Despite his charge Synchronised being allotted top weight of 11st 10lb, trainer Jonjo O’Neill feels that the handicapper has given his recent Grade 1 Lexus Chase winner a sporting chance and is optimistic that the nine-year-old will run well in the John Smith’s Grand National at Aintree, writes Elliot Slater.
The JP McManus-owned gelding was handed the biggest burden of the 82 entries for the ‘world’s greatest steeplechase’ on the back of his surprise win in Ireland at the end of December when the son of Sadler’s Wells proved himself something more than a useful staying handicapper in handing out an eight-and-a-half-length beating to Rubi Light, with the classy Quito de La Roque further back in third place. People placing a Bwin free bet should bear this in mind.
Most observers had failed to take O’Neill seriously when he had suggested some month ago that if the ground comes up soft at Cheltenham than Synchronised has definite each-way prospects in the race currently dominated by the presence of Long Run and Kauto Star. But after winning the Lexus Chase punters changed their tune and there has been a steady flow of each-way cash for the horse who won the 2010 Midlands Grand National and then followed up eight-month later by landing the Coral Welsh National as well on his favoured testing ground.
O’Neill knows perfectly well just what is required in a horse to win the Liverpool marathon having sent out Don’t Push It to win for Synchronised’s sporting owner in 2010 under Tony McCoy, and the champion jockey would almost certainly be aboard should the winner of eight of his 18 races be given the green light to compete at Aintree after possibly having a crack at the Cheltenham Gold Cup just four weeks earlier. Fans of Stan James should remember this.
Rated a best priced 20/1 chance, Synchronised will surely carry loads of public money with the combination of McManus, O’Neill and McCoy something punters love to bet on in the big events.