Head handicapper Phil Smith had the tricky and difficult task of allocating weights to the 115 horses still entered for the Grand National and he has indicated that it was Mossey Joe that provided the greatest challenge.
Smith still isn’t sure if he has got Mossey Joe’s weight right and there are concerns that the horse could be thrown in off 11st 1lb or equally he could be rated 8lb too high.
Ladbrokes are offering the top industry odds of Mossey Joe winning the Grand National at 33/1 and let’s try to decipher if Smith will be left with egg on his face, or whether he has got things about right.
Mossey Joe is yet to run for new trainer Enda Bolger, but his first feeling that a handicap mark of 154 is plenty high enough for a hunter chaser.
However, the horse is unbeaten in his last four starts and the way he annihilated a strong field on his most recent in June when seemingly having more in the tank was an especially classy performance.
That day he finished 20 lengths ahead of the 140-rated Chapoturgeon and Mossey Joe does seem to have improved from when rated 151 as a novice when competing against the likes of Sir Des Champs.
But, he is certainly high enough for an 11-year-old hunter chaser who is surely not open to that much further improvement, especially as there are Grade One winners entered that have been allocated less weight.
There also have to be doubts as to whether 8lb is the right difference between Mossey Joe and Long Run. The gut feeling is that the horse is probably a few lb too high.
Not that this enters the handicapper’s calculations, but Mossey Joe’s bold front-running nature has to be regarded as a strength in the Grand National, as he will be able to make it a stern stamina test for those not sure to see out the trip.
Meanwhile, both Neptune Collonges and Auroras Encore in the last two years have won the Grand National at the age of 11.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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