Many Clouds wager is no lotto
Many Clouds is due to reappear at Aintree on Saturday and Ian Ogg believes the 2015 Grand National winner will be hard to beat.
Many Clouds can go one better with no Don Poli in his way
There are two races over the famous Grand National fences at Aintree on Saturday, the Becher Chase and the Betfred Grand Sefton.
The betting for the Grand Sefton, run over two miles and five furlongs, is headed by Bennys Mist who not only won last year's race (from Seventh Sky) but also finished third the previous year. Trainer Venetia Williams bagged a big prize last Saturday so that's all straightforward enough but he is another year older and 7lb higher.
He's certainly no has-been at the age of 10 but only one horse that age has won in the last decade so it clearly pays to side with younger rivals. The trouble is that they are hardly jumping off the page.
La Vaticane is next in the betting for the 2014 winning trainer David Pipe. She may well have gone closer in a mares' chase last time granted better fortune and she didn't fare too badly over these fences when eighth in the Topham in April but she has been beaten in four of the five handicap chases she's contested since arriving from France.
Seefood is showing a, um, sea of blue on oddschecker and may well have more to come for Dr Richard Newland but that is surely factored into his price as he steps back up in class following his victory at Musselburgh.
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Vintage Vinnie and As De Mee are just in behind the market leaders but neither got competitive in the BetVictor Gold Cup at Cheltenham so obviously have a little to prove.
I did wonder about the front-running Valadom who won well at Bangor from Seventh Sky and even gave a second look to Astracad but I can't see that there's a great deal to get excited about at the prices at this stage of the week.
We all know that the Randox Health Grand National is the nine-year-old's principal and arguably sole target but unlike many going for the race, Oliver Sherwood has no great need to try and protect his handicap mark given he carried 11-11 when winning two years ago.
Many Clouds started last season in this contest and ran a huge race when attempting to concede 5lb to Don Poli, only giving way from the last and going down by four lengths.
He may have disappointed in the National when last seen but has had his wind tinkered with since and has warmed up for this long scheduled reappearance with a racecourse gallop at Newbury so there's every reason to believe that he will be ready to run his race.
Irish Cavalier, who is rated 6lb his inferior, may not have appreciated the ground at Haydock last time but that race may still have left a mark while two previous runs around the Mildmay fences have resulted in two falls yet he's the 5/2 joint favourite.
Alongside him is the undoubtedly talented Minella Rocco but his jumping hasn't convinced all observers and there are certainly questions as to how suitable the drop back to three miles around this course will be for last season's National Hunt Chase winner who looks all about stamina.
The pair are clearly worth taking on.
Outlander, one of three entries for Gigginstown, is more interesting but has fallen twice in his last five starts and there are mixed messages from the market about whether he will travel.
There are no such concerns for Many Clouds who has long had this race pencilled in for his return. Although Don Poli may not have satisfied everyone with his efforts last season, he did finish third in the Cheltenham Gold Cup and coming into this race was one of the most exciting staying prospects.
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