Irish trainer Ted Walsh was left scratching his head following the unveiling of the Grand National weights at Aintree this morning. The horse, who finished third in 2012, has been allocated a weight of 11st 2Ibs for this years renewal, despite the presence of top weight Tidal Bay.
Bookmkers still make Seabass one of their favourites for the race and Walsh reports the ten-year-old to be on target for the £975,000 contest at Aintree on April 6:
“Seabass will run somewhere in the next three weeks to a month. There is just over seven weeks to Liverpool so I would like to get a run into him. The Bobbyjo Chase [at Fairyhouse] and the Racing Plus Chase at Kempton are possible targets. I don’t know how Seabass can get over 11st this year if Tidal Bay is rated 171 and my horse is rated 154. Whatever Phil Smith does, he does – it is immaterial to me and I can’t change it. You don’t have to be a great mathematician to subtract 54 from 71.”
The Grand National is the only race for which the weights are specifically framed by the BHA handicapper, Phil Smith. This year’s weights are headed by Tidal Bay on 11st 10lb (rated 162). Leading fancies On His Own (10st 10lb) and Prince De Beauchene (11st 3lb) are among seven entries representing Willie Mullins, while Ted Walsh also has JP McManus’s Colbert Station (10st 11lb), winner of the Paddy Power Handicap Chase at Leopardstown.
Ballabriggs, who won the 2011 Grand National, has been given eleven stone, and trainer Donald McCain is happy: “That weight is fine for Ballabriggs and it will be grand if the top horse (Tidal Bay) runs because then we will have a lovely racing weight. He has come out of his race at Warwick okay. He will go to Kelso for the Premier Chase as he has done for the past two years and then on to Aintree.”