Seabass deepens Ted Walsh's Aintree hand

 

Some garrulous men notoriously have very little to say but Ted Walsh will always command respect in word and deed alike. Having seldom had more than a couple of dozen horses in his care, he has won a remarkable variety of big races – and reiterated that he will again have to be taken very seriously in the John Smith's Grand National.

Seabass, appearing for the first time since that excellent third at Aintree last April, could hardly have shaped better than he did in a conditions race over hurdles at Fairyhouse. Racing over just two miles, he was pardonably caught flat-footed as a steady pace picked up but persevered to claim second behind the impressive Rock Critic, beaten by just three lengths, as the odds-on Make Your Mark tired badly in the heavy going.

Walsh showed a dead aim when Papillon landed a gamble in the 2000 National, a famous breakthrough in the riding career of his son. With Ruby Walsh nowadays dividing his services between the respective champion stables of Britain and Ireland, it fell to his sister, Katie, to ride Seabass at Aintree last year. Once again, Katie will be standing by for her brother to ride On His Own or Prince De Beauchene, both in the care of Willie Mullins.

But nobody, at this stage, comes closer than Walsh Snr to matching Mullins' hand. Only on Sunday, he saddled the flourishing Colbert Station to win a handicap hurdle at Punchestown – artfully keeping the steeplechase handicapper at arm's length – and now finds himself with two of the first five in Coral's book. Both Seabass and Colbert Station are 16-1, behind Prince De Beauchene on 12-1 and On His Own on 14-1. Tony McCoy has first refusal on Colbert Bay but the fact that the other 16-1 shot, Join Together, is trained by Paul Nicholls in theory means – astonishingly – that Ruby could choose from four of the first five favourites, not to mention Tidal Bay. The weights are published on Tuesday.

The comeback performance of Seabass for once ensured that a winner was overshadowed by the runner-up. Rock Critic is a smart handicapper on the Flat and remains unbeaten over timber, having won a maiden hurdle at the Galway last summer, but Dermot Weld cautioned that he is more likely to stay at home for the Punchestown Festival than venture over to Cheltenham. "He would prefer much better ground," the trainer stressed.

Another useful novice was on view at Market Rasen, where Bordoni emerged as an outsider for the JCB Triumph Hurdle with an easy maiden success. His trainer, John Ferguson, will be hoping for something similar at Ludlow today from New Year's Eve, one of the top bumper horses of last season and beaten only by River Maigue when resurfacing at Kempton on Boxing Day.

Silviniaco Conti is 8-11 favourite with the sponsors for his Cheltenham warm-up in the Betfair Denman Chase at Newbury on Saturday, from The Giant Bolster and Menorah on 7-1.

Turf account

Chris McGrath's Nap

Tight Knit (2.30 Southwell) Good dirt pedigree entitles him to do better transferred to this surface.

Next best

Minortransgression (1.30 Southwell) Not with new stable long and returns to favourite track off a very fair mark.

Where the money's going

Unioniste is 10-1 from 12-1 with William Hill for the RSA Chase at Cheltenham next month.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Frank Turner performing at 93 Feet East
musicReview: 93 Feet East, London
News
Toronto tops the charts across a range of indexes
news

World cities ranked in terms of safety, food security and 'liveability'

Extras
indybest
Voices
A mother and her child
voices
Voices
The veterans Mark Hayward, Hugh Thompson and Sean Staines (back) with Grayson Perry (front left) and Evgeny Lebedev
charity appealMaverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Digital Content Manager

£26000 - £31000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Digital Content Manager is re...

Recruitment Genius: Senior .Net Application Developer

£40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Office Administrator

£14000 - £17500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The successful applicant will b...

Recruitment Genius: Continuous Improvement Manager

£41500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is going through a period o...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee