Huge gamble on National favourite after Walsh is cleared to ride

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Paul Nicholls has admitted defeat in his attempt to get Ruby Walsh to ride one of his leading fancies in the Grand National after Harry Skelton was booked to ride Niche Market.

Walsh rides out for both Paul Nicholls and leading Irish trainer Willie Mullins, and Mullins, who won the top trainer award at the Cheltenham Festival, has won the battle for Ruby’s skills in the Grand National.

Nicholls has five entries in the Grand National betting but his two leading fancies are Niche Market (16/1) and What A Friend (12/1).

But Ruby Walsh will not ride either of those two horses – Daryll Jacob has the ride on the Alex Ferguson-owned What A Friend – instead choosing to ride Grand National favourite The Midnight Club for Mullins.

As a result The Midnight Club is now the standout favourite in the Grand National betting after seeing his odds cut into 9/1 from 12/1 with the news that Ruby is free to ride him.

It’s a huge gamble on a horse with the Grand National still 13 days away, and it’s easy to see The Midnight Club’s Grand National odds just getting shorter and shorter as the day draws closer.

Punters may want to consider an ante-post Grand National bet before the odds shorten further and new customers to Ladbrokes.com can sign up here and receive up to £60 in free bets.

Ruby Walsh proved his class when winning the top jockey at the Cheltenham Festival despite sitting out most of the National Hunt season with a broken leg, and the popular Irishman will prove a big hit in the Grand National betting.

In the last three years there have been two winning favourites of the Grand National and punters believe that run will stretch to three from four.

A £20 stake on The Midnight Club winning the Grand National would return £200. New customers can sign up here for up to £60 in free bets.

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Robbie Morris

Robbie studied sports journalism at the University of Gloucestershire, an establishment chosen for its proximity to Cheltenham racecourse, where he was a season ticket holder. Upon graduation, Robbie was a contributor to GolfPunk, a national magazine aimed at ridding golf of its traditionalist image, before joining the news.ladbrokes team.