It's Tea time in the National
Simon Holt previews Saturday's John Smith's Grand National and fancies Teaforthree to beat Cappa Bleu.
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The two I'm taking against the field in Saturday's John Smith's Grand National are Teaforthree.
Both horses are very sound jumpers, out-and-out stayers and Cappa Bleu has form around the course. His trainer Evan Williams has a happy knack of preparing horses for this race - just look at State Of Play's record - and he has to be high on the shortlist.
Cappa Bleu ran a terrific race to finish fourth last year and ran a super trial at Ascot. He has been trained for this race all year and is sure to go well.
Teaforthree was disappointing at Haydock last time but apparently he didn't eat or drink having been stabled away from home overnight. Just imagine the effect that would have on a human athlete and he will be travelling up on the morning of the race this time.
That run apart he looks the perfect National horse. He jumps very well as he showed when winning the National Hunt Chase at Cheltenham last season and ran a cracker to be second in the Welsh National this term.
He really stays and if all is well with him this time he can give Rebecca Curtis and Nick Scholfield a memorable day.
Others I give chances to include Seabass who was an excellent third last year. Perhaps he didn't get home having led over the last but what a story it would be if Katie Walsh became the first female jockey to win the race.
Balthazar King, provided they don't over-water, is a leading player. He loves jumping and good ground and has shown a tremendous aptitude for the cross country course at Cheltenham. He doesn't look badly handicapped and should really take to this race.
Soll is a mountain of a horse who jumped beautifully at Sandown last time. I'm not convinced he's going to stay every yard of the trip on Saturday but he will give a bold sight for a long way.
It would be great to see Imperial Commander become the first Gold Cup winner since L'Escargot to win a National and he must have a chance judged on his comeback run in the Argento Chase.
Big Fella Thanks will be there crossing the Melling Road again but doesn't quite get home, but if Sunnyhillboy and Colbert Station get round they'll go close for the JP McManus team.
However it's Teaforthree for me to beat Cappa Bleu.