Author: Will Smith
Published: 10:05 25/03/2013
Having advised Cappa Bleu at 28/1 as soon as the Grand National weights were revealed, to see him run an outstanding trial behind the reformed Vino Griego at Ascot was especially pleasing. He is now, at best, half that price.
Clearly you need luck on your side, so it is important to have more than one stab at finding the winner. With Cheltenham out of the way, all roads lead to Merseyside. One road (and ferry route) that is well-trodden (and sailed) to Aintree is the one from Dessie Hughes’ training base at The Curragh.
He won the 2008 and 2009 Becher Chases with Black Apalachi and Vic Venturi, while the first named finished second in the 2010 Grand National. In last year’s big race he saddled the fifth home – 100/1 shot In Compliance, who had completed the course in twelfth the year before. He had three other runners last year – Black Apalachi fell, Vic Venturi refused and Rare Bob was unluckily brought down at the fifth.
It is the last named that interests me at 40/1. He was deemed hardy enough to run in an Irish Grand National at the relatively young age of 7, finishing an excellent fourth. After a good third in last year’s Leinster National at Naas, I fancied him for the big one and had backed him accordingly, only to see him stopped in his tracks by the fall of State Of Play.
Two weeks ago he re-contested the Leinster National, being beaten just 2¼ lengths this time. He was never nearer than at the finish, having travelled strongly and jumped soundly. That jumping proficiency is backed up by the fact that he has only unseated once in 28 starts over fences, and he had jumped the first five fences well last year.
If all that is not enough for you then consider his seasonal reappearance in Fairyhouse’s Bobbyjo Chase, a renowned Grand National trial. He finished fourth, four lengths behind Prince De Beauchene and 2¼ lengths behind Seabass. He has a 10lb and a 9lb pull with those two at the weights, and they are as short as 8/1 and 9/1 in places respectively. Rare Bob is 40/1. Work that out.
Dessie Hughes’ Cheltenham runners were in ‘rare’ old form, best illustrated by the scintillating Our Conor. With jockey Bryan Cooper’s profile firmly on the up, I can see the public latching on to Rare Bob on the day and 40/1 surely won’t be available.
Grand National Recommendation:
Rare Bob – 40/1 (Ladbrokes)