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National punters flying to Chicago

WITH less than a fortnight to go until the Aintree Grand National, the betting continues to twist and turn and Gordon Elliott's Chicago Grey has been further supported over the last number of days and is now in to as short as 12/1 and a best priced 16/1 for the Liverpool showpiece.

As always, the Aintree Grand National is set to be one of the biggest betting contests of the year and with Willie Mullins' Prince De Beauchene ruled out over the weekend, support has come for a number of others in the last 48 hours.

Elliott is happy that his contender, Chicago Grey, can put up a bold show as the trainer bids for a second win in the famous race. "He schooled last week, schooled well and stays well, he won the four-miler at Cheltenham last year," said the Meath-based handler.

"He's done everything we've wanted him to do this year, Paul Carberry is going to ride him. If he can get into a nice rhythm in the first half of the race, I think he'll run a massive race."

Elliott added: "The first four or five fences are going to be very important, if he can get into a rhythm and get jumping. He's probably not the best jumper in the world. He's adequate and has his own technique."

William Hill have been forced to cut the former Cheltenham Festival winner into 12/1 from 16/1 since Sunday afternoon.

Paddy Power's latest mover has been Killyglen, who is now 14/1 with Power's, while he is still as big as 20/1 in places.

Paddy Power said yesterday: "We saw a good bit of dough for Killyglen last week and he's been very popular today. Punters have latched on to his good run in the race last year when he would arguably have been in the three had he not fallen just four out."

Stuart Crawford's 10-year-old was last seen winning at Down Royal on St Patrick's Day, claiming his first win since scoring at the Grand National Meeting at Aintree in 2009.

Leon Blanche of Boylesports also touted Killyglen as a horse to fear following his recent win and his apparent good run in last year's renewal.

Ladbrokes report money for West End Rocker and Always Right for Aintree, while Jonjo O'Neill has dismissed any negative vibes after Cheltenham winner Sunnyhillboy drifted slightly over the last couple of days.

JP McManus' racing manager, Frank Berry, revealed: "Jonjo is very happy with him, as he is with Synchronised, who seems to have come out of the Gold Cup well.

"Synchronised might have another bit of work and we'll make a final decision on him by the weekend."

Ted Walsh's Seabass is set to be taken out of the Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse on Monday as all roads lead to Aintree as he goes in search of an incredible eight timer.

Walsh, who saddled Sunday's Limerick listed bumper winner, Summer Star, to make it two from two, is in no rush to declare a jockey for Seabass as he waits on a decision from his son, Ruby, while his daughter, the Evening Herald's Katie Walsh, waits in the wings to be reunited with the nine-year-old.


"Liverpool is definitely the plan and I'm happy with the horse at this stage," said Ted Walsh, who previously won the race with Papillon.

Regarding jockeys bookings, he said: "We'll have to wait and see who rides him. I'm waiting to see what Ruby wants to do and we'll go from there."

Bookmakers Paddy Power made Seabass a short-priced favourite to be Ruby Walsh's mount after Prince De Beauchene was ruled out, but his father said: "I don't know why everyone assumed he would be riding the horse that was favourite, he might have wanted to ride Willie's other horse (On His Own) that won the Thyestes Chase.

"I'd say it will be Wednesday or Thursday next week before he (Ruby) makes his final decision and I've no problem with that."