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.

Life and Style
love + sex A new study has revealed the average size - but does that leave men outside the 'normal' range being thought of as 'abnormal'?
Voices
The Palace of Westminster is falling down, according to John Bercow
voices..says Matthew Norman
Sport
Steve Bruce and Gus Poyet clash
football
Arts and Entertainment
Jake and Dinos Chapman were motivated by revenge to make 'Bring me the Head of Franco Toselli! '
arts + ents Shapero Modern Gallery to show explicit Chapman Brothers film
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Kurt Cobain performing for 'MTV Unplugged' in New York, shortly before his death
music Brett Morgen's 'Cobain: Montage of Heck' debunks many of the myths surrounding the enigmatic singer
Sport
Brendan Rodgers
football The Liverpool manager will be the first option after Pep Guardiola
Life and Style
life
Sport
Christian Benteke of Aston Villa celebrates scoring the winner for Aston Villa
football
Arts and Entertainment
Myanna Buring, Julian Rhind-Tutt and Russell Tovey in 'Banished'
TV Jimmy McGovern tackles 18th-century crime and punishment
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Whitehouse as Herbert
arts + ents
News
Bill O'Reilly attends The Hollywood Reporter 35 Most Powerful People In Media Celebration at The Four Seasons Restaurant on April 16, 2014 in New York City
media It is the second time he and the channel have clarified statements
News
people
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: Lettings and Sales Negotiator - OTE £46,000

£16000 - £46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Home Care Worker - Reading and Surrounding Areas

£9 - £13 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity to join a s...

Recruitment Genius: Key Sales Account Manager - OTE £35,000

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Have you got a proven track rec...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £40,000

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn