Fresh off the press and by by press we mean the Paddy Power Blog and Ruby Walsh has been weighing up his opposition in anticipation of the 2013 Grand National on Saturday.
Starting with On His Own, though he hasn't yet been officially confirmed to ride him for Willie Mullins, he said “Hedgehunter was the favourite when I won it. Papillon was the Pricewise horse so got backed into a pretty short price in the end. Being favourite doesn’t add any pressure for me, somebody has to be favourite. The horse doesn’t know its price.”
Some would easily take that as confirmation of the ride but anything can happen between now and Saturday so it's still a wait and see game…
Interestingly, and though his sister Katie should be on Seabass he doesn't mention her in his analysis and instead focuses on the fact that his father is training both Seabass and Colbert Station and mentions both as serious potential winners saying “There are plenty of horses you have to be worried about and my dad, Ted Walsh, trains two of them with Seabass and Colbert Station…Dad has two great chances.”
Less impressed by the ever shortening Chicago Grey he pointed out some potential elements that could prohibit him from being the winner saying “Chicago Grey has a chance on his run in Navan but I’m not a fan of his jumping. He is very deliberate. You have to get round at Aintree and a deliberate horse can lose a lot of ground.”
He also reviews the chances of the Paul Nicholls trained Join Together who now has last year's winning jockey Daryl Jacob confirmed for the ride saying “Providing the ground dries up Join Together has a huge chance. If the ground is quick he has a chance. He ran well in the Becher Chase but he is really desperate for the ground to dry up.”
That's all well and good but news that Aintree are currently watering the ground may not bode well for his chances and given the winter we've had it seems bizarre that they would be but in a massive attempt to keep the race fatality free, the Clerk is trying to ensure the going is Good to Good Soft. The idea is that heavier ground will slow down the speed. Let's hope he is right and that in doing so he doesn't hamper the chances of some fine horses who need the ground a little on the quick side!
Will Ruby be right? Last year he was one of the few who backed Neptune Collonges, citing him as the dark horse in the race and look what happened!