Further support for the recent Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Synchronised has seen the Jonjo O’Neill-trained gelding advance to clear 9/1 ante-post favourite for Saturday’s feature John Smith’s Grand National at Aintree, writes Elliot Slater.

Even though the popular stayer has yet to be confirmed a definite runner for ‘the world’s greatest steeplechase’, betting on Grand National  horses has been steadily rising in recent weeks, with punters have been piling on the cash in the hope that jockey AP McCoy can repeat his famous success in the same colours when partnering Don’t Push It    to an emotional victory in the 2010 renewal of the great race, an achievement that proved the catalyst to McCoy being named the ‘BBC Sports Personality of the Year’ eight months later.

O’Neill and McManus are taking all the time they need before finally committing Synchronised to tackling the daunting Aintree course, knowing full well that he gave his all at Cheltenham just three weeks ago when he defied being badly outpaced on the first circuit to come through to lead at the final fence in the Gold Cup, eventually surging away up the hill under a super-determined McCoy to beat The Giant Bolster and Long Run to record a sensational success.

Having been freely available at 12/1 just a week ago, the last of the 10/1 on offer about Synchronised disappeared on Easter Saturday making him the clear 9/1 market leader, (some firms now go as short as 6/1), just ahead of Junior who is generally on offer at 10/1, but about whom 11/1 can now be found in the odd place, making it a profitable Grand National free bet.

Although he has to carry top weight of 11st 10lbs there is no doubt that that son of the great Saddler’s Wells is around a stone ahead of the handicapper following his Cheltenham win and many punters seem to have taken the opinion that O’Neill’s charge can become the first horse since the mighty Golden Miller way back in 1934 to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup and the Grand National in the same season.

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