Those that backed Across the Bay in this year’s Grand National would have been fairly happy with their selection as the field jumped the Chair, with Donald McCain’s charge bounding enthusiastically in front.
And then as the runners turned to go out on a second circuit, the mercurial toe-rag Tidal Bay got involved, and carried the frontrunner out, with Henry Brooke’s mount eventually completing, despite all chances gone.
Now Across the Bay could be back at Aintree for revenge.
He is set to line up in the Becher Chase, and at 20/1 looks a very nice price to get some redemption for his owners at their local track.
The liking for these unique National fences is telling, with a good round of jumping prior to the disaster in April, as well as a respectable eighth-placed finish in this race 12 months ago.
Interestingly he has a second crack at the 3m2f contest off a 2lb lower mark, and although that may not seem a lot, it could be all it takes for him to get involved.
That run last December was the first time the 10-year-old had encountered the birch behemoths that are the Aintree fences, and with a couple of spins under his belt, could be at one with the course this time round.
The soft ground that we are likely to have this time of the year will only play to his strengths with all eight of his career wins coming on ground described as ‘soft’ or ‘heavy’.
He, like many of Donald McCain’s horses, needed his first run this season, finishing well beaten at Bangor, but will surely come on for that run.
Interestingly, the Cholmondeley trainer is so unhappy with his stable form that he has held off running any in the last couple of weeks. So hopefully come December 6, his horses should be ready to go and firing on all cylinders.
With plenty in his favour, likely desired ground, a distance he has no problem staying, a liking for the National fences and a nice handicap mark, Across the Bay looks primed to set sail at a very nice price indeed.
Next week: Alternative Pricewise will be taking a look at the Welsh National ahead of the big race on December 27.
All odds and markets correct as of the date of publishing
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