The John Smith’s Grand National still remains on the agenda for the classy Burton Port who ran with plenty of credit in finishing fourth to Synchronised in last week’s thrilling renewal of the Cheltenham Gold Cup, writes Elliot Slater.
The Trevor Hemmings-owned gelding has made a fine return to the fray this term after missing all of last season through injury, and very nearly caused a sensation on his comeback when forcing stable companion Long Run to pull out all the stops in running him to just half-a-length in the Grade 2 Betfair Denman Chase at Newbury in February. On the strength of that effort Burton Port was sent off a well supported 8/1 shot for the Gold Cup and held every chance at the third from home until weakening going to the final fence, eventually finishing an eight-length fourth to Jonjo O’Neill’s relentless galloper. Those following the best 2012 Grand National betting will have certainly taking some positives from the race.
Long seen as the right type for the challenge of the Aintree fences, Nicky Henderson’s charge ticks most of the boxes needed for a genuine Aintree contender being a generally sound jumper who stays well and has a definite touch of class. The son of Bob Back can also show his best form on a decent surface so the expected good ground at the Liverpool track is expected to play to the strengths of the horse who was runner-up to Weapon’s Amnesty in the Grade 1 RSA Chase in 2010.
Hemmings has made no secret of the fact that the Grand National is more important to him than any other race on the calendar, and having tasted victory in ‘the world’s greatest steeplechase in 2005 with Hedgehunter and again last year with the brave Ballabriggs, many observers believe that Burton Port will be given the green light to try and complete a remarkable hattrick of wins in the race for the man who owns the Blackpool Tower.