16:15 Aintree: Ciceron has profile to strike at bottom-weight
Those at the head of the market all deserve respect and consideration in equal measure in the Red Rum Handicap Chase, but with their price tag comes hefty burdens from the handicapper and history suggesting that it pays to side with those carrying less on their shoulders.
From the last nine winners of the race, only two have carried 11st or more, leaving the likes of market leaders, Kid Cassidy (11-12) from Nicky Henderson’s yard and Paul Nicholls’ Rebel Rebellion (11-2) less attractive at prices of 7/1 and 6/1 respectively.
Joint bottom-weight Ciceron from Venetia Williams’ rejuvenated stable has to enter calculations at 16/1 as none will arrive at the tape with more consistent form.
The seven-year-old hasn’t disappointed Placepot backers in any of his last six races and although it could be considered a negative that only one of those chances have been converted into wins, on no occasion has such an opportunity been thrown away.
An obvious caveat would be his form at the course which has seen Ciceron beat only five home from two starts in large fields. Crucially though, Aidan Coleman’s partner completed both times so it is worth conjecturing that the specific test was failed rather than the track all together.
Further encouragement arrives from Williams enjoying her best season for some time. The Herefordshire handler moved well into the 80’s for winners for the season this fortnight buoyed by a near 30 per cent strike rate in the last 12 days.
Williams has not just been mopping up at the smaller venues either as seen with a seventh Festival winner courtesy of Carrickboy last month.
With the retirement of 2009 Grand National winner Mon Mome announced, Ciceron winning on the stage of the 13-year-old’s greatest day could begin the perfect journey down memory lane for Williams and her team.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.