Racing: Punters jump on Band wagon

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Suny Bay, Smiths Band and Time For A Run were the horses supported yesterday for the Grand National on Saturday week, while Chris Maude has been engaged to ride Dextra Dove.

With Richard Dunwoody booked to ride Smiths Band for Jenny Pitman and Jamie Osborne linking up with Suny Bay, punters had an incentive to support that pair. Suny Bay is now 10-1, from 14-1, with Ladbrokes, while Smiths Band is 16-1, from 25-1, with the same firm. J P McManus's Time For A Run, already backed with big money, has been cut to 12-1, from 16-1, by Coral. The firm took one bet of pounds 1,000 at 16-1.

Simon Earle snapped up Chris Maude's services for Dextra Dove after being delighted with the 10-year-old since he put up a lifeless display in the Racing Post Chase at Kempton last month.

"He's come back from some physio on his shoulders and back with Mary Bromiley and is 100% now," Earle enthused. "Go Ballistic is favourite for the National but I think we had him beaten when he fell in the Agfa Chase at Sandown and he's had his excuses since.

"I'm pleased we've got Chris to ride because he gets on well with the horse and has always done an excellent job for us."

Dextra Dove, a 33-1 shot for the National with William Hill, is 1lb out of the handicap for the race on 9st 13lb.