Favourite for last year’s Grand National, The Midnight Club has slipped under the radar ahead of this year’s race, and is attributed 33/1 odds to triumph this time round.
Now an 11-year-old, the gelding’s sixth-placed finish last year wasn’t a true reflection of his impressive run, and with a more generous weight of 10st 11lb ahead of the 2012 renewal of the race, he would appear to have each-way claims at Aintree.
Trained by Willie Mullins, who won the famous race back in 2005 with Hedgehunter, The Midnight Club’s price for the National was further pushed out after a disappointing showing under the stewardship of Ruby Walsh at Clonmel in February.
However, the ground was much heavier than he prefers on that day, and with rain falling in Liverpool, softer ground at Aintree would aid the 11-year-old’s chances.
Paul Townend will take the mount on Saturday on a horse who is lightly raced for his age, but has proven his credentials with places at two Cheltenham Festivals, and success at the highly regarded Punchestown Festival also.
His stamina too should stand him in good stead, providing he jumps well on the trying Aintree circuit, with staying on looking only a minor worry should he clear the challenging course fences.
It is also worth noting that eight of the past 12 Grand National winners have achieved victory carrying weight between the 10st 7lb and 11st mark, a band of runners this year in which the Midnight Club would be inclusive.
What could also attract punters to avoid the favourites, and instead opt for a longer-price horse such as The Midnight Club, is the fact that the legendary Red Rum was the last horse to defy a handicap of more than 11st 5lb.
With Synchronised and Ballabriggs going off much heavier than this mark, The Midnight Club looks an appealing each-way prospect at odds of 33/1.