Veteran chaser Gas Line Boy finished fifth in last year's Grand National, and despite concerns over his jumping Alan Dudman believes the 12-year-old is capable of another bold showing...
"I really like Gas Line Boy despite his advancing years, and being 12 years of age is no complete hindrance to his chances - as Amberleigh House done it in 2004 - the fourth 12yo to do so since 1980."
|Gas Line Boy Form||Wins||Runs||2nd Place Runs||3rd Place Runs||Winnings|
With a light campaign of just three runs, two of those outings have been in Veterans' races for the Ian Williams-trained 12yo.
His season started on a very unlucky note with a fall at Aintree. On that occasion he had skipped into a big lead and was travelling well before tipping up three from home. He made no mistake from his next run in Liverpool over the National fences in the Grand Sefton, and overcame a bad mistake when being hampered four out to win, and record something of a personal best from a mark of 142.
His last outing was behind Buywise at Sandown - but no one should begrudge Buywise winning a race. That was in January, so he'll be nice and fresh for this.
With two falls next to his name at the course, he wouldn't be the first horse into the shortlist on the jumping stakes, but on both occasions he has been pretty unlucky. One fall came at the first in Many Clouds' 2015 victory (when trained by Philip Hobbs), and you can forgive a horse a mistake on their opening try. He had clearly learned from that, though, when finishing a highly-honourable fifth behind One For Arthur last term.
I rate him as a fairly good jumper, and he looks a typical Aintree horse in the sense he travels well up with the pace, and can zip around in the hurly-burly.
As a dual-purpose trainer, not many can match Ian Williams for his adaptability. He's as likely to have a horse at Chelmsford City as he is at Cheltenham. His stable star Ballyalton was his only runner at the Festival, and he produced a stormer in the deep ground to finish fourth.
Williams has been operating at a 12% strike-rate with his jumpers this term; with 16 hurdles victories compared to just four over fences. His horses were in good nick towards the end of March however with three winners.
Odds & Verdict
I really like him despite his advancing years, and being 12 years of age is no complete hindrance to his chances - as Amberleigh House done it in 2004 - the fourth 12yo to do so since 1980.
My only worry is him staying fully if we have a soft ground National (and who knows with this weather). His stamina gave way a little for me in last term's Haydock Grand National Trial; a race where he was matched at a low of 2.6 from a BSP of 17.56.
He was done at a low of [6.0] in last term's renewal behind One For Arthur from a BSP of 70. His run style represents a great trade for in-running players, though. But he's also a big enough price at 33/1 for an each-way bet, especially from a nice racing weight of 10-10.