Why Shutthefrontdoor is a short-priced Grand National favourite

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Only once since has a horse started at odds shorter than 7/1 to win the Grand National.

Seabass was the horse in question in 2013 and was predominantly backed off the boards as the public got behind Katie Walsh being the first female jockey to triumph in the legendary steeplechase.

This lack of such short-priced favourites understandably leads to some doubt over whether Shutthefrontdoor represents good value at 7/1 to win the 2015 edition, especially with over a week to go before the race.

The fact that Tony McCoy is almost certain to be on board, rather than riding Cause Of Causes, is one reason to back Shutthefrontdoor now.

The final race of this year’s Cheltenham Festival already saw played host to one McCoy gamble as the money flooded for Ned Buntline landing the Grand Annual and more of the same is expected to arrive in the direction of Shutthefrontdoor.

However, the main reason he is worth backing is because of the strength of his previous form in the opening third of a calendar year.

Shutthefrontdoor is a perfect 1-1 in April races and a very solid 4-6 in the four-month period. His two defeats have both come in competitive Cheltenham Festival outings.

None of the other leading Aintree fancies can boast such strong form at National time of the year.

Balthazar King is 1-8 in April and Alvarado has never won in four starts in the month.

Rocky Creek has never won from the end of February to the summer and The Druids Nephew is 1-5 across March, April and May.

Looking only at March and April form, Godsmejudge had won 2-8, Cause Of Causes 1-6 and Unioniste 0-2.

Over the first four months, Spring Heeled is 2-9, Pineau De Re 5-17 and Al Co 3-14.

Sam Winner and Monbeg Dude have run 16 times between them without a single success in February, March or April.

Whether it’s the firmer ground that generally arrives in the spring or he is simply a late-season bloomer, Shutthefrontdoor clearly excels better than most at this time of year. This is why he should be backed to win the Grand National, even at 7/1.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.