Weights give Tidal Bay chance of Grand National glory
Paul Nicholls can have no complaints after Tidal Bay was given top weight of 11st 10lb for the Crabbie’s Grand National on April 5th. The thirteen-year-old has been given a rating of 161, his lowest figure since winning the Bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown in April 2012.
The versatile gelding showed his well-being with a fine second to Cheltenham Gold Cup hope Last Instalment at Leopardstown on Sunday. That followed an equally gallant effort when carrying 11st 12lb into third place in the Welsh National at Chepstow behind Mountainous and stable companion Hawkes Point.
If Tidal Bay can defy top weight, he will be the first of his age group to win the National since Sergeant Murphy in 1923. Nicky Henderson’s 2011 Gold Cup winner Long Run is only 1lb lower on 11st 9lb and Hennessy Gold Cup winner Triolo D’Alene carries 11st 6lb.
Henderson is still chasing an elusive first National victory and his other entries are Hunt Ball (11st 7lb) and Shakalakaboomboom (10st 3lb). 2013 Coral Welsh National winner Monbeg Dude looks to have a good racing weight with 10st 9lb to carry and he is expected to run in the Haydock Trial this Saturday.
Nicholls has a particularly strong hand this year with Tidal Bay’s challenge supported by six others. Hawkes Point has been allotted 10st 6lb and is also due to run this weekend while Rocky Creek (11st 5lb) and There’s No Panic (9st 11lb) have also run impressive trials.
Katenko laboured in the heavy ground at Newbury on Saturday and has been given 11st 4lb with last year’s third Teaforthree on 10st 12lb. That means the latter is now almost a stone better off with Monbeg Dude for the half-length that he beat him in the Welsh National last year.
Ted Walsh is again represented by Seabass (11st 2lb) and Colbert Station (11st) while Willie Mullins has a team of eight led by On His Own (11st 3lb). He recently won the Thyestes Chase in Ireland for a second time but has failed to complete in the last two Nationals.
Scottish National winner Godsmejudge is on 10st 11lb with hunter chaser Mossey Joe given 11st 1lb. Tidal Bay is the 16-1 favourite with Coral followed by a host of horses on 20-1 including Monbeg Dude, Teaforthree and Triolo D’Alene.