After the Grand National weights were announced on Tuesday, Tony Calvin discusses the latest betting for the world's most famous race and explains why he's backing a progressive nine-year-old at Aintree...
"You surely have to look beyond Tiger Roll and, while I would be at pains to stress that I would keep stakes very small at this stage, I have chucked a few quid at Kimberlite Candy at 20.019/1 today and I suggest you have a similar nibble."
As regular readers will know, I tend to use 20 words when one would suffice, but I think it is best to keep it concise when it comes to the Grand National on April 10.
After all, there are still 104 in the race and it is just shy of two months away as well, so I think brevity and no waffle is the best way to proceed. Otherwise, you would be reading a couple of chapters here, and still be missing out plenty.
There were no real shocks when the weights were announced on Tuesday morning - the Betfair Sportsbook went non-runner money-back (NRMB) from midday, by the way - and I think the press have been seriously misguided in giving a certain owner the unwarranted oxygen of the media yet again in the build-up this year.
Ignoring him is a far better course of action but it is easy, regurgitated copy, I guess.
Look beyond 10/1 favourite Tiger Roll
On a totally unrelated point obviously, Tiger Roll has been made the 10/1 favourite on the NRMB fixed-odds front (he has been given a mark of 166, 7lb higher than when winning in 2019), but the Exchange layers clearly feel that the hat-trick seeker may not even rock up in April as he is currently 25/1+ there.
Given his recent unconvincing profile, even the 25s may be not the act of generosity it initially appears, for all Betfair Ambassador Gordon Elliott's runner thrives at the gaff.
You surely have to look elsewhere - the Exchange favourite is actually Cloth Cap, just ahead of Burrows Saint - and, while I would be at pains to stress that I would keep stakes very small at this stage, I have chucked a few quid at Kimberlite Candy at 20.019/1 today and I suggest you have a similar nibble.
For the purposes of openness and transparency, I should mention he is available at 25/1 in one place in the wider market, but good luck with that project, as they say.
As I mentioned in my ante-post column about this weekend's cracking racing schedule, I would be all over Kimberlite Candy at 20/1 for the Betfair Swinley Chase at Ascot on Saturday were he to run there, as you can't pick up a penalty for Aintree now that the weights are out.
However, I haven't read any chat about the immediate running plans for the horse, so I will stick to his Nash claims, and connections may even decide to go there fresh.
He has an excellent record off a break.
Tailor-made for Aintree test
It may well be that the horse has had a problem since his excellent return when second in the Becher in early December, so they may well be very keen to get a run into him beforehand - Tom Lacey was talking about a run in Warwick's Classic Chase after that reappearance run - but, either way, the horse is very easy to warm to for this race.
He was also very easy to back in the Becher back in December, going off at 14/1 when he was shorter in the morning and bigger still at Betfair SP (22.29) by the off, but he travelled and jumped beautifully for a long way there (trading 2.8 in the run), before emptying a touch when Vieux Lion Rouge came alive once again on his favourite track.
That was clearly a more than satisfactory return (following on from his second in the race the year before) and he showed when winning the 3m5f Classic Chase by 10 lengths at Warwick last January that stamina ought not to be a concern for him.
And I think his in-running comment of "ridden and weakened before two out" does not paint a totally accurate picture of his Eider Chase fifth over 4m in 2019, but he is a much-improved horse these days anyway, so I read little into that.
He is up to a career-high mark of 153 now, having gone up 16lb for his last three runs, but he doesn't have a lot of mileage for a nine-year-old and I simply feel we are dealing with a progressive horse, proven over the fences, and one that looks tailor-made for the most famous test in horseracing.
Perhaps along with 103 others, but I think 20/1 and bigger is fair.
He needs some dig as he is best on soft but Aintree are never going to let the race be run on anything better than good to soft these days.