One of the best backed horses in the ante-post market for the John Smith’s Grand National has been the Gordon Elliott-trained Chicago Grey, now generally offered at 16/1 having been previously available across the board at 20s, writes Elliot Slater.
An out-and-out stayer who proved himself on the big stage just over 12 months ago when landing a serious punt to beat the subsequent Scottish Grand National winner Beshabar by over four-lengths to win the four-mile National Hunt Chase at the 2011 Cheltenham Festival, Elliott’s charge has been trained throughout this season specifically with the Aintree marathon in mind, and punters appear to have cottoned on to the fact that connections have meticulously laid him out for a race they landed five years ago with Silver Birch and the Aintree betting shows he has every chance.
Ideally suited by a thorough test of stamina on decent ground, it is looking increasingly likely that the nine-year-old will encounter optimum conditions at the Liverpool track as the unseasonably warm spell continues and all but guarantees that this year’s Grand National will not be run in testing conditions and anyone looking at Grand National tips need to bear this in mind. Indeed, it could well be similar to last year’s contest when Ballabriggs bounced off the quick ground to record one of the fastest times in the long history of the great race.
Chicago Grey does appear to tick most of the required boxes for a possible Grand National winner; his trainer has been there and done that before, the gelding stays ‘longer than the mother-in-law’, the son of Luso is generally a sound jumper, and he also knows how to win when the chips are down, and now an increasing band of people seem to be anticipating that Elliott’s star could become the first grey horse to win the ‘world’s greatest steeplechase’ since Nicholaus Silver in 1961.