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Grand National at mercy of Double Seven if granted good ground

| 02.04.2014

The Racing Post have today revealed AP McCoy is leaning towards Martin Brassil’s Double Seven as he bids to land the Grand National for the second time.

Ladbrokes have reacted by trimming the eight-year-old from 20/1 in to 16/1 despite the 18-time champion jockey’s assertion that his allegiance is entirely dependent on the state of the going on the day of the race.

Glancing back through Double Seven’s past form it’s easy to see why the peerless competitor added the caveat that soft ground would necessitate a rethink.

The JP McManus-owned chaser has claimed nine victories in 27 races under rules.

It’s a highly respectable 33.3 per cent striker-rate, but one that improves to 83.3 per cent when only his runs on good ground are counted.

In real terms the percentage equates to five of his six runs on his preferred going.

Many of those victories came during a five-win sequence posted between June and October last year.

The fact that the last of those triumphs came on soft ground off a mark of 146 is deeply encouraging.

Brassil’s chaser runs off 148 at Aintree if allowed to take his chance and given he’s won off 2lb lower there’s every reason to suspect that he’s capable of defying the rise in conditions that are more to his liking.

Having been allowed a long break after landing the five-timer, Double Seven finished a distant sixth in a March Leopardstown handicap on soft ground that bears all the hallmarks of a pre-National tune up.

Already a ‘National winner’ of sorts having taken the Midlands National over 3m1f at Kilbeggan, those who wonder why his trainer’s name rings a bell are about to be put out of their misery.

Brassil may be no household name, but he achieved a feat that still eludes reigning champion trainer Nicky Henderson when his Numbersixvalverde won the 2006 Grand National.

His trainer’s past exploits lend Double Seven the air of a prudently campaigned type and granted good ground he and ‘the Champ’ will take a world of stopping.

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

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Thomas Reynolds