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Grand National 2013: Ruby Walsh’s exclusive guide to the main contenders

by Josh Powell | April 3, 2013
TOP OF THE MOUNTAIN: Ruby Walsh wins the 2005 Grand National on Hedgehunter

TOP OF THE MOUNTAIN: Ruby Walsh wins the 2005 Grand National on Hedgehunter

By Josh Powell | Aintree Grand National 2013

Cheltenham hero Ruby Walsh is gunning for a third Grand National victory. The Irish Champion jockey is no stranger to success over the Aintree fences and has been casting his eye over this year’s main contenders for the Paddy Power Blog. Here are his tips for the Grand National.

On His Own 15/2

On His Own was travelling really well last year. I was watching it from the weighing room and to be brutally honest he was travelling too well for my liking. He was in front of the eventual winner Neptune Collognes when he tipped up at Becher’s Brook. He seemed to take the fence fine, maybe a bit high if anything.

He jumped slowly early on in the race but warmed up and crept into contention. I spoke to Paul Townend about him and he said the same. He was careful enough early on but then warms up and jumps well.

On His Own has done nothing wrong this year although he’s only been asked one question at Navan. He won the hurdle race there and it was a very good run. They’ve had plenty of snow in Aintree so the ground will ride on the slow side and he handles that. He is a good ride with a great chance.

Hedgehunter was the favourite when I won it. Papillon was the Pricewise horse so got backed in to a pretty short price in the end. Being favourite doesn’t add any pressure for me, somebody has to be favourite. The horse doesn’t know its price.

Seabass 11/1 and Colbert Station 11/1

There are plenty of horses you have to be worried about and my dad, Ted Walsh, trains two of them with Seabass and Colbert Station. Seabass has had a good season, he was third in a hurdle race in his comeback run and then was third in the BobbyJo Chase. He ran a cracker there last year to finish third and this season he has been geared to Aintree. Last year Aintree was a culmination of runs so this season there is a very different outlook.

Colbert Station won the Paddy Power at Leopardstown at Christmas and won a Pertemps qualifier since. He is in good heart, he is in good health, he is a good jumper and he has a nice weight on his back. Dad has two great chances.

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Chicago Grey 12/1

Chicago Grey has a chance on his run in Navan but I’m not a fan of his jumping. He is very deliberate. You have to get round at Aintree and a deliberate horse can lose a lot of ground.

Join Together 16/1

Providing the ground dries up Join Together has a huge chance. If the ground is quick he has a chance. He ran well in the Becher Chase but he is really desperate for the ground to dry up.

Sunnyhillboy 16/1

Sunnyhillboy ran a great race last year, chinned on the line. He is a tough horse and his season has been geared absolutely and completely for this race. Not running in Cheltenham won’t be an issue. Jonjo O’Neill knows what it takes to win the Grand National. I imagine they have got plenty of work in to him. You can view it in two ways and it might be a good thing.

When I rode Hedgehunter in the Gold Cup and he finished second it took the edge of his Grand National run. There’s not much turnaround so it might be considered a positive. He hasn’t got much of a penalty since last year so he definitely has a good chance.

Ballabriggs 20/1

Ballabriggs, a former winner, has a great chance. He has come right down the weights and ran a decent enough race at Kelso. He’s proven himself at the track, went back there last year and went well so he has to have a chance.

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