Tidal Bay cut despite top weight
Tidal Bay has been handed top weight for the Grand National but that hasn't stopped the horse being cut for April's big race.
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Betfred, the official betting partner of the race, moved Paul Nicholls' hopeful in from 20/1 to 16s after it was revealed he would have to carry 11st 10lbs. Sky Bet and Blue Square made similar moves.
No top weight has won the Aintree showdown since Red Rum did so in 1974.
However, Betfred spokesman Mark Pearson felt handicapper Phil Smith could have been tougher on the Lexus Chase winner.
"The handicapper has definitely given him some leeway and of course never underestimate the Paul Nicholls factor following his success in last year's race (with Neptune Collonges)," he said.
The horse has an official British Horseracing Authority mark of 171 but has been rated on 162 by Smith, who is allowed to use his discretion in framing the National weights.
Betfred now have three co-favourites for the race after trimming Ted Walsh's Seabass - handed 11st 2lbs - in from 16/1 to 14s.
2012 Neptune Collonges (11st 6lbs)
2011 Ballabriggs (11st)
2010 Don't Push It (11st 5lbs)
2009 Mon Mome (11st)
2008 Comply Or Die (10st 9lbs)
He now sits alongside the Willie Mullins pair of On His Own and Prince de Beauchene at the head of the market. They will saddle 10st 10lbs and 11st 3lbs respectively and both can be backed at a best of 14s.
Mullins, who has seven entries in total, won the race in 2005 with Hedgehunter. He is 11/2 to train this year's winner with William Hill.
Hill's also bet on which horse Ruby Walsh will ride. They make Prince De Beauchene the 5/2 favourite, with On His Own at 3s. Walsh is 6/1 to take the ride on Tidal Bay.
BetVictor's Charlie McCann, whose firm go non-runner no bet, disagreed.
He said: "Ruby Walsh will face a very difficult decision when it comes to choosing his National mount but we think On His Own is the one.
"The nine-year-old was still going well when coming down at Becher's Brook on the second circuit last year and connections have protected what they must believe to be a manageable handicap mark.
"It looks a top-class renewal of the great race and last year's fourth Cappa Bleu and Jessies Dream are two others who we are keen to keep on the right side of having seen the weights."
Ladbrokes felt Prince de Beauchene had ben treated lightly and made the horse their 8/1 jolly. The 'Magic Sign' lengthened Seabass to 16s, joining Boylesports at that price.
The Mullins duo and Tidal Bay are all owned by Andrea and Graham Wylie and both Betfred and Stan James make them 5/1 to land the race.
Former winner Ballabriggs is a best of 40/1 with Stan James. He has been handed 11st - the same weight he won with in 2011.
Teaforthree, the favourite for this weeklend's Grand National Trial at Haydock, is a 20/1 general chance after being handed 10st 13lbs.
The race takes place on April 6.