Irish trained Seabass is unbeaten over fences in his last seven outings and would certainly look like a serious contender for the 2012 Grand National title.
Talk of gambles is usually left to those of a bygone era, who it seems could pull the wool over the bookies’ eyes with remarkable ease in the pre-internet age. However, there will have been few more high-profile coups than that of Papillon in the 2000 Grand National. As big as 40/1 in the morning of the race,
the Ted Walsh-trained gelding’s odds eventually contracted to 10/1 by off-time, and he duly obliged under Walsh’s son Ruby, then little known outside of Ireland.
The intervening years haven’t been all that kind
to Walsh snr.’s training career (he’s probably best known nowadays as a forthright television pundit), but all of a sudden he appears to have another live shot at Aintree glory with Seabass.
Absent for the
2010/11 season, Seabass has picked up where he left off this winter, winning all four of his runs and taking his winning streak to six (seven if you count his point-to-point win in November). Obviously, he’s been most progressive in that time, his first win in a Punchestown handicap coming from a mark of 95 and his latest in a Grade 2, albeit over two miles.
It’s just that that raises the doubts over Seabass’ Aintree credentials, though. Barring his point win, he’s raced only once at three miles and as many times away from soft/heavy ground. There’s also the idea that he needs to lead, doing so for the vast majority of his wins so far. He’s done it in big fields, however, so that last point is probably a red herring.
The question marks are undeniable, but there’s little doubting that Seabass has been campaigned with a bigger prize in mind and, as Papillon told us, you’d be brave to question Ted Walsh’s methods for getting a horse ready for their big target.