Decent runs see Ballabriggs and Junior shorten for Grand National
A major shake-up has taking place in the Grand National odds, with Junior back to joint favourite at 10/1 and defending champion Ballabriggs shortening to 12/1 after both ran well ahead of Aintree this weekend.
Junior was initially priced up as favourite when the Grand National weights were confirmed on Valentine’s Day, but had been shuffled down the betting after Prince De Beauchene’s recent triumph at Fairyhouse and Burton Port’s strong run behind Long Run in the Denman Chase.
However, he has now rejoined Prince De Beauchene at the head of the market after just losing out in a tight finish in the Grimthorpe Chase at Doncaster.
The race was Junior’s first over fences in almost a year and supporters would have been pleased with the run given that he had to concede ample in weight to the eventual winner.
The only potential drawback was that Junior’s jumping looked a bit on the rusty side and he will need to be much better at Aintree if wanting to be considered a serious Grand National contender.
Meanwhile, Ballabriggs was in action at Kelso, repeating his run in the totepool.com Premier Chase that was a key feature of his preparation for Aintree last year.
On that occasion, Ballabriggs finished second, while this year he was a weaker fourth.
However, he was still in contention jumping the final fence and was only caught short up the run-in over an inadequate 2m6f trip by horses blessed with greater speed.
Although ideally another race before Aintree may sharpen the horse further, Ballabriggs looks a better Grand National bet than Junior given this weekend’s performances.
Considering he was not pushed too hard by Jason Maguire, the Kelso run gives Ballabriggs serious claims of becoming the first back-to-back Grand National winner since the legendary Red Rum.