Alan King’s Walkon has claimed minor medals in some of the most competitive handicaps around, including over the Grand National fences in the Topham Chase at last year’s meeting, yet he is available at a whopping 50/1 for glory in his year’s Aintree marathon.
The grey’s second season as a chaser featured not one, nor two, but three silver medals in fiercely competitive handicaps.
First he found only Al Ferof too good in the Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham, before returning to Prestbury Park the following month for the December Gold Cup, only to be touched off once more.
After a solid fifth in another similar event at the Cheltenham Festival he was heartbreakingly defied once again, this time by just three quarters of a length in the Topham.
His conqueror over the same spruce-covered fences as he will face in the Grand National was none other than Triolo D’Alene, formerly ante-post favourite and now a 20/1 shot for the big race this term.
It was a formidable run from King’s grey, who was attempting to give his rival a stone in weight.
Subsequently it became clear just what he had achieved in doing so, with the Nicky Henderson inmate now rated 158 after landing the Hennessey Gold Cup by nigh on 3l, off a mark of 147.
Triolo D’Alene had been rated a mere 132 when besting Walkon by under a length over the National fences.
The fact that his trainer calls upon Wayne Hutchinson, rather than stable number one Robert ‘Choc’ Thornton, to ride the gallant grey boosts his chances further.
King and Hutchinson teamed up to land last season’s 4m Scottish Grand National with Godsmejudge meaning the grey’s pilot has proven chops in staying chases at extreme trips.
It’s a trainer/jockey combination that also bagged the Becher Chase over the National fences in 2011, while Hutchinson was the man aboard for Walkon’s Topham Chase second last term.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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