wait. Well only for one paragraph.

After a week of near misses and naps trading at ridiculously short prices in running we finally landed a nap last night and for good measure the next best also won. Both were well backed, the nap Gale Force Ten was 2.2 on BETDAQ when selected and returned at 10/11 SP – reduced further by a 30p rule 4 – so around 8/13. Earlier in the evening Pastilla made an impressive winning debut by landing the opener at 4/5. Again, she was hammered in the market.

So that sets up today nicely and the small matter of the 4.15 at Aintree, aka the John Smith’s Grand National Chase.

What a year it looks for the Irish trained runners – on paper at least.

It’s the Willie Mullins and Ted Walsh show and in the mid morning BETDAQ market the money was speaking for Seabass, third last year and re-united with Katie Walsh for the dream headline.

With a clear round (and that disclaimer applies to every single horse) he should go very close again. He’s only had the two runs since the 2012 National, finishing placed in small fields at Fairyhouse on both occasions but this clearly has been his target. He’s an admirable performer and in my mind a worthy favourite. At 3/1 the place on BETDAQ it’s certainly worth taking out the insurance option in case he is placed again.

I’m not really sure about Ted’s other runner Colbert Station. If we are to believe the press, AP McCoy spent ‘hours’ deliberating whether to ride him or last year’s runner-up Sunnyhillboy. Yet the latter is now double the odds of Colbert Station which seems odd if we are really are to believe there is so little to choose between them. On that basis Colbert Station is far too short or Sunnyhillboy far too big – even allowing for the AP factor.

I prefer the course experience of Seabass which has been an important factor in Grand National winners over the years to the profile of Colbert Station who warmed up for this with a win – over hurdles !

On His Own, the mount of Ruby and trained by Willie Mullins also arrives here via hurdles, with a success in the Boyne Hurdle at Navan. He fell at Bechers last year on the second circuit when very much still in contention but might be let down again today by his jumping.

At Navan today Mullins should land the featured Webster Cup Chase with Call The Police. That race is at 4.35 and we’ll know the name of the Grand National winner by then. Good luck.

NAP (win and place): Seabass (Grant National, 4.15 Aintree)
NEXT BEST: Call The Police (4.35 at Navan)

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