NORTHSIDE businessman Tomás Singleton had a remarkable opening two days at the Cheltenham meeting, tipping six winners.
The Grand National is always a little more difficult but when we caught up with him ahead of this year's meet, he focused on the three Grade One races.
Looking ahead to the National, he is bullish about the chances of a horse that has been on his radar since last year in the world’s famous steeplechase
“I was going to back Kimberlite Candy to win the race last season and see no reason to desert him now.
“It was his 10-lengths victory over Captain Chaos in the Classic Chase at Warwick in 2020 that marked him out as a National horse to me allied to the fact he had shaped so well in the Becher Chase over these fences the previous December.
“Well he's only been sighted once this term again in the Becher and again he finished runner-up.
“He was easy to back but jumped well in the main and finished a respectable second to Vieux Lion Rouge.
“It looked a case of job done for connections and he has a nice racing weight in the big one.
Many punters like to back the outsiders and for Singleton, The Storyteller has a serious chance of being in the mix.
“There are few more likeable horses in training than The Storyteller and there aren’t all that many who are better than him as he beat subsequent Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Minella Indo off level weights on his most recent start over fences.
“With that in mind, he looks the each-way value at around 14/1 in what doesn’t appeal as the strongest Grand National field.
“Admittedly some of those towards the head of the market have a better chance from a handicapping viewpoint but The Storyteller simply doesn’t know how to run a bad race and is notably versatile so he holds better claims than most Aintree newcomers of taking to the course.”
Winning the Grand National is hard enough but doing so without course experience and on the back of a losing run dating all the way back to a chasing debut at Naas in Autumn 2018 might seem an utterly thankless task.
That’s the apparently herculean effort that will be required of Discorama if he’s to provide Paul Nolan with an Aintree winner to go with his 2021 Cheltenham Festival one but it isn’t all doom and gloom.
Discorama is a thorough stayer, as evidenced by his close second in a gruelling National Hunt Chase in its former guise as the four-miler in 2019 and there have been plenty of other occasions since when he’s looked to have a big one in him including his third in the following year’s Ultima.
He ran poorly when last seen in November, but he has a good record following a break and will arrive on Merseyside much fresher than most.
Admittedly, it’s very hard to pin down precisely what the ground will be like when they line up but anything slower than good, will help bring out the cast-iron stamina in Richard Hobson’s eight-year-old Lord Du Mensil who is 5lb ahead of the handicapper having landed the big trial at Haydock last month after the Aintree weights were published.
As for the other three Grade One races on the card.
“Bravemansgame was the English fancy for Cheltenham but was no match for Bob Olinger and I don’t think the opposition will be as tough as two and a half miles around Aintree will be right up his street for Paul Nicholls.
The Doom bar Novice Chase looks a penalty kick for the mighty Shiskin but I think Tamaroc Du Mathan will keep him honest and chase him home The Ryanair Stayers Hurdle will be a cracker and my nap of the meeting goes to Noel Meade and Sean Flanagan with Beacon Edge.
Beacon Edge has been mixing it with the Best with the likes of Bachasson and Champion Hurdler Honeysuckle and this step up to 3m will keep Irish eyes smiling.
The Meade-trained horse sidestepped Fairyhouse on Monday for a go at this and anything that Noel Meade brings across the water has to be taken seriously.
Kimberlite Candy (10/1); each Way: The Storyteller (14/1), Milan Native (28/1), Discorama (14/1).
Beacon Edge (Nap).