Racing: Double Honour ready to turn Aintree grey again

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The Independent Online

Strong resolve was the horse backed yesterday to be the first grey to win the Grand National since Nicolaus Silver in 1961. However, it is another grey, Double Honour - still available at 33-1 last night - who offers the best value in the race.

Strong resolve was the horse backed yesterday to be the first grey to win the Grand National since Nicolaus Silver in 1961. However, it is another grey, Double Honour - still available at 33-1 last night - who offers the best value in the race.

Double Honour is described as "lazy" and "moody" at the Philip Hobbs stable at Bilbrook, Somerset, but his abilities are much admired and there is no doubting the belief that this stamina-laden seven-year-old has prospects at Aintree.

Paddy Brennan, his Galway-born rider, said: "He's the dark horse of the race. He jumped around the National fences in the Becher Chase in November and Mr Hobbs couldn't believe how he managed to finish fourth after being slowly away and having no luck in the race. "He handles soft, but I think good ground suits him best. I wouldn't swap him for any other horse," said Brennan, a 23-year-old who has really made his name in recent months and has earned his first National ride.

Over Haydock's big fences six weeks ago, Double Honour was runner-up by just a length and a half to Forest Gunner, who is around 10-1 with most bookmakers. Forest Gunner is bolder over his fences than Double Honour, who is a more careful jumper, but the imbalance in the odds is an over-reaction - given that Brennan's mount is a sound stayer and is several pounds better off compared to Haydock.

"He's the right type of horse for the National. He's got a very good each-way chance," said the trainer's wife, Sarah Hobbs, yesterday.

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