Junior has taken over favouritism at the head of the Grand National odds at 14/1 after being given what seems like a favourable weight to triumph at Aintree.
David Pipe’s runner was forced to miss the Aintree showpiece last year after handicapper Phil Smith did not allocate him enough weight to seal a spot in the final 40.
However, lightning will definitely not strike twice as Junior’s victory in the Kim Muir Challenge Cup at the last Cheltenham Festival has resulted in a new higher rating.
Junior has been handed a weight of 11st2lb, which puts him comfortably inside the top 40 and this is before some trainers decide to pull out runners prior to the race.
The first deadline for withdrawals is February 28th, with another taking place after the Cheltenham Festival in March ahead of the final declaration stage on April 12th.
In total, 69 of the 82 entries have been allocated weight from within the handicap, showing that the class of horse taking part has continued to rise in recent years.
Synchronised and last year’s winner Ballabriggs were previously positioned at the head of the Grand National betting, but were not so kindly treated by the handicapper.
The top weight of 11st10lb will have to be defied by Synchronised, with Red Rum the last horse to accomplish this feat in 1974.
Meanwhile, Ballabriggs will have to run off 10st11lb, 11lb more than when landing the spoils last April.
As a result, both horses are now priced at 16/1 to win the Grand National, although the good news for the pair is that the last three winners have carried 11st or more to victory.
This shows a turn, as just one of the 19 Grand National winners between 1989 and 2008 weighed in excess of 11st.