Teaforthree tops Timeform ratings
Teaforthree tops the Timeform ratings for the 2014 Crabbie's Grand National following the publication of the weights.
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Rebecca Curtis' charge finished a brave third to Auroras Encore in the race last year and races from a two pounds lower mark in April.
Timeform Jumps Handicapper Phil Turner commented: "Of course, much can change between now and April 5th, as plenty have probably been protecting their handicap marks until the National weights were announced. But Teaforthree looked an Aintree natural last year and is likely to make solid each-way appeal even if a few better-handicapped rivals were to emerge before the big day."
Teaforthree will be bidding to become the first National winner since 2004 hero Amberleigh House to score after being placed in the race previously, and he could be joined in that quest by 2012 placed pair Sunnyhillboy and Seabass.
The statistics don't bode quite so well for the popular veteran Tidal Bay, as you have to go back to 1923 winner Sergeant Murphy to find the last 13-year-old to taste National success, though Timeform still rate him as one of the more likely winners due to the BHA's policy of favouring those towards the head of the weights nowadays.
Turner added: "Tidal Bay has been allotted a mark 7lb lower than he'd have been asked to carry in a conventional handicap, so he's clearly one of the best-treated runners despite top weight.
"As for his age, he's finished a narrow third in the Welsh National and runner-up in a Grade 1 on his last two starts, so it's safe to assume most of his ability is still intact!"
Timeform feel potentially the best-handicapped runner in the field, however, is the 2011 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Long Run, who has rather lost his way this winter (rated accordingly) after several seasons of consistently top-class form.
Turner said "It was a similar scenario with the last Gold Cup winner who went on to claim National glory, 1975 victor L'Escargot (who, like Long Run, also wore headgear latterly), whilst it is worth bearing in mind that Long Run's amateur jockey Sam Waley-Cohen can boast one of the best records over the National fences amongst current riders."
Timeform weight-adjusted ratings: 180 Teaforthree, 179 Tidal Bay, 178 Highland Lodge, Wayward Prince, Shakalakaboomboom, 177? Kauto Stone, 176 Sunnyhillboy, The Package, 175 Big Shu, Tatenen, 174p Rocky Creek, 174 Godsmejudge, Katenko, Roi du Mee, Rubi Light