10/1 is absolutely the best price on offer for Synchronised as the countdown to the John Smith’s Grand National at Aintree is well and truly underway with little more than 10 days to go to the ‘world’s greatest steeplechase’, writes Elliot Slater.
The popular chaser advanced to joint-favouritism on stanjames.com with David Pipe’s Junior on the news that the long-time ante-post market leader Prince de Beauchene would miss the race following a training setback, having run a tremendous trial for the big race that has encouraged punters to take his chance particularly seriously.
Synchronised has always looked a potential Grand National winner having landed the Welsh National and the Midlands National in previous seasons, but his improvement this term into a genuine Grade 1 staying chaser has come as a surprise to most observers in racing betting circles. When the Jonjo O’Neill-trained gelding travelled to Ireland just after Christmas and landed the Grade 1 Lexus Chase, some people believed that to have been a fluke on account of the reportedly tacky ground that they believed played to the strengths of the out-and-out-stayer.
There was a significant amount of money though for the JP McManus-owned nine-year-old when he took his place in the line-up for last month’s Cheltenham Gold Cup, and despite struggling to go the early gallop and making AP McCoy work hard to keep him in touch with the front-runners, the son of Saddler’s Wells picked up in tremendous style over the last mile and powered through to lead at the last before going on to a sensational victory in beating The Giant Bolster and the defending champion Long Run in the bravest possible fashion.
Saddled with top weight of 11st 10lbs, Synchronised is technically as much as a stone ‘well in’ and if allowed to take his chance he looks sure to receive a wave of public support that could easily see him sent off clear favourite as he attempts to become the first horse since the mighty Golden Miller in 1934 to do the Cheltenham Gold Cup/Grand National double.