SAPHIR DU RHEU can show his excellent Gold Cup fifth was no flash in the pan by giving Paul Nicholls his second Grand National triumph.
History would normally dictate that a horse who had run so well in the Cheltenham showpiece should be right at the front of the National market. Saphir du Rheu, however, has long had his detractors and seems almost incapable of capturing the imagination.
It is true that his jumping was blemish-strewn early in his chasing career, but there was no semblance of an error in the Gold Cup, in which he travelled beautifully for the most part.
A rounded look at his career suggests that he is a strong stayer with a preference for a sound surface, and he simply looks overpriced based on class, his place in the handicap, and his entering the fray seemingly in the form of his life.
Of the more highly touted runners, BLAKLION looks well set to run a huge race. He is hardy horse, replete with stamina who has had an appealing preparation for the race. The booking of Noel Fehily is a major plus.
Amongst the bigger priced runners, HIGHLAND LODGE and RAZ DE MAREE make the most appeal. The former is as assured a jumper of the Aintree fences as any, and has been kept under wraps specifically to shine on the day that matters most. He is a solid prospect for place money, for all he may lack that touch of class needed to win.
Raz de Maree, meanwhile, is getting on a bit, but is no back number judged on his excellent run in the Welsh National behind Native River. Again, he is long on stamina and should be well suited by the ground – he’s not that big, but is very tough.
- Saphir Du Rheu 1pt 25-1
- Blaklion 1pt 16-1
- Highland Lodge 1pt 33-1
- Raz De Maree 1pt 40-1
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