London (Reuters): Red Marauder's victory two years ago for jockey Richard Guest in the Grand National at the Aintree, Livepool, was gained in the most appalling conditions when only four horses managed to slog their way home through rain and mud. Come Saturday, the ground is expected to be much faster and in anticipation Guest had already switched to Chives, trained by Henrietta Knight. In any case Red Marauder was not among the 40 runners when final declarations were announced on Thursday but his absence was not a great surprise.
Chives has been a leading fancy in the betting at 10-1 after an eye-catching run in last month's Cheltenham Gold Cup when seventh to stable companion Best Mate. But Ad Hoc (13-2) and Shotgun Willy (7-1), both trained by Paul Nicholls, head the betting market followed by Irish raider Youlneverwalkalone (9-1).The 2002 National winner Bindaree is in the field again but the horse has had a poorish season and has not won since his Aintree triumph. Bookmakers rate him an outsider at 25-1. Top weight will be carried by Behrajan, also rated at 25-1 despite a respectable fifth in the Gold Cup.
Latest betting: 13-2 Ad Hoc, 7-1 Shotgun Willy, 9-1 Youlneverwalkalone, 10-1 Chives, 11-1 Gingembre, 12-1 Monty's Pass, 14-1 Iris Bleu, 16-1 Gunner Welburn, Killusty, 18-1 Maximise, 20-1 Carbury Cross, 22-1 Kingsmark, 25-1 Behrajan, Bindaree, Goguenard, 28-1 and upwards others.