Seabass certainly strengthened his claims of improving on his Grand National third of last year with an encouraging seasonal reappearance over hurdles, but punters fancying him for Aintree are better served taking a different betting route.
For a 10-year-old, Seabass remains fairly lightly raced and was in contention for a long way at Aintree last year, before fading in the latter stages.
He was sent off favourite last year at 8/1, but is still as big as 20/1 for the upcoming Grand National, which may be a value price for a horse that is proven in the race and is in good current form.
Seabass’ hurdles reappearance was over the minimum trip of 2m, less than half the Grand National marathon, but for a horse that is blessed with more stamina than speed, taking second was a commendable effort.
Connections are now rightly enthusiastic that he is in spritely form and given another year’s experience under his belt, he must be considered a leading Grand National contender.
The weight he is allocated by the handicapper will be the biggest factor on his chances and it is almost certain that he will lump round more than the 10st12lb of last year.
However, what is noted is that if a punter is prepared to back Seabass at 20/1, they would be far more prudent to instead take the 20/1 that this is the first year that a female jockey rides a Grand National winner.
Katie Walsh has come the closest to date when finishing third with Seabass last year and is almost certain to keep the ride, with brother Ruby likely to ride one of the 16/1 joint favourites On His Own or Prince De Beauchene instead.
Therefore, by taking the 20/1 on a female jockey passing the post first, punters are getting more than one horse for their money, but importantly, one of these is 99 per cent likely to be Seabass.
Nina Carberry has ridden in the race four times before and can be expected to do so again, while Lucy Alexander has made great strides in the last year and it would be no surprise if she also was handed a ride.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date